Thursday, December 1, 2011

Storing & Preparing Spices - Margaret Ullrich

You want to take care of spices when you bring them home.
They're not as expensive as they once were.
But still, you want to get your money's worth.

When it come to storing dried spices, there are a few very simple rules:

Be sure containers are airtight.
Moisture can cause ground spices to cake.
Store them in a cool, dry place.
Keep the spice shelf away from direct light, especially if the spices are in clear bottles.
Keep spices away from all heat sources.
Keep spices close to where you prepare food so it'll be easy to use them.

We'll also be using whole spices.

Sometimes you can just use the seeds, pods, berries or sticks as they are.
Sometimes you'll have to do a little prep work.

Grinding or crushing spices releases flavor and aroma.
But, ground spices lose their flavor more quickly.
That's why many people prefer buying unprocessed spices.

Spices like allspice and coriander can be ground in a pepper mill or a coffee grinder.
Use a food processor or a blender when you need to grind a large amount.

To release flavor from whole seeds or pods, such as allspice or cardamom, 
slightly crush the spice with a mortar in a pestle, or put the spice in a plastic bag 
and crush gently.

Remember, once ground, spices will lose their aroma more quickly.
So, prepare only as much as you need at one time.

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