Herbs and Spices
Dried Herbs | Indian Spices

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Caring for your herbs and spices doesn’t require much effort at all, but will keep dried herbs and Indian spices as fresh and flavoursome as they were on the day of purchase.  It’s important to keep them in a cool, dark place – a tin in the cupboard is ideal.  Spice racks are extremely popular but a kitchen worktop where they will be susceptible to extremes in temperate and light really isn’t the ideal place to keep them.  They may look pretty but will lose all of their flavour.  A great substitution would be bottles of oil with infusions such as chilli, rosemary or even lemon.  These not only will look great in your kitchen, but the heat and light will help the flavours to infuse into the oil, improving its taste.


Herbs and Spices


Dried spices retain their full flavour for approximately a year.  That is somewhat of a sweeping generalisation but a passable rule of thumb.  Whole spices may last a little longer – some perhaps from three to five years if kept in optimum storage conditions.  Remember, the more care you take of them the better they will behave for you.


A granite mortar and pestle is a great addition to the kitchen.  This helps you break down whole Indian spices with ease – particularly if you toast them gently in the oven beforehand.  This will bring out their full flavour, though care should be taken to ensure they don’t burn.  When using herbs and spices it’s important not to be too heavy handed.  You want the dried herb’s flavour to compliment your disk, not to mask it.  Subtlety is key.  The same goes for ground spices.  In fact, even more care should be taken here as some of these can be exceedingly pungent and fiery.   Remember, once it’s gone in, it’s impossible to take it back out.  It’s always best to add little by little until the correct balance is struck.


Dried Herbs


Dried spices and herbs should generally be added up to one hour before serving.  If you over cook your spices, the flavour may become too strong.  With herbs, it’s a good idea to crush them quite finely before adding them to your recipe so that they are distributed evenly throughout the dish. 


Remember, dry herbs have a much more compounded flavour than fresh.  As a general rule of thumb, where you are substituting fresh herbs in a recipe for dry, you should reduce the amount you add by 2/3.  It’s best to keep things simple.  In continental cookery it’s unusual for more than three or four varieties of herb to be added to any one dish.  In contrast, Indian, Thai and Chinese recipes require larger combinations, which are sometimes quite intricate and complicated.  Be sure to follow the recipe to a T and, again, always err on the side of caution.  It could be that the author’s palate is more attuned to fierier food than your own, so again add a little, bit by bit, and always taste your dish as you go along to ensure that you are happy.  The great news is that dried herbs and Indian spices are widely available online with some fantastic discounts.  We are delighted to bring you a handpicked selection of those available on eBay today.  With home delivery and searchable listings you can pick out the perfect herbs and spices for you from the comfort and convenience of your own home.