When cooking, it can be really convenient to just reach over and grab your salt, pepper, garlic, paprika, and other herbs and spices to add to your dish. But should spices really be stored next to your stove?

As counterintuitive as this may seem, you should not store spices next to your stove. Storing herbs and spices next to something that creates heat is generally a bad idea. Heat will degrade the different chemicals and essential oils that give spices their wonderful taste and will reduce their flavor. Storing spices next to your stove may also leave them exposed to direct light. Direct sunlight can degrade your spices over time, reducing their pungency.

Can spices be stored above your stove? This is also not recommended. You should skip storing your spices over your stove in a cabinet. You may be protecting your spices from direct light, but heat rises and will quickly degrade the taste.

Another tip to keep your spices fresh longer is to avoid holding your spice jar over your recipe to sprinkle or dump into a hot pan. Your spices need to be kept dry and even something as simple as shaking a jar of spice over a hot pot lets some steam and moisture into the container. A good recommendation is to pre-measure away from the stove with a spoon.

The tried and true way to store your spices is to keep them in a cool, dry, dark location.