Indian Cooking is renowned for its aromatic myriad of spices. Although sometimes the recipes can seem intimidating with a long list, they truly add the authentic and unique flavour of India. Storing your spices is important to do well to make cooking easier as well as bringing out the best of the flavour.
Avoid Direct Heat
It might seem silly, especially as most of the spices you’ll be cooking with, but when you’re storing your spices, avoid areas of direct heat. Although it may be useful and convenient to store spices above the cooker, its possibly the worst place to keep them. When expose to heat, the oils in the herbs and spices dry out. Losing this oil means losing flavour. Also, keeping them in direct sunlight can be detrimental. Herbs and spices are phoot-sensitive, therefore, they start to break down and dry out when exposed to direct light.
Spices are hygroscopic which means they interact with the moisture in the air. Spices naturally absorb the moisture in the air which can change the flavour of them, as well as the weight. Typically, you’ll find that if your spices have reacted with moisture, they’ll be lumpy. Humid air can even cause mould on your spices. Mould can spoil the spices as well as lead to illnesses. This is why you should also avoid putting your spices in the fridge of freezer.
Where Should I Store my Spices?
When it comes to finding a place for your spices in the kitchen, choose a cool, dry place with a constant temperature. A cupboard away from the dishwasher and cooker would be best. Also choose a cupboard that’s easy for you to get to, so when it comes to cooking, its easier than ever.
How to Know When Spices are Fresh
Generally, ground spices will last about 6 months and whole spices can retain their flavour for up to 5 years. If you’re worried, sprinkle a little on your hand and smell it. Fresh spices are the most fragrant, whilst old ones won’t have much scent at all. The older the spice is, the less flavour it’ll add to your cooking.
When it comes to organising your spices, it’s all about what suits you and your cooking style best. We suggest making things as clear as possible, and ordering them so when you come to cooking, you don’t spend time struggling to find it!