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Spices Every Kitchen Should Have and How to Store Them

There are certain species that you will use more often than others. These are versatile spices and seasonings that can be used in a variety of dishes, so it makes sense to always have them on hand. When you ensure that you have certain species in your kitchen ant all times, you will be able to make more foods quickly and conveniently without having to make a special trip to the grocery for them. 

Essential Spices

Allspice – While this seasoning tastes like it has hints of cloves, nutmeg, and cinnamon in it, it actually comes from a pimento dioica tree. The dried berries from that tree are used to make allspice, a flavourful, sweet spice with a bit of spiciness to it that is perfect for Caribbean dishes. Use this in pies, cakes, stir fry, and scramble to add a complex, varied taste to it. 

Parsley – The fragrant but subtle taste of parsley is great for adding just a little bit of flavour to a dish. In fact, parsley is valued more for its colour and the way you can add a lot of it to a food without overpowering the dish with flavour. 

Curry Powder – use this to add some spiciness and delightful flavour to Indian, Caribbean, and creole foods. 

Black Peppercorns – Why not just use ground black pepper? The aroma and taste of freshly ground black pepper is so much more powerful and nuanced than already ground pepper, and once you try it for yourself, you will see the difference. 

Chili Powder – Do you like the idea of spicy food but don’t like your food to be too spicy? Chili powder is the perfect addition to a great number of dishes to make them slightly spicier without the heat being overwhelming. 

Ginger – The pungent aroma and slightly spicy ginger is used in savoury dishes, desserts, Asian cuisine, and many baked foods. It’s not the kind of spice you usually think about until you make something that calls for it, though there are some great ginger-centric recipes as well.

Rosemary -This spice adds a fragrant smell to your food and a subtle hint of flavour that is a great addition to all sorts of dishes. 

Nutmeg – Most people are familiar with nutmeg as a sweetener for cookies, cakes and coffee, but it can also be used in main course dishes as well to give them a nuanced, slightly sweet flavour and to balance out the stronger flavours. 

How to Store Spices

You want to keep all of your species stored in such a way that they last a long time. Nothing kills the flavour and decreases the shelf life of spices more than sunlight, so keep them in a dark place out of direct sunlight. 

The best place for your spices would be in kitchen cabinets. The dark, cool location keeps them away from heat and direct light, allowing them to store for much longer. You could even have custom built cabinets to show off your spices. Spices that would otherwise last for only a few months can last for years in your kitchen cabinets, especially if you use opaque doors rather than transparent glass ones. 

Be careful about the kitchen appliances you use near the spices. If you use a kitchen kettle or coffeepot close to the cabinets, these can send steam into the air, affecting the cabinets and the spices. So, make sure not to use any appliances that might let off steam close to your spice storage.

What if you want to save space and don’t have any kitchen cabinets to use? If you don’t have space to install cabinets, you can use a spice rack, and rotating racks are the best space savers. 

What about storing your spices in the right containers? What kind of containers should you use? It doesn’t matter whether you use glass or plastic so long as the containers are airtight. If the container isn’t airtight, then the spices will deteriorate faster and have a very limited shelf life.

If your spices come in small paper or plastic sachets, you don’t want to just fold over the tops and clamp down the fold. That is not an airtight seal, and it is better to transfer any spices from an opened sachet into an airtight container.

Once you are storing your spices properly, they will last you for a long time and taste fresh when you are ready to use them. Properly stored spices and seasonings will retain their full flavour for a long time, making your food tastier and more enjoyable. 

Written by Pauline

I'm Pauline, a mother of four grown children, my passion for cooking stemmed from the joy i get cooking for my family. I love to try new dishes, especially when dining out but creating and sharing my own recipes is my favourite thing to do!

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