Spices Guidebook: Buying, Storing, And Cooking

Spices are primarily used for adding flavor to the food. They are the basic staples in almost every kitchen. Besides adding flavor, many of them provide significant health advantages, making them an irreplaceable part of the food you make for yourself and your family. When it comes to buying, storing, and cooking with spices, here is a detailed guide you can follow.

Buying spices

Here is what you must keep in mind while purchasing spices.

1. From where to buy the spices? Spices should be acquired from the spice market, specialty shops, or trusted brands online. You should avoid buying from the supermarket as there is a possibility that the spices are stale as they have been there for a year or more. The price is usually a pretty good indicator of the quality of spices when buying from reputable suppliers.

2. How to buy the spices? Buy whole spices instead of ground ones, as these spices have a longer shelf life. Another reason to avoid ground spices is that they may contain certain impurities, such as salt, rice, or flour blended in them.

3. How much to buy? Purchase a limited amount of spices at once as they become stale quickly. So avoid buying them in bulk. They may lose their intensity and intricacy of flavor the longer they’re sitting around.

Storing your spices

You may wonder how long do spices last and whether they get spoilt? The answer is, spices never get spoiled, and it is unlikely they will become unsafe to consume, but the color may become dull, and the flavor might get a bit muted. If you’ve come across that the spices you store tend to lose their flavor, then your way of storage is not appropriate. Spices should be stored in opaque or darkly colored airtight jars in a cool, dark, and dry part of your kitchen for them to last longer. It is not advisable to store your spices in the freezer unless vacuum-sealed, even if stored in airtight containers. Any air trapped with them at freezing temperature can cause the spices to lose their flavor and aroma. The best way to store your spices safely is to keep them away from their enemies- light, heat, air, and humidity.

Cooking with spices

Make your food full of flavor by adding flavorful spices to your recipes! Using spices makes your food more aromatic, vibrant, and bold with relatively minimal effort. Solid knowledge and proper selection of good quality spices are essential to great cooking. In many Latin American recipes, the spices and chilies are dry-roasted in a hot pan before being ground. It makes the flavor of your spices much more powerful. While cooking, your goal is to coax those aromatic chemicals out of the spices. The spices release aroma molecules as you heat them. Ground and crushed spices are more flavorful, as those actions cause friction, which generates heat, allowing the aroma to seep into your food. Spices give out a ton of flavor when cooked in warm fat, such as oil, butter, and animal fat.