How To Store and Prepare Our Favorite Spices

The founders of Spiceologist give Clementine Daily a needed lesson on the "Ten Commandments of Spice," perfect for any type of cooking.
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The founders of Spiceologist give Clementine Daily a needed lesson on the "Ten Commandments of Spice," perfect for any type of cooking.
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Image Credit: Spiceologist

When it comes to cooking with spices, we here at Clementine Daily like to make sure that we use them in a conscious effort to add depth and flavor to our meals. This practice, however, isn't only limited to the way we cook with them. In fact, the key to bringing out a significant amount of the aroma and the, well, "spice" to these ingredients also lies in the ways that we store and prepare our spices. Luckily, Pete Taylor and Heather Scholten--the founders of

Spiceologist

-  are sharing their "Ten Commandments of Spice" - time to elevate our culinary game and enhance the flavor of our favorite dishes.

Don't:

  1. Don't keep your spices buried in your kitchen cabinet. Keep your spices at-hand, organized, and ready to cook with. Don't fall victim to "out of sight, out of mind".

  2. Some spices you just don't buy dried. Avoid dried parsley, mint, or cilantro - unless you admire the taste of dried grass, fresh is best when it comes to those herbs.

  3. Don't store your spices above your oven or stove top. Spices contain essential oils (flavor/aroma), and when they're heated up, those oils disappear.

  4. Keep your spices out of direct sunlight. High intensity light can have the same effects on spice as heat. You can usually tell when a spice has been compromised by light, look for discoloration.

  5. Don't buy your spices in astronomical amounts. Most spices maintain their flavor/aroma for about two years. Think twice before you buy that 32 ounce container of cinnamon.

Do:

  1. Old spice is for armpits. For maximum flavor, make sure to replace any ancient spices you may have laying around.

  2. Buy whole and grind fresh. Nothing compares to freshly ground nutmeg, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, and allspice.

  3. Toast/roast your spices for an added flavor dimension. It's simple: lightly toast your cumin in a saute pan, cool the cumin completely, and then grind it up before using it.

  4. Pick up a cheap coffee grinder, and designate it for spices only. Nothing fancy, just something in that $15 - $20 range.

  5. Experiment with flavor, and get creative in the kitchen. Step outside of your comfort zone and try cooking with some more exotic spices like galangal, sumac, cardamom, or saffron.

p.s. A few tips for keeping everything (including your spices) organized...