Everyone is aware that it is the spices that make the food taste good, but not many people are familiar with how to use them so they tend to shy away. However, it is a fact that with a couple of simple tips that involve knowing how much spices to add and when to add them, you can incorporate them slowly in your cooking and with complete confidence. Wondering how to cook with spices? Ido Fishman has outlined top things you should know about spices to cook right:
- Make sure you store your spices properly
First things first, you should ensure that your spices stay as flavorful and fresh as possible and this can happen when they are stored in the right place. Ido Fishman says that spices should be stored in a cool, dark environment and away from direct heat. This means that you should steer clear of areas around your oven, stove or dishwasher, which generate heat.
- Check the expiration dates of spices
Spices do expire and they might do so quicker than you believe. The flavor goes out of expired spices and their color also dulls. For instance, paprika goes to a dull brown from bright red, indicating that it has gone bad. Spices start aging as soon as you open them, so you should take note of the date you open them and always check to ensure they are still fresh and fragrant.
- Figure out how to use dried herbs
You can add spices after or during cooking, but dried herbs, on the other hand, require some time to release their flavor. Thus, Ido Fishman recommends that you add them during the cooking process. They are typically used in sauces, stews and other long-cooking recipes for fully releasing their flavor.
- Invest in a spice grinder
As opposed to pre-ground spices, freshly ground ones tend to be more flavorful. Similar to apples, they become exposed to oxygen and their quality starts deteriorating slowly. If you want to have flavorful spices, you should buy whole and grind them yourself. Even though it may seem a bit excessive, it can make a big difference in the final product.
- Toast the spices in a dry pan
You can also amp up the spices by toasting them quickly in a dry pan before you use them. According to the Ido Fishman blog, this trick can work for both ground and whole spices, the former being a bit more prone to burning, and can amp up their aroma and flavor. If you are using whole spices, it is best to do this step before you grind them. If you are using ground spices, toast them only for a couple of seconds in order to wake them up.
- Know which ground peppers and chilies are mild and hot
Bear in mind that not all ground peppers and chilies are made equal. Some tend to have a lot of flavor, but are not hot at all, while others have a lot of heat without any flavor. Cayenne pepper is a great example of a spice that provides a whole lot of heat without much flavor. Therefore, it is best to use it for already flavorful dishes. On the other hand, red pepper flakes have mild heat and a fruity flavor.
- Don’t just double the amount of spices when doubling a recipe
As far as spices are concerned, experts like Ido Fishman will tell you that there is no fixed formula for scaling recipes up and down. Some spices are strong and doubling them can make them overpowering, while others just might get lost. In the case of assertive spices like red pepper flakes and cayenne pepper, you should increase them by 1.25 times the original amount.
Follow these spice tricks and you will be able to use them in your cooking the right way to make your food delicious.