Deal Diva

Use coupons to stock up on staples for holiday cooking

Get your ingredients now for holiday cookies.
Get your ingredients now for holiday cookies. tsumlin@charlotteobserver.com

With the holiday season underway, now is the time for great coupons and deals for all your cooking needs. Here are some tips on how to store key holiday ingredients:

▪ Ground spices can last between two and three years; whole spices can last up to four. Keep in a cool, dry space. Over the stove top may be a convenient spot, but changing temperatures can alter flavors and ruin the seasoning. A good rule of thumb: If the spice still has good color and a strong aroma, it’s likely good enough to use.

▪ Remove flour and sugar from the bag and place in airtight containers.

Flour can be stored in the refrigerator for up to eight months. Be sure to place flour away from items with strong odors and allow it to get to room temperature before using.

Do not store sugar in the freezer or the refrigerator – humidity can change the texture and make the sugar hard and difficult to use. While most sugars will last indefinitely, it’s best to use within two years.

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