Almost every cook gets a full rack of prefilled spice jars at some point, but few use them all up. Here are tips for making sure that the herbs and spices you cook with are not too old to properly season your food. This is a guide about determining whether spices are still good.
Here are some general shelf-life guidelines for spices:
whole spices 3-4 years
ground spices 2-3 years
herbs 1-3 years
seasoning blends 1-2 years
extracts 4 years, except pure vanilla, which lasts indefinitely
Leaving your spices in their original containers will help, because you will have their expiration dates. If you prefer to transfer them to different containers, try putting the expiration date onto a small sticker that you can put on the new bottle. If there isn't an expiration date for some reason, make note of when you purchased the spice.