How Long Does Black Pepper Last?

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Black pepper is considered the king of spices and has numerous benefits. It helps improve blood pressure, lowers cholesterol levels, has anti-inflammatory properties, and more. But one question that always comes to mind is, how long does black pepper last? If that is what you are wondering, let us find out! 

If you buy pre-packaged black pepper, you can check the expiry date. If the black pepper label does not have an expiration date for some reason, by the general rule of thumb:

  • Ground black pepper lasts for three months
  • Peppercorns last for a maximum of three years

The expiration date is not always accurate when it comes to spices. So, it is essential to observe when the pepper has gone bad and what to do after. Additionally, some storage methods may add more to its lifespan! If you would like to know this and more, keep reading ahead.

A black pepper in a bowl on wooden table, How Long Does Black Pepper Last?

How Long Does Black Pepper Last Past Its Expiration Date?

Black pepper isolated on white background

You might have seen the expiration date on the black pepper label. However, that date is not an actual depiction of the time black pepper lasts. Because unlike most of the other food products on the market, ground black pepper and peppercorn do not expire. The expiration date is not as it seems. 

It would be more accurate to describe it as a best-by date. This date indicates when the black pepper and peppercorn will lose their taste and potency. It can be a month or a year, depending on the brand and storage.

In theory, as long as black pepper does not show any signs of going bad, you can use black pepper even after its expiry date. But if you notice that you cannot taste the black pepper at all, it is possibly time to throw it away.

However, brined peppercorn lasts only for a month after being opened. On the other hand, water-packed peppercorns do not last more than a week.

How Do You Know If Black Pepper Has Gone Bad?

Black peppers do not expire. However, it does change to a state that you should not ingest. Eating black pepper that has gone bad can make you sick. But, how do you know if black pepper has gone past its time of usage? There are a few signs that you should look for when checking if your spices have gone bad.

  1. If the black pepper is wet and was in contact with water, you should avoid consuming it after a week. After a week, it has gone past its usage timeframe. 
  2. In case the black pepper is emitting a foul smell, it indicates that it something is wrong. So, it is best to throw it out. 
  3. To check if the peppercorn is good, you can crush one in your palm. Taste it or give it a whiff. If it tastes and smells good, then it is safe to consume.

What Happens If You Eat Expired Black Pepper?

As mentioned, black pepper does not expire. It might lose its taste and potency. But, it does not go bad in the same sense as other packaged goods do. So, if you consume it past its usage date, nothing will happen.

By itself, black pepper will not grow mold. But, if it gets in contact with water, it gains the potential to grow mold. So, you must not keep wet black pepper for longer than needed. Additionally, try to avoid storing it in conditions where this can be the case. 

If the ground black pepper or peppercorn gets moldy, it can cause serious health issues. The symptoms of eating black pepper with mold depend on a few factors, such as age, health record, and the amount consumed. But the most common side effects are diarrhea and vomiting.

Can Expired Spices Make You Sick?

The photo of stomach and internal organs is on the men's body against gray background

Similar to black pepper, other spices do not expire either. So, the rules are the same here. You can consume them past their expiry date as long as they do not show any signs of going bad. The spices might not taste as good. But, they will not make you sick.

Does Black Pepper Lose Its Potency?

Yes, even though black pepper does not expire, it does lose potency. Generally speaking, ground black pepper loses its flavor after three months. This is why you should not buy ground black pepper in bulk. On the other hand, peppercorn can retain its taste and nutrients for as long as five years.

If you have a jar of ground black pepper or peppercorn sitting in your pantry, you should do a taste test. In this scenario, you can get a real-time comparison between fresh and fading flavors. The ground pepper might have a mild taste in comparison to the peppercorn. This way, you can get a clear idea of when black pepper starts to lose its potency.

How To Store Black Pepper Long-Term

There is no way to stop ground black pepper and peppercorn from losing their potency. However, storing them correctly can increase their lifespan. If you want to keep black pepper longer, follow these black pepper storing tips:

  1. First, whether it is black pepper or any other spice, constant exposure to heat can kill the flavor. Ideally, it is better to store your black pepper and spices in a cool environment. Likewise, storing spices in direct sunlight is not ideal as it causes them to deteriorate and lose their taste.
  2. Always keep your black pepper and other spices in an airtight container because humidity and water can cause the black pepper to get moldy. Furthermore, the water content among different spices varies. So, it is crucial to store each of them separately.
  3. Brined peppercorn and water-packed peppercorn needs to be refrigerated after opening.
  4. Usually, peppercorns have a longer lifespan than most other variants like ground pepper and brined pepper. However, you can increase peppercorn’s life and help it keep its potency by freezing it.

How To Revive Old Black Pepper or Any Other Spice?

The obvious and easy solution is to get rid of the old spice and get fresh black pepper. However, if you want to revive your black pepper or any other spice, there is something that you can do. 

Empty cast iron skillet with tea towel

The easiest way to revive your old spices is by toasting them in a skillet on low heat.

  1. First, add a teaspoon of oil.
  2. When the oil gets hot, put in your ground pepper or peppercorn.
  3. Wait for a few minutes till you can smell the familiar black pepper smell. Your spice should be as good as new again.

However, you must pay close attention when toasting spices because ground black pepper is easy to burn.

Final Takeaway

Spices can add the much-needed flavor that some dishes can lack. So, it is crucial to know when it can no longer be functional. This way, you will not go searching for what may be causing flavor deficiencies in your food. We hope you found the article insightful! 

Before you go, do you have other kitchen concerns? Do you need seasoning ideas for a burger? You can find out more by checking out our post here

Do you have leftover pizza that you left out overnight? If you wonder if it can go bad in that short timeframe, check out our post here for the answer! Until next time! 

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