Guidelines for Using Herbs and Spices
Category : Hints, Tips and Tricks

Herbs are the leaves of certain plants that usually grow in temperate climates.

Spices are the buds, fruits, flowers, bark, seeds, and roots of plants and trees, many of which grow in tropical climates.

  1. Store spices in a cool place, tightly covered in opaque containers. Heat, light, and moisture deteriorate herbs and spices rapidly.

  2. Don't use stale spices and herbs, and don't buy more than you can use in about 6 months. Whole spices keep longer than ground, but both loose much of their flavor after 6 months.

  3. Ba cautious after you have replaced old spices. The fresher products are more potent, so the amount you used before might be too much now.

  4. Use good quality herbs and spices. It doesn't pay to economize. The difference in cost is only a fraction of a cent per portion.

  5. Whole spices take longer to release their flavor than ground spices, so allow for adequate cooking time.

  6. Whole herbs and spices for flavoring a liquid are tied loosely in a piece of cheesecloth (called a sachet) for easy removal.

  7. When in doubt, add less than you think you need. You can always add more, but it's hard to remove what you've already added.

  8. Except in dishes like curry or chili, the spices should not dominate. Often they should not even be evident. If you can taste the nutmeg in the creamed spinach, there's probably too much nutmeg.

  9. Herbs and spices added to uncooked foods such as salads and dressings need several hours for flavors to be released and blended.

  10. Taste foods before serving, whenever possible. How else can you "adjust the seasoning" ?