Here's how to help your herbs and spices retain their flavours for as long as possible!
Cooking is a ton of fun, especially when you're working with new herbs and spices. Spices add that certain something or finishing touches to your dishes. Keep your spices fresh for as long as you can with these tips:
Buy whole spices
Whole spices - like whole nutmeg or cardamom - stay fresh longer and keep their flavour longer. This is only logical because when they are ground, they take up more space. The more space they take up, the easier it is for their essential oils to evaporate. Since the essential oils give the spices their flavour, it is essential to keep them fresh.
Properly stored, spices last longer.
Whole spices can stay fresh for up to four years. Ground spices usually last for two years, after which they lose a lot of flavor. Well-stored herbs keep for one to three years, depending on the variety. The three biggest enemies of aromatic spices and herbs are:
This means you should never store your spices near your hob or stove or on the windowsill. This will keep them staying tasty longer. Additionally, make sure your spice or herb containers are hermetically sealed.
Spices don't go "bad"!
Herbs and spices have no expiration date in the sense that they cannot go bad, but they do lose their flavour. This means they are not very useful for cooking.
How do you know if your spices have gone bad?
How do you know if your spices and herbs are still fresh? This is easy - just use your senses. Is the colour strong or faded? How do the spices smell and taste? If spices have lost their flavour, it's time to replace them.
Don't use your spices directly over a steaming pot:
It is never good to add a spice or herb directly from the bottle into a steaming pot. The steam gets into the container, causing the seasoning to harden up or lose its flavour.
This also applies to your measuring instruments- make sure that they are dry before using your teaspoons so the moisture doesn't transfer to the spice.
Cool peppery spices
For any spices associated with the pepper family, including cayenne pepper, chillies, etc - they'll stay fresh longer, retain their flavour longer and lose less colour than when they are stored in the refrigerator.
Mills grind better.
A cheap grinder can do wonders in the kitchen because nothing beats freshly ground spices. A mill can help with lots of spices from cloves to seeds and cinnamon sticks. You won't regret the investment!