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Sorting Out Spices

Tony Hill clears up the confusion on similarly named spices and substitutions

Fine Cooking Issue 93
Photo: Scott Phillips
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Spice Tips

  • Toasting whole spices briefly before grinding expresses essential oils and brings out flavor, but high heat also changes flavors, so adapt accordingly. Toasting pre-ground spices can easily destroy their flavors.
  • Store spices away from light and heat and track their age by labeling purchase dates. Change your stock about every six months for ground spices and every year for whole spices.
  • It’s often better to make your own spice blends, such as curry powder, as you can control salt and eliminate cheap fillers.


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