What will you use to add flavor and aroma to beverages and food? Spices. Just a small amount of spice, or a well-thought combination, can make a big impact on the plainest dish. Let see how to use spices correctly, as they are a perfect way to add sharpness, sourness, or bitterness, when necessary; even sweet notes are possible.
When using spices in cooking, you should follow a few rules on how to season food with herbs and spices. These tips will make the food taste and smell much more appealing:
- As a rule, if the recipe does not require otherwise, whole spices should be added at the beginning or in the middle of cooking. As ground spices infuse the dish with aroma and flavor faster and the aroma of the dish evaporates faster than from whole spices, you always add ground spices closer to the end of cooking.
- Try storing spices whole and when necessary blend them with a mortar and pestle.
- Follow all the requirements on How to store spices in the kitchen to ensure the best result.
- Salt tends to enhance the taste of spices. Therefore, it is necessary to be careful and keep tasting the dish while seasoning it. The saying “the bigger, the better” does not apply here at all.
- A flavorful dish with a bunch of spices and herbs should be consumed in a short time. You can lose that flavor and aroma while reheating the dish.
- For pickling/marinating veggies and fruits, use whole spices. Spices will definitely have the time to infuse food with flavor, due to the prolonged contact with the liquid. Moreover, the marinade itself will remain transparent. Pickles in a jar will look appetizing and will have aesthetic appeal.
- There is a well-known method where you toast whole spices by tossing them in a dry pan over medium heat. However, you should keep in mind to use these spices immediately after toasting. Moreover, the cooking time of the dish should be not long (wok dishes, curry, beverages, etc.).
- As most aromatic molecules in spices are fat-soluble, I sometimes see no benefits from toasting them in a dry pan beforehand. Adding them to the oil you will cook in has a better effect.
- For the same reason, try adding more spices to the oily foods than mentioned in the ingredients list. Of course, if you want to have a more pronounced flavor and aroma.
- If you are adding spices and herbs to a cold dish, make sure to use them far in advance, as they release flavor and aroma slower than in hot dishes. You can also increase the amount that you add.
- Try avoiding all the wooden kitchen utensils while working with spices as the wooden surface absorbs the aroma from oils like crazy.
- If you want to substitute fresh herbs with the dried ones or vice versa then remember the following ratio: 1 teaspoon dried herbs = 1 tablespoon of fresh herbs.
- Here is a contradictory piece of advice for you: Do not be afraid of experimenting with untested combinations of spices and Stick to the classics! How is that one for you? Certain flavors can be paired to make perfect spice blends, others are hard to combine and find the common ground. It is a hard job not to overpower the dish with extra flavor alongside making it taste delicious. So, using classic spice blends in this case is a fool-proof method to make your dishes amazing. However, to learn what flavor you prefer which ones you do not, you definitely need to experiment and use something new occasionally.
I hope that my tips on how to season with spices and herbs were helpful and you found some new information that will improve your cooking skills. Please, do not forget to share the article with your friends!