How often do you purge your kitchen spices? Some folks have deep dark corners in their spice cabinet that have been untouched and unexplored for years.

We know that the ones that get used the most are either conveniently located in the front section of the cabinet or somewhere near the cooking area. It’s a little bit harder to let that rotation get stale, but it’s still possible for months or years to go by without touching certain seasonings.

And there are some among us who have unknowingly created vintage collections of old spices. Because of these possibilities, popular spice company McCormick issued a message to consumers with a warning to check bottle labels.

They recently posted this on their Facebook page:

“When’s the last time you took a peek into your spice cabinet? You should see “Hunt Valley, MD” on McCormick labels. If you see “Baltimore, MD,” the spice is at least 25 years old.”

The company moved its operations around 1990 to Hunt Valley after 100 years. A quick once-over of your spice stash will reveal whether or not you’ve been hording one or more of these millennial-age containers, but it’s up to you if you want to keep them. Believe or not, some old-time McCormick spice containers are loved by collectors.

Undamaged McCormick tins may be worth a pretty penny depending on their ages. Someone, somewhere, could be sitting on these little treasures and not even know it. After you’re done checking your own cabinets, go ahead and check your mom’s and granny’s while you’re at it (in the name of spring cleaning).

If you’d rather move on, just chuck the old glass bottles and tins and refresh your seasoning station with something that actually has flavor. No one likes to throw money away, so if you’re feeling a little bit guilty about tossing these in the trash, here are a few alternatives:

  • Recycle the bottles and tins for knickknacks or new spices.
  • Use them in the garden or around your house to repel bugs. Black pepper, cinnamon, cloves, and peppermint are known to stave off certain insects.
  • Get crafty and clean! Make some homemade spicy bar soap by tossing in ginger, basil, cinnamon, or clove.
  • Turn your old spices into kiddie paint and let them create art with earth tones.

McCormick has been around since 1889, and over the years they’ve taken steps to help customers learn about expiring or stale spices. If you visit their website, you’ll find a handy chart that tells you how long each spice lasts, where to look up expiration dates, and how to check for freshness.

Clearing out your spice cabinet should take all of 10 to 15 minutes, and you’ll be glad you did it. Oldies won’t make you sick, but they’ll do nothing to enhance the flavor of your food. If you have trouble with keeping your spice rack organized, try buying the smaller containers since they’ll be used up faster. It will also keep more money in your pocket!

Do you think you have spices that are way past their prime? Were you aware of the location change with McCormick?