Sep 12, 2019
Sep 12, 2019
We're happy it is pouring down on us. But we’re not happy to see herbs and spices getting soggy within minutes of leaving them outside. What about those expensive masalas that are your tools in the kitchen, getting covered with layers of dusty mould or fungus.There's actually nothing more disheartening for the home cook than finding that precious jar of garam masala missing on flavour or aroma or all clumped up with moisture. Spices are aromatic because of the essential oils they contain, but these oils are highly volatile and thus tend to lose flavour easily.
While the rainy season is a time for enjoyment, it is also a time when you need to be extra careful about food storage, as all edibles tend to get spoiled easily during this time. Monsoon is the time when there is an excess of moisture in the air, and as a result, ground masalas and whole spices tend to get soggy or lose their flavour if not stored well. It is common to find masala powders caking at the bottom of the jar, only because you forgot to close the lid properly, or used a wet spoon to take it out.
Here are some tips on how you can store masalas and spices like a pro -
Use the right spice container
The best way to retain freshness and ensure that your spices last long is to store them in small airtight containers.If you start following this, then there is very little chance of your spices and ground masalas going bad.
Dry roast before storing
Essential whole spices like cinnamon, cloves, cardamom can be dry roasted briefly in a pan, cooled and then stored in airtight bottles, this also makes them more flavourful.
Sun dry in between
There are days amid the showers when the sun comes out. Use these days to keep the spices in sun. This will free them of fungal growth if any and help retain their freshness.
Store in a cool, dry place
A dry, dark space is ideal for storing spices to save them from their enemies which are light, air, moisture and heat. Similar to olive oil, exposure to light can affect the flavor of spices over time and make them age quicker.
Keep away from water
You would not even be able to guess how the moisture creeps in the spices. Make sure you never use a wet finger or spoon to take out spices from the jars. We know it’s tempting to pick up any spoon straight off the counter to scoop out some chaat masala, but it’s important to take that extra second to make sure it’s a dry utensil.
Buy small quantities
Cooking spices are best when used fresh. So, if you are grinding them at home, do so in small quantities or buy smaller ready-made packs. Remember, storing them well is important because the very essence of Indian cooking lies in the spices and their freshness and flavour.
You might also want to read: