Buying whole spices

For the past few years, I’ve been buying all my spices whole. Whole coriander, whole cumin, whole cinnamon, whole chiles… Here are a couple of good reasons for doing so:

  1. Whole spices can stay fresh for as long as 2 years, while ground spices will only last 6 to 12 months.
  2. Whole spices can be toasted before grinding and using. Toasting for a few minutes in a dry pan over medium-high heat enhances the flavour of spices. And nothing beats the house-filling aroma of toasting spices.

In other spice habits, I rarely purchase spice blends such as garam masala, chile powder or curry powder. I prefer to create my own blends. Doing so allows me to better control the quality of the spices that go into these blends, and make sure no salt or fillers have been added. It also means that I go through the constituent spices faster. Going through spices faster means fresher spices.

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