Why Freshly Ground Spices Taste Better
The primary goal of cooking and baking is to end up with a delicious dish. A nice presentation is definitely a bonus, but no matter how delightful it looks, the overall quality of the dish boils down to flavor.
It seems like common sense, but one of the best and easiest ways to improve the flavor of your dishes is to use higher-quality ingredients. And the truth is, the pre-ground spices that have been sitting in your cupboard for months are not of the best quality.
As soon as whole spices are ground, more surface area comes into contact with light and air, which makes them start to degrade. This is when they begin to lose their natural oils, a huge source of their flavor.
Because sitting for months on grocery store shelves and in your kitchen cupboard leads to a great loss in flavor, the best spices to use in any dish are whole spices that you freshly grind yourself right before you cook.
When you use freshly ground spices as opposed to pre-ground spices, you will immediately notice a more fragrant aroma. This will lead to a more robust flavor once cooked.
Tools Used to Grind Spices:
- mortar and pestle
- spice grinder
Of course, most people choose to use pre-ground spices because of convenience. So, make sure you weigh the pros and cons before deciding which type of spice you want to use. Plus, there are some tips you can use to make grinding your own spices more convenient.
Pros and Cons of Grinding Your Own Spices
Benefits of Grinding Your Own Spices:
- Freshly ground spices have a more robust flavor.
- Buying whole spices instead of pre-ground spices can be cheaper.
Drawbacks of Grinding Your Own Spices:
- Inconvenience — more time-consuming and requires a cleanup.
- Low-quality spice grinders make it hard to get a fine powder.
- Grinding spices in a mortar and pestle can be tiring.
Luckily, there are many ways you can simplify the process of grinding your own spices. Keep reading to learn how to improve the flavor of your food without the hassle.
How To Simplify Grinding Your Own Spices
Like most people, you probably want to up your cooking game without spending too much extra time in the kitchen.
Here are some quick tips on how to easily incorporate freshly ground whole spices into your cooking:
- Grind only the most important spices fresh. These can be spices you use daily or weekly, the main flavor components of a certain dish, or one of the best whole spices to grind fresh. (If you’re just sprinkling a little cinnamon for garnish, don’t bother to grind it fresh.)
- For frequently used spices, grind in bulk and store in airtight containers in the fridge. It’s true that they will lose a little bit of flavor as time goes on, but this will save you time and will still be much more flavorful than the preground bottles. (I use cumin nearly every day and grind it fresh once a week — still tastes great!)
- Opt for a spice grinder instead of a mortar and pestle. A mortar and pestle might result in the best flavor and texture, but if it’s too much, a spice grinder will do the trick in much less time and without tiring your arm.