Monday, May 30, 2011

Getting the Most Flavor from your Spices

   To get the most flavor from your dried spices start with the whole product, rather than ground. Pictured we have Cumin and Coriander.
   The flavor comes from the oils in the spices, to release these oils you need to heat the spices. To toast them heat a small/ medium sauce pan on medium heat. Add the spices. Small seeds like cumin can burn easily, continuously swirl the pan, to prevent this. It takes only about 5 minutes, you will know when they're done when the aroma becomes very strong and wonderful!
   Allow for the seeds to cool.
   Next we need to grind the seeds, so they are edible! The easiest way to do this is to use a coffee grinder. The fun way, is to use a mortal and pestle, as pictured. Put a small amount of the seeds in the mortal and slowly press and twist the pestle until the seeds are broken up, and continue until they are ground.
   Store at room temperature in an airtight container. They will save nearly indefinitely, but they will loose their potency over time. I recommend grinding small amounts, so you are not tempted to save them longer than a week or two.
   You can leave the toasted seeds whole, if you would like to use them to flavor soups/ sauces. Wrap them in a double layer of cheesecloth and simmer them in your liquid. Remove before serving.

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