for Storing and Using Spices and Herbs
for Storing Spices
- Store spices
in a cool, dark place. Humidity, light and heat will cause herbs and
spices to lose their flavor more quickly. Although the most
convenient place for your spice rack may be above your stove, moving
your spices to a different location may keep them fresh longer.
- As a general
rule, herbs and ground spices will retain their best flavors for a
year. Whole spices may last for 3 to 5 years. Proper storage should
result in longer freshness times.
- When possible,
grind whole spices in a grinder or mortar & pestle just prior to
using. Toasting or Dry roasting whole spices in a dry skillet over
medium heat before grinding will bring out even more flavor.
- Because the
refrigerator is a rather humid environment, storing herbs and spices
there is not recommended. To keep larger quantities of spices fresh,
store them in the freezer in tightly sealed containers.
for Using Spices
is an art, not a science. Experimenting with herbs and spices can be
fun and educational, and while you may occasionally be eating a less
than perfect dish, you may also end up creating that recipe that will
become a classic in your household.
- Use a light
hand when seasoning with spices and herbs. Your goal is to
compliment your dish without crowding out the flavor of the food.
Remember, it's usually impossible to "un-spice" a dish!
long-cooking dishes, add herbs and spices an hour or less before
serving. Cooking spices for too long may result in overly strong
- Use restraint
and good judgment !
- Finely crush
dried herbs before adding to your dish…after measuring. Do
not use dried herbs in the same quantity as fresh. In most cases,
use 1/3 to ¼ the amount in dried as is called for fresh.
Make the recipe by altering the amount of spice added according to
- Although spice
blends are readily available in many Indian Grocery stores, many
cookbooks have recipes for curry powder and other masalas.
Blend just enough for a few weeks and store your blends in a tightly
nutmeg and cardamom have a special affinity for sweet dishes in
- Cilantro is
the most widely used garnish in Indian cooking. When using it to
garnish a recipe, chop it finely and garnish the recipe just before
to Glossary of Spices