When it comes to Food Storage many people have all kinds of herbs and spices in their cupboards. it is recommended to have 5-10 pounds of herbs and spices per person per year. This does not include salt which really is in its own category. This post is just a general over look of herbs and spices. I will be doing posts on individual herbs and spices.
It would be hard to imagine a bland tasting food to be served at dinner time. It would also be hard to imagine what cooking would be like with out unique flavors provided by herbs and spices.Spices are almost as important for their delicious aromas as for their flavors. Think of the smells of warm gingerbread, pumpkin pie, or apple crisp only increases the delight of eating these desserts. Be sure to include bottles of extract ie vanilla, almond in your pantry and include these as part of your inventory.
What are Herbs and Spices:
The term spices, is often used broadly to include all seasonings. Spices come from the following bark, roots, leaves. Stems, buds, seeds, or fruit of aromatic plants and trees with usually grow only in tropical countries. Pepper, all-spice cloves, nutmeg, mace, cinnamon, ginger, saffron, and turmeric are spices.
Herbs are soft, succulent plants which usually grow in temperate zone. Some easily and readily fresh herbs are sage, parsley, thyme, basil, coriander, chervil, tarragon, rosemary, and dill. Since herbs are at there best when they are young and freshly picked, it is well worth growing your own.
Shelf life and storage of herbs:
Herbs do not "go bad", they lose potency. Heat, light, and moisture damage the dried botanical. Proper storage for medicinal and culinary herbs requires glass containers, well-sealed, away from moisture, heat and light. Do not store herbs or spices in plastic, vinyl bags, aluminum or tin containers. Avoid keeping herbs near the stove, in the refrigerator for most, near the dishwasher or in the bathroom. (yes I said the Bathroom!)
**Refrigerate paprika, chili powder and red pepper for best color retention, especially in summer or hotter climates**
With proper storage, you can expect the following shelf-life:
- whole, dried - 2 years
- cut, dried - 1 year
- powdered - 6 months
Dried herbs are stronger in flavor than fresh leaf herbs. When adding dried leaf herbs to a recipe that calls for fresh ones, substitute 1/3 the amount called for in the recipe.
When using dried herbs, be sure to crush them in the palm of your hand or between your fingers. You can use a mortar and pestle to crush your herbs and spices. You can even use a rolling pin with spices in between two cloths or even by using the back end of a spoon in a cup.When adding whole spices to a recipe that calls for ground spices, use 1 ½ times as much as the recipes calls for. When doubling recipes, do not double the herbs and spices. Increase them by 1 ½ times and then taste, adding more if necessary. Tie herbs and spices in a cheesecloth, nylon net or muslin bag, or place them in a tea ring. The bag or ring is easy to remove to stop the seasoning process. Particles that may cause difficulty in chewing or swallowing also can be removed.
Be sure to use a clean dry spoon for measuring. 1 teaspoon of dry herbs = 3 teaspoons of fresh herbsTry growing a few of your favorite herbs. Learn the many ways to use that one herb.
The more you cook with herbs and spices, the more you will get to know the great variety of fresh herbs and the wonderful spices and spice blends available to all cooks today.
Just a Few thoughts of my own
Now if you use a certain spice or herb on a daily basis you may want to keep track of how much you use in a month and then store the right amount for your family for the year !
If you only use a herb or spice one time a year then buy only the small bottles that are available, no need to waste money and product!
Keep an extra bottle of extract or any herb on the pantry shelf at all times, helps when you are making your favorite recipe and you don’t have enough Vanilla Extract in the bottle for the cookie recipe. Go to the pantry and not he store!
Date your bottles, boxes, containers when you open the item so you know how long it has been opened. OR you can just make up a master list and post it inside your cupboard in the kitchen.
This information came form all over the net years ago, and many for university extensions, spice and herb companies and such. Credit goes to all of them! Of course then there are my thoughts.