SPICE TIPS
What to Look for When Buying Spices
Where to Store Spices
Why Spices Need To Be Replaced
When to Replace Spices
How Much Spice To Use And When

What to Look for When Buying Spices

Strength , color, and flavor. The best way to judge strength is by comparing old stock to new for freshness. The difference is remarkable! The color, should be bright, not faded. And Flavor-the aroma should reach your nose before your nose reaches the container. Some of the attributes buyers look for when purchasing spices are volatile oil content, heat units, ASTA color, and mesh size. Return to top

Where to Store Spices

In a cool dry area away from bright light. Flavor is lost when spices are exposed to heat and even the slightest amount of moisture can cause caking. Paprika and some herbs are sensitive to light, so it is preferable, for their appearance, to store spices away from strong direct light. And don’t forget to close the container tightly after each use. An open container promotes flavor loss. Return to top

Why Spices Need To Be Replaced

Because weak scented spices waste your cooking time as well as the other ingredients in the recipe. Using additional quantities of weak spices does not compare to using the correct quantity of fresh spice either in flavor or appearance. And herbs and spices that have faded in color would be undesirable when used as a garnish. Return to top

When to Replace Spices

Whole spices have a longer shelf life than ground spices and herbs. A general rule of thumb for ground spices, herbs, and seasonings is to replace after one year or give them a sniff test- if you can’t smell the product a few inches from your nose you certainly wont’ be able to taste it. Return to top

How Much Spice To Use And When

At the starting point, use a pinch of dried herbs per four servings (which is about equal to 1/4 teaspoon). Always remember- it is easier to add more than to take some away. To help release the flavor it is helpful to crush whole herbs with your fingers before adding it to a recipe. In foods that have long cooking times, it is best to add herbs during the last hour of cooking; or if whole spices are called for, add them at the beginning of cooking. (It can be helpful to place them in a small cheesecloth so they can be removed when the desired flavor is reached. This also avoids any pieces of whole spice from remaining in the finished dish). Otherwise, add the spices when the salt is called for. In uncooked foods, herbs should be added as long as possible before serving. Return to top

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