Neem is widely used across the globe as a fresh and dried herb. It comes from the neem tree and is most popular in Indian cuisine. Neem itself and the leaves of the neem tree are used in making the dishes flavorful and aromatic.
Neem can be used in cooking in their fresh and dried form. Fresh Neem is used in stir-fried form while the dried form is used as it is in curries and stuff. Besides its cooking purpose, Neem is extensively used for medicinal purposes too. Neem is used in its dried form most of the time as a spice or herb, so its shelf life is quite long. You should store it well to get the best results.
How to Store Neem?
If you have bought Neem in bulk, you might be worried about storing the herb. Believe me that you are in the right place as this article contains all the necessary information about Neem.
You have to take some precautions, and you can keep Neem anywhere in your kitchen where other spices are being stored. You can store Neem by following methods:
In Airtight jars
You can use airtight jars, whether they are made up of glass or plastic. The only key is that the jars should be airtight. And there should be no place for air to interact with the herbs. In this way, you will get the maximum from the neem herbs. Besides using airtight jars, you can also go for ziplocked bags. The spice will stay at its best in airtight plastic bags too.
Place the jars in a Cool and Dry spot
Ensure that the place you are choosing to put your spice jars is a cool and dry one and away from sunlight. Any interaction of the dry Neem with moisture can make them go bad immediately. They may get mold or become watery and rotten. So, make sure to avoid the interaction of moisture. Also, a hot environment is not good for dry spices as well.
In the Refrigerator
If you live in a hot area, we recommend you place your neem herbs in the refrigerator. Hot temperature or interaction with any hot source makes the spice go bad. So, you can use the fridge to store the spice to make it last longer.
You can use magnetic spice jars to store the spice. They occupy less space in the refrigerator by sticking on the top of shelves. Also, you can use ziplocked refrigerator bags to store the Neem.
Can you Freeze Neem?
Neem can be frozen if you want to make it extra long. Some people won’t recommend you freeze the neem leaves or herbs because it already has a long shelf life. But if you have large backup supplies of Neem in your pantry and you are worried about their quality, then you can go for freezing.
You should always store the herbs in their whole dried or fresh form. The grounded form of spices does not long very last in the freezer. So, always freeze the herbs in their whole form. Also, it is better to grind the herbs just before using them. This will give you a better flavor and aroma.
You can freeze neem herbs in an airtight glass or plastic container. Also, you can use the airtight freezer bags for storage purposes. The Neem stays the best in ziplocked, i.e., freezer bags in the freezer.
How long does Neem last?
The shelf life of dried Neem is very long. Until and unless the herb is placed away from unfavorable conditions, it will never disappoint you. If you have unopened packets of Neem in your pantry, you can keep them as it is there. They will stay good for 6 months past their best date.
On the other hand, opened Neem stored in the airtight jars will retain freshness for 2 to 3 years. The condition is that it is placed away from unfavorable conditions like moisture and heat sources. The refrigerated Neem has the same shelf life as that of the ones in the pantry. It will also stay good for 3 years max. Frozen Neem lasts longer than others. It stays good to use for 3 to 4 years.
How to tell if Neem is bad?
The signs become obvious when the Neem turns bad. Although it has a long shelf life, Neem goes bad immediately when interacts with unfavorable conditions. Following are the signs that bad neem shows.
- Any sign of mold formation on the spice is an indication of bad spice. Mold usually appears when the dried spice interacts with moisture.
- If the scent and flavor of the herb do not hit your taste buds, then the herb might be very old. It’s high time to replace such spice.
- If your grounded form of Neem has turned mushy and soggy, it has turned bad in that case. Toss it out right away.