Spices give our dishes that special something, especially when used correctly. Here are our golden rules for the perfect seasoning.
Incorrect storage can allow the natural flavours of the spices to evaporate quite quickly. Dry, dark and airtight containers make for the best storage. Moisture especially distorts the flavour. For this reason, it is not a good idea to store your spices on or over the stove, where the steam from your cooking tends to collect.
A spice is too old when you open the container and can't smell anything anymore.
Use the spices you like
Every person is different, what one person loves, another person hates. Find out what you like and keep those spices on hand.
Not everything tastes better fried
Some spices lose their flavour when heated, so make sure you do not add them too early to your dishes. Peppers, for example, cannot endure significant heat. They will then taste very bitter quickly.
Fresh is intense
Freshly picked herbs have the most intense flavours. This is logical because the flavours come from the fresh essential oils in the plants. Add fresh herbs as late as possible to your recipe, as they tend to crumble or lose their flavour if added too early.
Classics remain classics
There is a reason why classic spice combinations are packaged as such. They are perfect for the dishes they describe. Once you know how to use the basics, you can start to experiment with adding other flavors.
Crush your spices
If you are going to crush your spices to release their essential oils, do this as shortly before your dish preparation as possible. This is especially true for herbs, but dried spices should be crushed in a mortar to enjoy their full flavours.
Choose one main spice
Always use a main spice. All other condiments should only round out the flavour. Two intensive spices just steamroll each other.
Spices need time to develop their flavours, so allow your dishes to marinate to develop their flavour. This also applies to salad. Allow its flavour to develop by letting it sit for a few minutes before eating.
Less is more
Make sure that the spices you use not drown out the natural flavour of the dish. This can be an art, especially with vegetables. Some varieties have such fine tastes of their own, that they don't need a lot of seasoning. In these cases a pinch of sugar or salt can bring their natural flavours to light.
In conclusion: Don't be afraid to add too many spices or to experiment, just get to know your basics and you can let your creativity run wild!