Once whole spices have been ground, the majority of those potent flavor molecules begin to evaporate.
Depending on how long your ground spices have been sitting in your cupboard (and how they have been stored), they can be a quarter of the strength than those that are freshly ground.
Whole or ground spices (and herbs) will begin to break down when they are exposed to moisture and heat - from the stove, direct sunlight, or the moisture that can build up if they are stored in the fridge or freezer.
The ideal storage temperature is around 70° F, in a location away from heat, moisture and direct sunlight.
A spice grinder is an inexpensive little machine that makes easy work of grinding spices. Because spices and coffee beans have such a pronounced flavor profile, and their oils can linger in the grinder, it is best to have 2 grinders - one for coffee and one for spices.
Make your own Garam Masala spice blend:
2 Tbsp cumin seeds
2 Tbsp coriander seeds
1 Tbsp cardamom seeds
1 Tbsp black peppercorns
2 whole cloves
1/2 cinnamon stick, broken into small pieces (in a mortar)
Heat all ingredients in a dry skillet for 2-3 minutes until spices are fragrant and turn a shade darker. Transfer to a bowl and allow to cool completely. Once cool, grind to a fine powder and store for up to 2 months.
How to clean the grinder after each use: grind 2 Tbsp of raw/dried white rice, discard, and repeat until grinder is odor free. Carefully sweep out the grinder with a small brush.
What to look for when buying
- holds about 1/2 cup
- variable grinding settings (usually in relation to grinding coffee beans): peculator (medium), drip (fine), espresso (extra fine)
- time/size - depending on how much you fill the grinder, this determines the time the grinder is run for to achieve the appropriate grind size
- fine brush to clean the grinder/blades after each use
- easy to clean
- integrated cord storage is useful
GFC Tried & Tested Recommendation
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- Quality of the task they are designed to do
- Quality of manufacturing/Longevity
- Best value for your money
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