Cooking with Spices and Herbs

  • Ground spices release their flavor more quickly than whole spices. Ground spices such as ground thyme or ground cumin can be used in recipes with short cooking times or can be added near the end of cooking for longer cooking recipes.
  • Whole spices need a longer time to release their flavor. They work well in longer cooking recipes like soups and stews. Robust herbs such as sage, thyme and bay leaves stand up well in long cooking while milder herbs like basil, marjoram and parsley can be added at the last minute for best results.
  • Rub leafy herbs in the palm of your hand to release the flavor and aroma.
  • To double a recipe, increase spices and herbs by one and one-half, TASTE and then add more if necessary. In most recipes one and one-half times the seasoning will be sufficient to provide desired flavor.
  • Spices such as fennel seed, cumin seed, sesame seed and white peppercorns may be toasted to intensify their flavors. Simply add the spice to a dry, non-stick, heated skillet and heat until aromatic.
  • Whole spices and seeds may be best ground using a small electric coffee grinder or spice mill. A pepper mill or mortar and pestle may also be used.

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