Spices are an integral part of healthy cooking. They not only add great flavour to your food, but also bring a myriad of health benefits. Each spice is as different as the next in taste, texture, aroma, health-qualities, the list goes on. This means it’s important to know your spices well and with that, how to look after, store, and use them properly to get the best out of them.
Whether for Allspice, mixed spice, or a more unusual lemon myrtle, correct spice buying and storage is crucial to make your spices last for longer and give their absolute best flavour and aroma to your dishes. Herbs and spices are delicate ingredients, an things like extreme temperatures, bright lights, or poorly-sealed vessels can cause them lose their essential oils and, in turn, fragrance and flavour. Below are a few of my top tips when choosing and storing your spices:
Tips For Buying And Storing Spices
One of my major tips is to buy spices in small quantities. Unless you’re frequently cooking large amounts, buying in bulk will only waste the spices as you don’t use much. Be it turmeric or cinnamon, by leaving them standing and unused, your spices will rapidly lose their essential oils meaning flavour and aroma majorly decrease.
Avoid Direct Sunlight
It is not necessary to keep your spices in complete darkness, but it is advised to keep them away from the direct sunlight. For instance, avoid keeping them on the window sill, rather safely in a cool, dry space in your kitchen like the pantry.
Sniff To Check
Best before dates can often be incorrect or more cautious than need be, so it’s better to go with a cook’s best detector – your senses. When you go to buy spices, take a sniff to check its potency and colour for vibrancy. If you experience a pungent and pleasant aroma, you’re good to go.
Store Your Spices in Alphabetic Order
Trust me, it often gets chaotic to manage the wide range of spices in your kitchen, and the good old method of alphabetical order and often be your best friend. So from your Asafoetida to your Wattle Seed Ground, you can always find your herbs and spices quickly and easily!
Use Dried As Much As You Can
When you can’t use fresh herbs, dried ones are an excellent substitute. Cheaper than their fresh counterparts, they can also be stored easier and for longer. Though dried herbs do lack the freshness, you can often get a more intense flavour when using dried.
Store The Fresh Herbs
When buying fresh herbs, it’s crucial to store them properly to avoid them perishing. You can wrap them in the damp towel and store in a plastic bag before placing in the vegetable crisper of your fridge.
Plan Your Meals For The Week
When it comes to making the most of your ingredients, a little planning can go a long way. By planning your meals for the week, it can help you to know exactly the herbs and spices you’ll need and how much to avoid wastage.
Those are our top tips for getting the most out of your spices from tips for purchasing, to tips for correct storage.