There are tips and tricks that professional chefs know that regular home cooks can’t replicate. Most of us do not have a state-of-the-art kitchen, and we can’t always go shopping for the freshest ingredients at various locations. One thing that we can do that will elevate a home-cooked meal is to use freshly ground spices. If you have never used freshly ground spices, your taste buds are missing out! As soon as spices are ground up for packaging in your grocery store, they start to lose their flavor. This is because once they are ground, they release their essential oils. Combine that with a long shelf life and being under the lights at the grocery store, and they lose their potency. You don’t need to go through the frustration of hand-grinding your spices with a mortar and pestle. A good quality spice grinder will do the trick, even if all you need is enough to spice up a meal for one. You can enjoy the delightful flavor of freshly-ground spices and you will probably never want to buy pre-ground again. Here are five of the best spices for a rich flavor profile to keep on hand in your kitchen.
Cloves have been used as a culinary herb for over 2,000 years. Freshly ground cloves have a pungent yet sweet flavor that is slightly bitter and astringent. Clove also has a warmth to it; to some, it tastes hotter. It is quite strong and is usually paired with other spices in order to balance its strong flavor. Most commonly found in pumpkin pie and other baked goods of the holiday season, it also lends its unique flavor to mulled wines and chai tea. For more savory dishes, it pairs quite well with meats and rice. It can easily overpower a dish, so use it sparingly.
Fennel seed has a sweet licorice flavor similar to anise. It is a staple of many Mediterranean dishes. It is usually added toward the end of cooking for optimal flavor. Dishes with beets, potatoes, stews, and meats are complemented by this flavorful spice. Fennel seed pairs well with cinnamon, making it an excellent addition to cookies and sweetbreads that use cinnamon. It is also common to find ground fennel seed in chai teas. Making your own chai tea using a spice grinder and freshly ground spices is a treat your taste buds won’t soon forget.
This spice is popular in Indian cuisine. It has a smoky flavor due to the way it’s dried, as well as a bit of a menthol flavor to balance the smokiness. It does well in savory dishes; due to its smokiness, it isn’t usually found in sweets and baked goods. It also has a warmth similar to cloves, pepper, and chilies. This whole spice comes in seed pods. In cooking, the whole seed pod is usually put in dishes that take a while to cook. When grinding, you will need to remove the seeds from the seed pods. The extra effort it takes to grind this spice fresh is well worth it.
Nutmeg is probably one of the most comforting spices. It brings to mind memories of fall evenings, crisp winter nights, and of course the holiday season. It has a nutty and slightly sweet flavor, as well as a warmth similar to clove and cinnamon. When ground fresh, it has a much stronger flavor than what you may have experienced pre-ground from the grocery store. This spice is excellent in cakes, pies, and as a delicious finishing touch on top of eggnog.
This is one of the most popular spices in the world. Most of us have the pre-ground stuff in our cupboard. Even those of us who don’t know a thing about spices or cooking probably have pepper somewhere in our kitchen. It’s the finishing touch for eggs, meats, soups, and everything in between. Using a spice grinder and grinding your pepper is so easy and so worth it. Before you even taste it, you will smell the difference of fresh ground pepper. It has a complex flavor profile of pine, citrus, and a bit of heat. It adds a bite to a dish without overpowering it with heat like chile peppers do. Combining fresh ground pepper with other herbs and spices brings out the flavor profile of each. Once you try grinding your own pepper using a spice grinder, you will throw away that pre-ground stuff.
You may not be able to replicate what famous chefs cook; however, using freshly ground spices will level up your cooking. It doesn’t have to be a headache or cause a mess to clean up. Using the FinaMill spice grinder will help your dishes sing, even if it’s something as simple as freshly ground pepper in your morning eggs. Tasting and smelling the hint of pine and citrus that you would never get from the pre-ground options will start your day off right. The best part is that our spice grinder is battery-operated and can be used with one hand. Use the interchangeable pods to grind all the spices you need for your dishes without having to stop to clean the FinaMill grinder when switching out spices. It’s so simple, and you will taste the difference in each dish you make. Check out what the FinaMill grinder can do here.