Check out the ingredients for your favorite foods. This week is about spices. (But, of course, feel free to visit again pickle pocket guide.)
She is happy to cook with the spice cabinet provided. It makes your food more aromatic, lively and bold with relatively little effort. But spices are some of the players that are misunderstood in the home cooking game. Questions we hear a lot from readers: Are they worth more expensive brands? How long do the species last? Are they going wrong? Would I buy it whole or on the ground? What is the best way to cook with them?
These are all good questions. That’s why we did a little research (about Harold McGee, the king of food sciences). It turns out, it’s not as complicated as it sounds. Some tips to keep in mind encourage you to shop confidently and be generous.
Start with Good Sourcing
Going up to high quality spices will make a huge difference in your cooking. They are fresher, which means they have a more intense color, a deeper aroma and a sharper flavor. They would cost a little more than the average variety of supermarkets, but if stored properly, they are a worthwhile investment. Even within the high-end spice market, it can be difficult to know what brand to buy.
Unfortunately, there is a lot of fraud in the global spice industry. Similar to what we’ve seen happen olive oil, honey, and seafood, a product is usually diluted to increase profits. So how do you know when you’re getting real? Our strategy is to be an informed consumer. It’s not that you need to read a full thesis on the global trade in spices to buy a jar of pepper, but look at some of the websites. Is the brand transparent about sourcing? Does it refer to specific seasons, growing regions, or specific farms? Is there a fair trade practice with these producers? What about regenerative agriculture and ecological impact? If a brand is open around its supply chain and global impact, it’s a green light. (See the brands we buy below.)
Take care of your spice investment
With intelligent storage
The best way to prolong the life of your species is to get to know its enemies. Light, heat, air and moisture are the causes of slowness. Spices will never be bad on their own, and are unlikely to become dangerous to eat, but the color can start to fade, and the flavor can soften a little. The better the storage system, the longer you can keep these spices fresh.
Spices should be stored in airtight jars (the ones that are usually included are fine, but if you buy them packaged in bags, you want to transfer them). Better points if the jars are opaque or dark to block the light. Store them in a cool, dark, dry part of your kitchen, away from the heat of an oven or stove and not in a humid environment, such as a refrigerator.
The science of cooking with spices
If you read recipes from South Asia, you will notice that often whole spices are cooked in hot fat, like oil or ghee. In many Latin American recipes, whole spices and peppers are roasted in the dry before being ground in a hot pan. These methods make the flavor of your spices much stronger.
Food scientist Harold McGee touches on this process (and quite another food question you might have) in his acclaimed book. About food and cooking. “Herbs and spices accumulate their odorous chemicals in specialized oil storage cells,” he wrote. “[They’re] in the glands on the surface of the leaves or in the channels that open between the cells. ”In the wild, these essential oils, the same ones we crave in taste and smell, function as a defense mechanism for the plant.
As a chef, your goal is to extract these fragrant chemicals from herbs and spices. There are several ways to do this.
The hotter these odor molecules, the easier they will release the flavor.
Think of bartender mixing herbs or turning lemon peel to release essential oils. The herbs and spices are crushed, crushed and chopped to taste tastier for a couple of reasons. First of all, all these actions will cause friction which creates heat and the heat will have the same taste. Second, by crushing these ingredients, you are creating surfaces to escape these vapor molecules and get into your food.
Because they are oils, chemical odors are fat-soluble. If you add it to warm fats like oil, butter, ghee or animal fat, they are able to release tons of flavor. It’s also worth noting that since fats affect the palate, fat soaked in spices will have a full and intense flavor.
Grind or Not Grind
We like to mix whole and ground species. There is nothing wrong with buying planted spices. It is convenient and if you buy a high quality product and store it properly, it should stay fresh for a while. But because terrestrial species lose flavor before whole species, we choose the terrestrial versions of the species we use most often and the full versions of the species that we need to keep for longer.
If you want to grind your own whole spices, place the toast in a dry pan and then grind it with a mortar and pestle or turn it into a biscuit to grind the coffee. Make sure you have a dedicated spice coffee grinder … if you don’t want a toilet in your next coffee.
There are different ways to include whole or terrestrial species in your repertoire, but if you’re wondering which one is best for your recipes, think about it this way: Based on an assessment by McGee, how they affect grinding, crushing, and shredding. flavor, we know that terrestrial species have a larger surface area to release flavor. This means that they will become aromatic faster. So if you need maximum flavor with a short cooking time, e.g. spiced walnuts, cauliflower chorizo tacos, or spicy carrot soup“The earth is the way.”
Whole spices, even if they are strong, will gradually release their flavor and are more suitable for longer cooking times or slow slowdowns, allowing them to deepen anything in depth. We like to use it anyway. cider or mulled wine, in a the smell of lamb, or rounding the brine homemade pickles.
The Species We Love
Burlap & Barrel
Social responsibility is an important part of Burlap & Barrel’s brand identity. For founders Ethan Frisch and Ori Zohar, transparency, fair trade and sustainability are high priorities. By working directly with farmers, they get much higher quality spices than what you get in a supermarket. Burlap & Barrel has all the essentials, but check out unusual offerings like black lime, Turkish oregano sprouts and Icelandic seaweed.
Diaspora Co. In 2017 it started selling only turmeric. It currently produces thirty different species from India and Sri Lanka. Founder Sana Javeri Kadri is an ethical sourcing company that pays above the industry standard to provide a living wage to its agricultural partners. Diaspora Co. works directly with farmers, wholesalers and consumers, eliminating many distributors of intermediaries in the regular trade of species. In addition to getting high-quality specialty varieties on multi-generation farms, you get them in the freshest. We’re swooning right now brass dabba and katori spice storage set.
Spicewalla founder and James Beard award-winning chef Meherwan Irani focuses on freshness and potency with low-range production and home-roast and grind at his North Carolina factory. The range of spicewall mixes is particularly impressive: from BBQ rubs to chai, whole bagel and pumpkin pie. Also, the cans are very fun and colorful; cooking with them makes you a little happier.
We hope you enjoy the products recommended here. Our goal is to propose only the things we love and can think about, as well. We also like transparency, so full disclosure: we may receive a portion of sales or other compensation if you purchase through external links on this page.