Want some naturals in your food? Need some freshness in your recipe? Make way for that rich and earthy flavor with the pleasant and heavenly aroma from your herbs and spices. What could it do to you, and what would it benefit you? Here are some things that you should know about herbs and spices:
Herbs or Spice?
When does a plant call an herb, and when will it be a spice? There’s a correct classification on each of them such that there are appropriate uses and applications also. For guidance, you learn from books, or maybe you can experiment with their use.
Herbs are plants with savor and aroma properties, while spices are plant substances derived from commonly the same plant or another species. Both have equally of great importance; some used them as medicines and mostly in the kitchen.
Herbs are plants used directly in cooking as raw and fresh, or they can be used to garnish foods for an attractive presentation. The leaves are the plants’ parts that are commonly used. Herbs are also used as a medicine for some illnesses for some traditionalists.
Likewise, spices are also part of the plants used in proportion as extracts or whole parts. Such parts as fruit, bark, seeds, stems, flowers, and leaves. These parts underwent specific processes to take out its extract or preserve them.
Preservation processes will help prolong its shelf life and achieve specific properties that the spices would have. Shelf life will determine how long these spices can be used or until when a particular processed spice is still potent for use.
Preservation and Application
Depending on its application, certain herbs and spices have their characteristic unique for each desired taste and aroma of the food. They can be applied as extracts, powder, or just dried resized parts. A correct preservation and extraction method is essential to achieve the best quality while retaining their properties and desired characteristics.
The most common preservation method is drying or dehydration. It removes the moisture of the plant, thereby inhibits the growth of microorganisms while preserving it. Drying was the oldest method of food preservation; the process can be done simply by sun-drying or mechanical dryers.
Drying allows the plant to be processed without altering most of its properties, such as its savory or aromatic properties. In the case of spices, it’s effectiveness to give flavor to the food remains. The dried herb will now have an extended life span compared to when stocked directly as fresh.
How to Store Your Herbs and Spices?
Like anything stored in your kitchen, different ingredients have their distinct storage requirement and storage limitations. They can be stored dry, frozen, chilled, or vacuum packed. Proper storage will preserve your ingredients’ potency, most importantly, prevent early deterioration caused by intrusion and growth of some pathogens.
Pathogens are microorganisms that include bacteria, viruses, parasites, and fungi. These pathogens can cause serious illnesses when ingested via contaminated food or transmitted to humans. Thus it is very crucial to have the proper food storage to avoid contamination in food.
Different storage methods can be applied to fresh spices; some can be stored at room temperature or chilled at a specific temperature. Leaves can be wrapped with paper to protect from unnecessary contaminants or moisture increases. It preserves the freshness of the leaves a little bit by blocking the moisture. Moisture will hasten the deterioration of the leaves and eventually gets rotten.
Processed spices have different storage requirements, too. There are powder spices that are very porous and require an airtight container. This package requirement will prevent lumping once they are exposed to moisture, especially when opened. Some can stand simple storage in a container at room temperature.
The Best Spices to Have in Your Kitchen
When deciding on a particular spice to store in your kitchen, it is best to consider multiple factors. You can get variations depending on your need; you can get those you frequently use in your dishes. It is best to get spices with shared use, which can be used all-around in several different dishes.
Consider also the storage requirement and the shelf life of spices you get. Particular caution on spices that have small amounts of use and short shelf life. They can be tossed away with your money if not consumed immediately.
Herbs and spices are two of the essential ingredients that you should have in your kitchen. You can have them fresh or processed; it may be in the form of extracts or dried plant parts. They have several uses, such as in cooking or even as medicines for healing alternatives.
It is best to know each of their characteristics and properties to determine the proper use, preservation, and storage. Proper storage would help prolong its use, avoid contamination, prevent you from acquiring potential health hazards, and save your money from possible trash and toss.