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Wednesday, 21 December 2011

10 Ways To Get More Out Of Your Spices

1.    Don’t skimp!
Do you have something on your grocery list that you won’t compromise on? Add spices to that list! Always check the labels for salt or other additives, starch, irradiation etc. Try not to compromise on quality, taste and health benefits.
2.    Seasonal check!
Try to check over your spice rack every season. This will be a reminder of what you need to use more of before you buy more and try adding a new spice to the rack each time for some added adventure!
3.    Rule of Thumb on storage
Seeds and whole spices will retain their volatile oils for around 1-2 years, Ground spices will do the same for around 6 months. So, unless you use spices like I do, buy whole and grind as and when you need to.
4.    Infuse or Flavour?
Seed spices are best used for infusion in oil and ground spices to impart much more of the spice flavour. Wherever possible, use oils that have a high smoke point to avoid the release of free radicals and to keep the antioxidant properties of the spices intact as much as possible.
5.    Roast ‘n’ Grind
Remember to dry roast any seed spices before using or grinding. This will give the flavour a little boost if they have been sitting for a while.  When grinding up spices, it is preferable to use a mortar and pestle over a spice grinder due to the heat generation.
6.    Pairing is key
Like wine, spices are best enjoyed when paired correctly with other ingredients. Indulge in a cooking class to learn more or draw inspiration from cookbooks or television programmes.
7.    A new friend for Pepper
Anytime a recipe calls for salt and pepper to season, try adding to or substituting the salt with a little turmeric! It is much better for you and when combined with pepper, it has even stronger antioxidant properties!
8.    Another friend for Pepper
Next time you top up your peppercorn mill, try adding some coriander seeds. Coriander is a balancing spice to all other spices and oh so good for you!
9.    Fruit & Veg time
Here’s an easy way to get everyone at home eating more spices. Try adding at least one spice to each serving of fruit and vegetables a day. Cinnamon with banana or mustard seeds with steamed greens?
10. Just a little Garlic
Always keep a little garlic powder in your spice cupboard. Surprisingly, powdered garlic has been known to be more therapeutic than fresh. So when you’re out of fresh, there’ll be no excuse not to have your daily dose of garlic that is so good for your heart!

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