There is just no way you can call your kitchen well-stocked without spices and herbs in the cupboards.Your cooking just won’t be as complete and well-rounded — not to mention, better-flavored without using spices.
Of course, it’s not just enough that you have packets and bottles of them lying about ready for use. It’s how you treat them and use them that will truly matter in the long run. Spices tend to have a rather long shelf-life. Of course, time is going to have an effect on their overall potency so it does help that you learn some helpful tips and tricks on how they are stored.
Store them away from the stove
Heat is not always a spice’s best friend, except when you’re adding them to your cooking. Many people make the mistake of placing their spice racks close to the stove for an easier reach but they are actually doing more damage than good. Spices thrive best in dry and cool settings so a cabinet that is a good distance from the stove would be a great bet.
They don’t do well in the open
You need to to be careful with your spices. They do not do well when exposed to the light. While they can be a great addition to the overall aesthetics of your kitchen when put on display, this might put a damper to their overall taste, flavor, and aroma. This is especially true for spices and seasonings that only need to be added in small amounts. So, into the cupboard they need to go.
Seal your spice containers shut
Spices are prone to volatility where they will slowly lose their aromatic flavor when exposed to air. While dried spices are less prone to this, leaving your containers opened for a long time can cause their flavors to be less sharp. Investing in jars or bags that can be sealed shut as spice containers would be truly handy.
Go for whole spices
If you want to keep the flavor, taste, and aroma of spices intact for a long time, buy whole. Whole seeds are likely to stay good for a long time as often, the grinding process can lead to volatility of flavors. Generally, ground spices are good for up to 6 months but whole ones can keep their aroma and flavor well even up to 2 years. Just invest in a good spice grinder or electric mill so you will have freshly ground spice every time your recipe calls for it. Even a coffee grinder can get the job done pretty well.
Can I substitute spices with herbs?
You definitely can. Just know that dried herbs tend to be stronger than fresh ones so you will likely need less for dried spices when substituting it for fresh herbs while you’ll need more fresh herbs when using them as a substitute for dried spice. A good rule of thumb to follow is that a tablespoon of fresh herbs is equivalent to a teaspoon of dried spice.