If you love cooking, then learning about the best sources to purchase high-quality products is very important, especially if you are learning to cook with spices. As a beginner, we often make this mistake, we always look at the expiry of the product, not the manufacturing date. If you want to cook delicious food using spices, then you need to buy top quality products.
In this article, we made a list of useful tips that will help you in buying top-quality products for your kitchen.
- STAY FAR AWAY FROM TYPICAL GROCERY STORE SPICES
Products on the shelves of grocery stores may have been sitting there for more than 5-6 months and before that, they probably sat in the warehouse for another couple of months. Since the average shelf life of ground spices is around 8 months, chances are, the spices are bought are already stale.
Also, it is possible that the spices were made using low-quality materials and contain other nasty ingredients.
- PURCHASE WHOLE SPICES
One of the best ways to increase the effectiveness of spices is by buying them whole and grinding them yourself. Whole spices stay fresh for a long period of time compared to packed spices. Since the shelf life of spices is low, the chances are spices have already past their prime.
Spices usually don’t have a list of ingredients used to make the spice. This means you have no idea what ingredients were used to make the spices. Whereas, when you purchase whole spices, you know exactly what you are buying.
Additionally, as per the FDA regulations, the producer is not required to list these add-in ingredients.
- BUY THE BEST POSSIBLE SPICES YOU CAN AFFORD
Have you wondered why some products are cheap and other so expensive? As per the health regulation, it is not possible to grow and process crops that are 100% free from natural defects.
So, what are these defects? To you surprise, these defects are dead insects, rat hairs, strings, and other foreign matter. Now, you must be thinking, how much of these defects enter in your ground spices? It is shocking, but almost 30% of these foreign matters end up in the spices, which is considered acceptable.
So how to buy authentic spices?
You can try ethnic markets, they usually have good-quality of whole spices and at an affordable rate. They sell spices that are used in daily cooking and they re-stock much faster than grocery stores. Yes, it is possible for an ethnic store to sell poor-quality spices, but you can talk to the staff and ask them about the quality. Also, you can smell the spices before you buy them. The safest option is to buy a small number of spices and try them to see if you like them or not.
You can also buy spices from a local merchant. They usually sell good quality. The best part is, you can chat with the staff and ask them about how to use these spices in your cooking to get the most benefits out of the spices.
If you fail to find a local merchant, you can try searching for spices online from a reliable source, for example, in you want chipotle in Australia, you can try searching for a merchant of chipotle near you on the internet.
Avoid gourmet shops, they sell regular spices at a high price. If you ever visited a local ethnic market, you can easily identify the frauds with the help of your nose and eyes. Most spices are incredibly pungent, and they should never smell musty. So, look for a merchant who sells the best quality of spices.
BUY SMALL AMOUNTS OF SPICES AT A TIME
Just because of it is cheaper to buy in bulk, it doesn’t mean it is safe as well. When spices are not used within 7 months, they go stale and lose their potency. Unless you are a chef or run a restaurant, you should not buy spices in bulk.
Remember, you purchase premium quality spices you don’t need to use them as much for cooking because they are more effective than your standard spices that are sold at a grocery store.
FINAL THOUGHT: WHEN YOU CAN, GROW YOUR OWN
If you want pure and authentic spices, then the best solution for you is to grow your own or buy from someone who has their own garden. Hand bundles of fresh herbs upside down and leave them for some time to dry. Fill the jar with the fragrant leaves. If stored properly, these herbs can easily last the whole winter.