Sassafras is the name of a tree that belongs to the family Lauraceae. It has a wide range of uses, like its leaves are used in eating directly in salads, and after being dried, they are used as a spice named File Powder native to North America; this spice is used in soups and gravies, specifically in gumbo, a soup native to Louisiana, state of U.S.
It has a strong aroma that is somewhat like eucalyptus and lemon; its earthy flavor adds savory to your cuisines. Normally dried sassafras leaves remain good for a very long time of 2 years.
How to Store Sassafras
Sassafras leaves are available in two forms, one is fresh, and the other is dried. Fresh ones are used in salads or for garnishing over meats and soups, but dried leaves are more common in cooking purposes; grounded sassafras leaves, also known as file powder, has a very long shelf life of about two years and can be used in different recipes of stews, soups, and gravies.
However, properly preserving is always necessary for all the spices, so you should take care of following precautions while storing them,
Storing Fresh Sassafras
If you want to use fresh sassafras in your cooking recipes and desire to preserve them, always keep in mind that they can quickly get mold. So try to dry all the moisture present in the leaves and store them in a cool and dry place.
Storing Dried Sassafras
If you have dried sassafras or file powder, it is easy to store it because it has a long life span, but do follow the precautions.
If you have bought grounded sassafras, check for their expiry date and store them in an airtight container. Usually, it remains good even after its expiry, but the flavor can be a little bland.
Or, if you are drying it by yourself at home, you need to be careful because commercially made spices have so many preservatives added to them. Still, at home, ingredients are pretty much basic with no chemicals, so try to keep it dry as possible as you can and store it at a cool and dry place like in the refrigerator.
You can store your fresh or dried sassafras in the fridge, wrap the fresh ones into a paper bag, not in a plastic bag, because it can cause mold in them, and then refrigerate them.
While keeping the dried sassafras in an airtight container and then refrigerate it.
Can You Freeze Sassafras
Both fresh and dried sassafras can be stored in the freezer, and freezing can increase their life span. If you have fresh sassafras, wash them and then dry them completely; after that, lie them onto a baking tray and freeze them for the whole night. The next day takes the tray out and transfers the leaves into freezer bags. This way, they remain good for 1-2 months.
Dried sassafras remain fresh for 3-4 years in the freezer; you can simply put it in an airtight container, cover the container’s lid tightly to prevent it from moisture, and then freeze it.
How Long Does Sassafras Last
The stability of sassafras leaves depends on their type. Fresh sassafras remains good for a week at room temperature after being properly stored. You can store them in a refrigerator to extend their shelf life for one month. Always wrap them in a paper bag to prevent them from getting mold. Fresh leaves can be stored in the freezer, and this way, they will be good for two months approximately.
On the other hand, dried leaves or file powder has a long life span of 2 years at room temperature and 3-4 years in the freezer. You can also refrigerate it, but it is better than keeping it at room temperature or in the freezer. The environment is too humid in the refrigerator, which will not be good for dried spice like sassafras. So try to keep the file powder in a dry environment to prevent early spoilage.
How To Tell If Sassafras Is Bad
Spices can go stale or lose their potency if they are not stored properly. And you can easily identify the spoilage in them; let’s take a look at the following changes that occur in sassafras spice when it is about to spoil,
- Sticky Texture: If your spice has a sticky texture and does not have a smooth appearance, it shows spoilage, and you should not use it in your cuisines.
- Weak Aroma: Sassafras gives a strong aroma when it is fresh; if you notice that it has lost its potency and has a weak aroma, it shows that it has gone bad, and you need to toss it over.
- Dark Coloration: When you see that your spice has become darker in color, it also shows that it has gone stale.