What are the benefits of whole spices
Buying spices - what should you watch out for?
Buy spices or prepare them yourself
Table of Contents
Everyone has spices in their kitchen. Some are used more often, others less often. If one is all, you stand in the supermarket and buy it. The selection of spices is growing all the time. Not only the classic pepper is available from several suppliers at different prices, there are also more and more spice mixtures. It is probably more and more difficult for one or the other to make a decision. Before you buy, however, you should give some thought in order to be able to consciously decide for one and against the other.
Buy spices - ground or buy whole?
Basically, I recommend buying spices whole and not ground. Herbs are not included here, so I often have no choice. Of course, it all depends on the spice. You can only buy ginger or turmeric fresh or ground. I can also buy the classic fruits or spices like pepper, caraway, nutmeg, allspice, etc. whole. But why bother grinding your own spices? This becomes very clear when we take a look at what ingredients spices have or what the taste brings with them. Essential oils are responsible for this. Now we don't necessarily take in the taste through the mouth, but to a large extent also through the nose.
Essential oils are highly volatile organic compounds. The more I grind a spice, the better it is released. If you smell freshly ground spices, you will of course immediately notice the released substances. Unfortunately, some are so volatile that they are lost over time. This is why spices have the most full-bodied smell and taste when freshly ground.
Of course, you should consider what options you have in your own kitchen. You don't need a lot of space for the simplest solutions. Pepper can be easily stored in a pepper mill and freshly ground when you need it. Especially with pepper, the difference in quality is very clear. If you buy pepper that has already been ground, it will never smell as aromatic as freshly ground pepper.
Of course, it is more work when I reach for the mill myself. But you can also keep certain spice mixtures in mills and grind the spices together. Here everyone should decide for themselves how much effort they want to make and what will be too much for them.
Buying spices - disposable packaging or refill pack?
When buying the packaging, you should not buy large packages for ready-ground spices. If these are left in the cupboard for too long, the spice loses its taste as some essential oils evaporate. On the other hand, whole spices can be stored longer. I prefer larger packs of whole spices. First of all, I always have enough in stock, no matter what spice I want to please someone. Second, I save packaging material, can live more ecologically and generate less waste.
Sometimes a refill pack is cheaper than disposable packaging. It pays to compare how much you pay for what amount. However, refill packs are not available for all spices or mixtures. But here, too, it is important to think about what exactly you want before buying.
Buying spices - how can I store spices well?
It is best to keep spices as whole as possible. As a result, they lose the least amount of essential oils. Ground spices should always be kept airtight. Small cans are very practical. If you want to arrange your spices in a stylish way, you can of course also use uniform storage jars or jars.
Herbs should not be exposed to direct sunlight, as the sun's rays are pale. Of course, this also applies to tea.
If you do not keep spices in the original packaging, you can lose track of when you bought what. It is advisable to note the month and year in addition to the spice.
Buy spices - ready-mixed or mix yourself?
I mix a lot of spices myself, but I also have one or the other ready-mix in my spice cabinet. There is nothing wrong with buying and using them. However, one should pay attention to the quality of the mixture when buying. There are many very high quality spice blends. Even if these have their price, you should consider how long you can have them. How quickly did you spend two or three euros on other things? You should pay particular attention to quality, especially with spices.
It is definitely worth taking a look at the list of ingredients. I've bought ready-made gingerbread spice before and found flour as an ingredient on the list. Since the package was only enough for one dough, I was very disappointed. It was probably more or less the defining moment that gave me the idea of making gingerbread spice myself. Because that is the decisive advantage when I mix spices myself. I can decide for myself what goes in and of course how much of which spice.
Mixing spices yourself requires a little feel for the right amount. Before throwing together wildly, you should determine the main spice. There can be more than one. And then there are the spices that round off the taste. Here you can be a little brave - not with the amount but rather with the choice of spices. The more spices you use, the rounder the overall result will be.
Buy spices - organic or not?
Personally, I always try to buy organic goods. Sometimes you can't buy everything in the supermarket. It pays to do a search on the internet. You can't always taste the difference immediately, but some spices contain more ingredients when the plants are less heavily powered.
Many spices are not grown here because the plants need a subtropical climate. You should make sure that they are fairly traded. This supports the producers on site and prevents child labor. Here, too, you should keep an eye on how long you can season with one pack and how quickly you spend significantly more money on other things.
For me it was a long process over a number of years that led me more and more to mix spices myself. Of course, I also bought more and more different starting ingredients. If you deal intensively with spices, you learn a lot and can add a lot of variety to your dishes. Over time, mixtures come about that cannot be bought at all. I am particularly fascinated by this, because you can not only make your own family happy with it, but also others. So it is not surprising that I make mustard myself and also create individual types of mustard with different spices, such as Advent mustard.
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