There’s so much to the cooking process that we don’t know about. It can take years and years of errors and trials to develop your own cooking style. Building culinary skills is a tough but rewarding process. You can learn how to make yourself, your loved ones, and your family happy by serving them the dishes they surely deserve. However, before you can achieve the level of mastery you want, you need to learn more about any dish’s key ingredients. That’s right, we are talking about spices here. To know what spices to use, when, and how to level up your cooking skills and completely change your game. Let’s see how spices can change the flavours of your food.
The benefits of spices
You can neglect the importance of spices in your food. They are what make every dish tasty and unique. They are responsible for the aroma, which builds your appetite. They create a unique combination of flavours. They even have lots of health benefits! Overall, you can go far without using at least some spices in your kitchen. However, they can change the flavours of your food for the better or for the worst. It all depends on how much you know about them.
How to use spices
Knowing what spices to use in what circumstances is one thing. Knowing how to use them is another skill you should learn to upgrade your cooking. You can have the best spices you can find, but that won’t do the trick if you don’t use them right. You need to know the best ways to cook with spices, when to add them and how to store them, and so on. Here are a few useful tips on how to use your spices the right way.
Buy them whole
First, try to buy whole spices whenever you can. This means you buy leaves, roots, seeds, or else before they were ground into a powder and put in a plastic bag. Everything from cinnamon sticks to cardamom, to cloves, star anise, and paper corns can (and should) be bought whole. By purchasing them this way, you protect their flavors. Hence, you won’t lose any of their aroma or qualities. They will remain within the spice as long as it stays whole.
It’s similar to coffee beans. As long as you store your coffee beans whole, they will remain their initial qualities. After all, you won’t buy the best brazilian coffee brand and grind them all at once. You’ll ruin the taste you have bought them for in the first place. The same is with the spices.
Whole spices will cost you a bit more, but they will also last you much longer than already powdered spices. You can buy whole spices on the market or in special spices stalls. Of course, you’ll need some extra kitchen tools when it comes to grinding them. However, it’s not so difficult or expensive. There are two ways you can grind your spices. You can use an electric spice grinder or a pestle and mortar made of marble, stone, or wood. Both ways are good. The latter will take a little more work since you do everything manually. Although it requires some physical work, a pestle is still more gentle with your spices and keeps most of their flavours. The former will make a perfect powder of your spices, though you will lose some of the flavours in the process.
Do homemade blends
Using spice blends will save you a lot of time when you are cooking. If you cook dishes like chili or curry often, adding a homemade blend of species will be much more convenient than doing the mixes on the spot every single time. However, we encourage you to do your own spices blends. It’s so easy to do, and you can become a master of kitchen spices very quickly. Thus you will always know what exactly is on those mixes. You’ll know how much to put them and what flavour they will give you, unlike with the store-bought blends, where you know where little about the ingredients and the percentages of the components.
Add some heat to it
Another interesting tip is to warm up your spices before using them. Yes, it sounds a bit unusual, but trust me, it makes such a huge difference when it comes to your food’s flavors. When you toast the spices before adding them to a dish, you allow them to open up. You extract the full extent of their natural oils and aromas.
Last but not least, how you store your spices is crucial to their flavors and qualities. You should keep them away from any humid environment. No steam of water should get to them. Air is another enemy of the spices. Leave them in the open space for too long, and you won’t have any aroma left in them. Hence, create the perfect storage for your spices. After all, they are often the key elements of your dishes. They deserve proper care and protection.