Even someone with very little cooking knowledge is aware that spices are what makes the food taste so good and delicious. But, it is also a fact that not many people know how to use these spices and often tend to shy away from them. Doing so is a mistake because you want your food to turn out great. Luckily, there are some simple tips outlined by Ido Fishman that can help you understand when to add spices and how to add, so you can give your confidence a boost and improve your cooking. Check some of these below:
- Store them properly
First and foremost, you need to ensure that you are storing all your spices in a cool and dark place and keeping them in airtight containers, rather than above your stove. This will ensure that your spices remain as flavorful and fresh as possible. They need to be kept away from direct heat, which means they shouldn’t be near your oven, stove or dishwasher that generate heat.
- Check their expiration date
Spices do expire and according to Ido Fishman, this might happen quicker than you may have thought. When spices expire, they will obviously have less flavor and will also dull in color. Paprika is usually bright red, but if it expires, it will turn into a dull brown. This is when you can tell it has gone bad. The spices start to age as soon as they are opened. Therefore, you should mark the date you open them and always check to ensure they remain fresh and fragrant.
- Learn how to use dried herbs
As opposed to spices, which you can add during or even after cooking, dried herbs take some time for releasing their flavor. Therefore, Ido Fishman Chef states that they have to be added during the cooking process. They are typically used in sauces, stews and other long-cooking recipes that allow them to fully release their flavor.
- Invest in a spice grinder
While you can use pre-ground spices, experts like Ido Fishman will tell you that freshly ground spices tend to be more flavorful. Similar to apples, as soon as spices are processed, they are exposed to oxygen, which means their quality will start deteriorating. If you want your spices to be flavorful, you should get them whole and grind them yourself. Even though it might seem excessive to some, but it is undoubtedly worth it.
- Figure out how fine you grind them
The taste of your spices will also depend on how finely they are grounded. For instance, black pepper can range from spicy to mild, depending on how it is ground. According to Ido Fishman, coarsely ground pepper has a fairly mild taste, whereas finely mild pepper is a bit harsh and will hit the back of your throat.
- Toast the spices to bring out the flavor
You can also amp up your spices by toasting them in a dry pan before you use them. Ido Fishman says that this can be done with both ground and whole spices, with the former being more prone to burning. This will help in boosting their aroma and flavor. You should use this step with whole spices before you grind them. If you are using ground spices, they should only be toasted for a couple of seconds to wake them up quickly.
- Don’t double the amount of spices with the recipe
If you are scaling your recipe up or down, this doesn’t mean you do the same with the amount of spices. As per Ido Fishman, doubling some spices can be quite overpowering, while others can get lost. If you are using assertive spices like red pepper flakes or cayenne, they should be increased by 1.25 times the original amount. This ensures that you don’t end up with a sauce tasting too much like cayenne and enables you to make adjustments as required.