Did you know that more than 200 million pounds of spices are consumed annually? Spices are what makes food more piquant and appetizing. Storing spices properly will help you bring out the best flavor in each spice to ensure a delicious, aromatic dish.
The most important thing you can do to maximize the flavor of your spices is to purchase them whole, not ground. Ground spices tend to deteriorate after about three months, especially if stored improperly. Crushing spices as you need smaller amounts is the best way to ensure better flavor and freshness.
Step 2: Dry and dark is best
Spices are best preserved if stored in a dry, dark space. Light, air, moisture and heat are spices’ biggest enemies. These four factors keep spices from performing at their highest potential. Avoid clear bottles for storage, especially if using a spice rack hanging on your kitchen wall, as the spices will be exposed to too much light. Steel tins and canisters work best to ensure light-proof storage. Always keep your spices away from areas that will expose them to heat and affect the flavor.
Step 3: Know when to throw them out
Even though storing spices properly helps maintain freshness and flavor, everything does expire eventually and it’s important to know when to throw old spices out. A good rule of thumb is once a year; an easy way to remember when you need fresh spices is to throw them out every year during spring cleaning; or write the purchase date on top of each spice so you can track it. If the spice begins smelling musky or has no odor, or changes color, replace it, it has expired.Hope you enjoyed and learned from this blog; flavor is very important for all recipes.
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Storing Foods: Garlic, Onions, and Shallots
The correct way is to store these items is in a paper bag with holes punched in the bag.
What you would need:
- Brown paper bags, lunch bag size
- Hole punch
- Paper clips
- Make sure the onions, garlic, and/or shallots are firm and blemish free.
- Punch holes in the bags.
- Fill each bag half full and fold over the top; do not mix the vegetables in the bags.
- Label the bag with the description of the contents then paper clip it to hold the top down.
This punched paper bag method should extend the life of onions, garlic, and shallots in most situations. However, their specific life may vary depending on the temperature, humidity, and light conditions where the bags are stored. Do not store potatoes in the same area as they give off gases that will accelerate spoilage of each other.
These will last the longest in a dark, cool (but not cold), dry storage area. I’ve successfully kept them in my 65-70ish degree kitchen drawer for up to 3 months. A cool, dark basement is a good choice or a cellar, if you happen to have one. Onions should not be stored for an extended time in the refrigerator because the cold temperature will soften their texture; plus, onions will impart their flavor on surrounding produce.
No plastic bags: Don’t ever store onions in plastic bags. That will accelerate sprouting and spoilage because of the lack of air circulation.
This is one of my favorite grits recipes:
- 2 cups milk
- 2 cups water
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 cup coarse ground cornmeal
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 4 ounces sharp Cheddar, shredded or as much as you like; I use more
Place the milk, water, and salt into a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Once the milk mixture comes to a boil, gradually add the cornmeal while continually whisking. Once all of the cornmeal has been incorporated, decrease the heat to low and cover. Remove lid and whisk frequently, every 3 to 4 minutes, to prevent grits from sticking or forming lumps; make sure to get into corners of pot when whisking. Cook for 20 to 25 minutes or until mixture is creamy.
Remove from the heat, add the pepper and butter, and whisk to combine. Once the butter is melted, gradually whisk in the cheese a little at a time. Serve immediately.