We get the question often: “Should I buy whole spices vs. ground spices? At the end of the day, what’s the real difference?”
The answer is that WHOLE SPICES are always more fresh, fragrant, and flavorful. Likely the greatest thing about whole spices is that they keep their flavor for about 2x longer than the same product ground up and we all know – fresher is better. Keep spices in their whole form until you’re ready to cook, at which point use a coffee or spice grinder to open up those fresh flavors. You don’t need anything fancy or expensive – a $20 grinder will do. I have this Coffee Grinder from Amazon and it works wonders. (not an affiliate link)
Try roasting whole spices for something completely new in your cooking
The other magical part of whole spices is the ability to toast and roast. Cooking spices in a pan over medium-low heat will bring out a completely different flavor profile. Notice the attributes of seeds and peppercorns coming alive when they’re hit with heat.
For starters, turn your stove on low-medium heat and move the spice around while gradually turning up the heat. Try black peppercorns, cumin, coriander, and fennel seeds as you learn this simple process. Notice a more intense flavor, aroma, and overall cooking experience with these ingredients. Ethnic foods benefit greatly from roasting and toasting. Do yourself a favor – roast up some cumin and make the world’s best Guacamole. The possibilities are endless!
Don’t want whole spices? No problem.
You asked and we answered. It’s ok if the extra step of whole spices is too much for you in your culinary journey. Ground spices are convenient and still pack a punch in cooking great meals. Do remember that food can only be as fresh as the ingredients used. Make the most of a good thing and try a whole spice in place of ground spices today.