Organic herbs and spices are an important ingredient in most kitchens around the world. They sure add that zest to your food, in fact, Indian or Asian cuisines are incomplete without the use of spices.
Before getting to know the use of herbs and spices in your recipes, it is essential to understand how to purchase and store them. Spices possess a very short shelf life, especially if they are in powder form – these will keep fresh for a maximum of six months give or take, depending on the storage conditions.
But here are some pertinent facts about selecting the best organic herbs and spices for your pantry.
Typical Grocery Store Spices – Not a Great Idea
Your average grocery store would be procuring spice stocks in bulk, which would be sitting on the shelves for a while. In the elapsed time, the spices lose their freshness. Whole spices are a better option, they remain fresh for a longer period than if they are ground into fine powders.
Grocery store packed spices may not always be of good quality although you pay top dollars. In fact, you rarely get totally pure spice powders, they contain several additives like salt, flour or colours which may be added to increase the bulk or improve the colours and texture. Apart from additives, they might also contain nasty and harmful foreign matter like wood shavings, mud, dead insects, etc.
Select the Best Whole Spices
Like we said, whole spices last longer and are a better option. Simply powder them, in small quantities mind you, and use as and when required. Make sure you select the best quality of herbs and spices. You might pay a little more but in the end it becomes worthwhile. Good quality herbs and spices are more flavourful and aromatic so they can be used sparingly.
Sourcing the Best Produce
Ethnic markets or stores selling organically grown herbs and spices are your best bet to obtain pure and good quality stuff. To select the best, go by the aroma or scent of the spices or herbs. Spices have a strong smell, especially if they are fresh. To select the right herbs and spices, go by your sense of smell and sight. Fresh spices will look vibrant and give off a strong aroma.
You might find the best quality Herbs And Spices with your local spice merchant, where you can actually see the goods for yourself before purchase. You could also purchase good quality spices online. But, if possible, grow your own, especially herbs. Mint, Cilantro, Rosemary, Sage are some herbs that can be grown easily in your kitchen garden.
It is wise to buy a small quantity first and try it out. Remember, when it comes to spices, just a little goes a long way provided you select the best quality whole spices.