We’ve given you our 10 Essential Spices -- now, with the help of Lior Lev Sercaz of La Boite à Epices (check out our great deal on his spice blends in the Food52 Shop!), we've assembled some tips for storing, grinding, and handling your new spice collection:
Buy in quantities you know you will use.
According to Lior, you can buy your spices whole or ground, depending on the frequency with which you use them. Whole spices will last longer than ground.
Find the right source.
Since a little spice can go a long way, make sure to buy quality products; they’re worth the investment.
Store your spices in airtight containers.
No need to put them in the fridge or the freezer -- the pantry is just fine.
Use a coffee grinder to grind your spices.
While Lior says a mortar and pestle can be “poetic,” a simple coffee grinder is easy to use, easy to maintain, and you don’t need biceps of steel.
Be careful when toasting your spices.
Never toast ground spices; they burn more easily than whole spices. Lior recommends toasting whole spices in an oven, keeping a close eye (and nose!) on them. There’s nothing wrong with toasting spices to keep for later -- just make sure they’re stored correctly.
Photos by James Ransom