Magical world of spices mirrors the mysterious powers of your senses. When you discover the different aromas, colors and flavors they offer and introduce them to your kitchen, your meals will become extraordinary. Each dish will begin to turn into a work of art. Maybe your instincts will take over and you will no longer need any recipes. Thanks to the harmony of flavors you discover among spices and ingredients, you will line up exquisite dishes everyone will swoon over.
Our tongue has the ability to sense limited flavors, including sweet, bitter, sour and savory tastes. With the flavors they add to meals, spices create smells and brand new sensations that flutter over your palate. They have magical powers, such as freeing a meal from mundaneness and transforming it into festive flavors. If used skillfully, they emphasize the taste of main ingredients, revealing all the secrets of a meal.
When we say a meal is delicious, what we actually talk about is its smell. For only 20% of our sense of taste takes place on our tongue. Our tongue can only sense if a meal is sweet, bitter, sour or savory.
On the other hand, when our nose comes into play we are able to identify millions of different smells. Different notes begin to flutter on the palate. For example, the only sensation aniseed leaves on our tongue is just a sweet taste. However, when the nose kicks in we are able to detect more than 20 different aromatic components it possesses.
Spices’ contribution to meals
The essential quality spices bring to your dishes is flavor and aroma. With the help of delicious, relaxing, exotic and even outstanding flavors, the power to turn a meal into an exciting presentation is in your hands.
You can also add a completely different color to your dish with spices such as turmeric and saffron. The same effect can be created with fresh, green, aromatic herbs too.
Adding a pinch of turmeric, cumin and powdered black pepper as you marinate your chicken will not only add a pleasant color and taste to your food. It will also make its skin crispier, helping you create an inviting texture.
How to preserve spices
It is important to provide the right storage conditions in order to preserve the spices’ flavors for a long time. Instead of using plastic containers, opt for healthier glass jars with a tight lid. Moreover, it is much better to use jars made of dark-colored glass if you want to ensure that they are not exposed to light. By labeling each jar, you can find what you look for easily.
You can buy and consume some spices as whole and some both as whole and ground. For grinding whole spices, you can use a spice mill, which can be adjusted for different fineness.
If preserved under suitable conditions, fresh spices will preserve their aroma for 4 years. The shelf life of ground spices are 3 years; dried aromatic herbs’ shelf life is 2 years at best.
When using spices
Try to be careful and selective when using spices. Try to discover which spice creates a harmony with which spice. While spices can make your meal perfect, when used too much or randomly they can also render it inedible. Spices should not be too dominant in a good dish. You main goal should be to use the spices to strengthen your meal’s taste in a subtle way. Zest of nutmeg you add to beğendi (aubergine puree with milk and browned flour), a pinch of cinnamon and pimento you add to kavurma (braised lamb meat cubes browned in its own fat) or meatballs, whole cumin you sauté with onion when preparing lentil soup will be the right steps taking you to those magical flavors.
All right, let’s get down to work. It’s time to crack the mysterious world of spices open and become a wizard of tastes. Make room for more variety of spices on your spice cabinet and start new experience of flavor in your kitchen. Who knows, maybe one day you can discover a new flavor no one has ever imagined before.