Spice Usage Tips

Spices and Herbs in day to day cooking

Spices that are used after being ground release their flavor more quickly than whole spices. Remember to use ground spices like thyme or cumin in recipes with short cooking times or add them at the end of recipes with longer cooking times.

If you are using whole spices, which need a much longer time to release their flavours, make sure you use them in recipes with longer cooking times. Sage, thyme and bay leaves are some examples of whole spices. Mild spices like basil, marjoram and parsley should always be added at the last minute to maximise flavour.

In case you need to double the portions of a recipe increase your spices by one and one half. Mostly, this will be enough to provide the desired effect. In case of doubt, taste the recipe and then add more if required.

Fennel seed, cumin seed, sesame seed as well as white peppercorns are some spices that should be toasted before use. This increases their aroma multi fold. Just heat the seeds on a non stick till they are aromatic.

Use a grinding mill for whole spices and seeds or even a coffee grinder if its handy.

Spice Storage Tips

For optimum freshness here are some tips on how to store spices.

All spices have a longer life and retain their freshness in they are stored in airtight containers.

Heat, moisture, and direct sunlight are elements that you must keep your spices away from. The flavour and aroma of spices is affected by exposure to these elements. Also make sure to avoid storing spices near a window, a kitchen sink or near the gas or stove.

Do not store spices in the freezer since it does not extend the life and in fact condensation in the bottles will lead to loss of flavour and aroma.

Make sure that you always close all your spice containers tightly after every use.