Let’s have a little talk about spices and what makes them great. There are so many different herbs and spices out there, and they can be used to add a lot of flavor without adding fat or salt. They are what give different culinary styles and regions their own unique flare. Spices can get pricey, especially for some of the more exotic ones. However, you don’t have to spend a lot to get the most out of your flavorings. One of the biggest indicators of a spice’s taste is freshness.
Allow me to present an example:
Here are two spoons of paprika. The one on the left is from a jar that is of questionable age and has been stored near the stove. The one on the right is from a freshly purchased jar. They are both McCormick brand paprika from the grocery store, nothing fancy. They were the same price. The only distinction is freshness, and I think the differences are readily noticeable. In addition to their appearance, the new paprika definitely had a stronger aroma and definitely tasted stronger and richer.
The lesson for today: You can spend a lot of money to buy the highest quality spices and grind them yourself… but you don’t have to. Grocery store spices are perfectly serviceable and delicious. Whether you spend a lot or a little, buy in smaller amounts so that they’ll always be fresh and store them out of direct sunlight and away from heat.