Contributed by Indiancuisineandculture Y-Group
How to keep your spice collection fresh plus food pairing ideas. Edit
If your spice collection sits neatly beside and/or on top of your stove, you've committed spice manslaughter. Storage tips and spicy food pairings coming up!
The Dos and Don'ts of Spice Storage and Usage Edit
- Do keep your spices out of direct sunlight, hot air and humidity. These factors can alter the flavour of your spices and shorten their effectiveness.
- Don't store your collection above or right near your stove range - it's the #1 worst spot for spices precisely because it's hot and humid (think boiling pots of water, soup etc).
- Do keep your jars air tight- you lose depth when spices are exposed to air- or as Allison says, "you lose the top and bottom notes." Ideally, you'll keep your spices in tins like the ones the Spice Trader uses.
- Do keep your pre-ground spices for approximately 6 months to 1 year. They don't go bad per se, they just lose their flavour profile and adding more won't give you back the flavour you've lost to time (sounds like new age advice, but I can vouch for its accuracy in my less experienced culinary days).
- Do keep whole spices for up to 3 years. If you purchase a mortar and pestle, you can easily and quickly grind your own and fresh is always best. You'll know when you bought the spices and when you ground them each and every time.
- Don't buy in bulk unless you're a commercial outfit with a high spice turnover. You won't use what you buy before you're left with tasteless powder.
- Do keep your herbs for 1-1½ years - with good quality dried herbs a little goes a long way.
- Don't shake your shaker top spices into a pot or a sauce pan. It's one of the worst things you can do to your spices (see above for hot air and humidity).
- Do set aside a small dish and shake/grind/ pour what you need into it before heading over to a hot pot with it.