Saturday, October 29, 2011

Spice it up!

My reasoning for putting this on the blog is; to be as self-reliant as you can means taking care of yourself so you don't have to depend on a Dr. and medications because you made poor health decisions in the past (I'm not saying you will never have to go to a Dr. if you use herbs and spices but it can't hurt.) One preventive measure you can take is to use herbs and spices in your cooking. They really help our whole body but the biggest perk I think is how much they aide in proper digestion. Since so much of our immune system comes form our digestive system...better health all around. While the history of spices is fascinating, I will encourage you to read about it on your own. Lets just say we are truly blessed to have access to such a variety, cooking would be bland without them and a lot less spice it up to your health!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
  (story time...hehehe the meat starts after this paragraph in case you want to skip it) Since were on the topic of herbs and spices let me share a little story...he he he. Herbs and spices can also be made into useful teas, for instance Cinnamon can help stop diarrhea. So when me and my husband were engaged he was complaining of tummy troubles so I said to make some Cinnamon tea...I had been living with my BFF for several years so I just assumed (and you know what assuming does it makes an a** out of you and me) she had picked up enough of my herbal ways that she could easily make him some Cinnamon tea since I needed to hop in the shower. Well she made it all right, with like a pound of Cinnamon, and he drank it! You use about three teaspoon per cup of tea, boil the water, put the Cinnamon in let is steep 15mins and then strain it through a paper towel and then drink. Needless to say there was no straining and he drank almost the whole cup. The result... him in the fetal position on the couch cursing tea for a few hours. Needless to say it took me several years to let me persuade him to drink herbal tea for any ailments        again. We still laugh about the Cinnamon tea incident...well I do.                                                            

We can go more in depth later but this is a good place to start. 

10 essential tips for storing your herbs and spices.  

1. Whole spices and herbs will maintain their freshness way longer than ground ones...meaning quality.

2. Coffee grinders are cheap and make a great spice grinder for whole seeds, cloves, and cinnamon sticks. It's faster than a mortar and pestle but there fun to use, and a good way to get kids involved they will love it! Fresh-ground spices are especially pungent and flavorful.

3. Spices and herbs store  best in airtight bottles...and I am a glass bottle snob. The shelf life of properly stored spices and herbs is approximately 4 years for whole spices, 2-3 years for ground spices and 1-3 years for leafy herbs. Depending on the source the times may be different but this is what I go by.

4. They aren't going to mold and spoil on you, but spices and herbs do lose their strength. Old and weak seasonings will not deliver the taste that they once were capable of. This also means that the properties that are beneficial for our health aren't as strong.

5. There are three things to check when verifying freshness: look, smell, and taste.
If the color has faded it is a good indicator of flavor loss. Taste and smell your spices and herbs: if they don't deliver a punch when you taste them or are hard to smell, they need to be replaced.

6. Don't sprinkle...what a cutsie word... spices and herbs directly from the bottle over a steaming pot. Steam introduced into the bottle will result in the the loss of flavor and aroma :(  Steam will also result in caking of your precious herbs and spices.

7. This should be common sense... but make sure your measuring spoon is completely dry when you dip it into the any herb or spice container. Any moisture in the bottle will result in caking and flavor loss.

8. The red pepper family think there special and like to be stored in the fridge; for instance paprika and chili powder. This will help them retain their color and freshness.

9. Replace bottle lids tightly  and immediately after each use.

10. Herbs and spices don't like the sun...vampires?...what? it's Halloween what can I say...moving on...Keep spices and herbs away from heat, moisture, and direct sunlight. Avoid storing spices and herbs over the stove or near a window.

Here is my easy kitchen spice re-do. It's nothing fancy but it's better then it was. There are better options but it's not at the top of my priority list. I guess my family wanted to stay warm this winter...whiners..sheesh  so we had to fill up the propane tank.

I had some of my spices by the stove which I knew was a big no, no, but we moved in recently so I am cutting myself some slack. I have all my herbs stored in a cute storage box in my closet, it will stay cooler and darker then most the house. I will get some small glass containers to put them in soon so I can put some small amounts in the kitchen, they will keep better that way.                                           

Now I have more counter space :)

                                        Storage options

Spice Jar
 I really like this one but check out these options too and here are some more ideas and last but not least...whew!!!        

SpiceCare System

Interlocking spice jars                                                                                           

 Need more help in the organizing department check out this link

Where to buy spices online, here and here is where I get my herbs from.

Want a more 'cultured' (and I'm not talking fermentation) and in-depth look into world of spices

Cooking with herbs

 Do you have some different ideas on how effectively store herbs and spices? Let us know, we would love to hear from you!

No comments:

Post a Comment