Your spice drawer holds the key to infusing your cooking with diverse global flavours.
How to store spices
Did you know that whole spices maintain their freshness for longer than ground spices? And that they lose flavour over time (use your eyes and nose – if their colour has faded and the aroma is low, replace them). Use these storage tips to keep your spices fresher for longer.
“Store spices away from light, moisture and heat, which influence shelf life and flavour.” says Roelien Havenga, Woolies product developer. Store your spices in glass jars to preserve their freshness, or make like TASTE food editor Abigail Donnelly and store your spices in Ziploc bags in the fridge.
Don’t sprinkle herbs and spices directly from the bottle over a steaming pot – moisture will cake ground spices.
Vanie Padayachee, executive chef at Marigold restaurant in Franschhoek, recommends buying the smallest quantities you can. “At Marigold, I order spices every week, and we roast and grind a batch for each day.”
HOW & WHY TO TEMPER SPICES
Spices should be gently fried in a fat (try oil, butter or ghee) to release their aromas. Start with whole spices such as cinnamon sticks and seeds and end off with ground spices. Be sure to keep the heat low and keep stirring, never leaving the pan unattended: ground spices will burn quickly and become bitter in a matter of seconds. If they burn, throw them away or risk a bitter dish!
Often used in pickling and marinating, they’re a key ingredient in pickled fish and used in curry blends of Caribbean origin.
Try it in: Moroccan-spiced carrot hummus with pickled carrots and flatbreads
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Their light, liquorice flavour is delicious in curries. Or grind them and combine with other seasoning to enhance fish and seafood.
Try it in: bean curry
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Crack the pods to release their aromatic, sweet flavour into mild curries and dairy-based desserts.
Try it in: cardamom-and-rose almond milk rice pudding
Browse more recipes starring cardamom here