Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Tuesday Tip: All About Spices

I love spices!  They are just so spicy!  Sorry--couldn't help myself!  Today's post will center on a few tips regarding spices!

{My main spice rack} 

My first tip is to find a store that sells spices in bulk.  Seriously.  It's cheaper and reduces waste.  For example, if you don't use cumin all that much, you can go to a whole food store and buy whatever quantity you need whether it is 1 tablespoon or 5 cups!  I personally buy my spices in bulk, and if it's something I don't use often, say like coriander seeds, I just buy what I will need for the recipe; I pay $0.50 for the 2 tablespoons that I need versus $7.99 for 6 oz that will sit on my shelf for who knows how long.

{Spices for sale at my local co-op/health food store}

My second tip is to buy spices in small quantities.  Basically, you want to use spices up within a year of purchase, at the most.  If you go through them faster, that's great!  Most spices lose much of their potency after one year on the shelf.  To help keep track, use a dry erase marker (permanent marker, sticky note, tape with writing, etc) and mark the date you got the spices.  That way, you can replace or clear out when they hit the 1 year mark.

{The first level holds spices that I use on a regular basis like dried basil, dried parsley, garlic powder, onion powder, chicken seasoning, cumin, etc}

{The top level of my spice rack holds the spices that I use on the occasion like bay leaves, chili powder, turmeric, paprika, etc}

My third tip is to store spices in a cool, dry place.  A cupboard away from the stove or microwave (if it's built-in) is ideal.  I keep all mine on a shelf on a wall; the baking spices that I have are kept in a pantry on the shelf.

{Label spices for easy identification.  Jars are from Ikea and labels are from a label-maker}

My fourth tip is to label the spices!  I have been trained in spices, and I can definitely identify the main ones.  However, I bought cayenne and paprika at one time and forgot to label them.....   Needless to say, I had to go back to the store with the ID number and figure out which was which.   

If you have any other questions regarding spices, I'll be happy to answer them!

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