Monday, April 22

A Guide to Spices in Food

Worth knowing about spices …

Depending on how skilled you are in cooking and what you cook, the spices you use will vary a lot. However, salt, black pepper, white pepper, chili, and some herbs are a good start in your spice shelf.

So how should you store your spices?

Spices are best stored where it is cool and dark and above the stove, it can sometimes be both hot, light, and moist. The light bleaches many spices and the heat can adversely affect the shelf life, so a better alternative is to place them in a kitchen drawer or cupboard where the light will not reach.

Dried chili can be stored for a long time at room temperature without any problems, an unopened package has a shelf life of several months, but it is not dangerous to use dried chili after the “best before” date.  The product may have lost some of its flavors and become a little harder but can still be used. Fresh chilies, on the other hand, should be stored in a paper bag in the refrigerator for best durability.

Dried chili is something completely different from fresh. When the liquid migrates from the fruit, the walls contract, change color, and form a brittle shell, then something magical happens with the flavors. Depending on what kind of chili it is, flavors of tobacco, berries, chocolate, and licorice appear. And you can choose how you want to balance or enhance the flavors by seed, roasting, grinding, or deflating the fruit.

Many people are a little cautious about seasoning because you feel uncertain about how much is needed and it can look like a lot of spice if you dispense directly from the spice glass into the pot.

One tip is to first dispense in the hand or in a spoon and thus get a better sense of how much spice you need to use. In addition, the spice stays fresher because you do not get as much moisture as when the spice glass is kept over the smoking food.

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