Restaurants are a difficult place to eat on a whole food diet. A night out with friends or family can be a fun pleasure. But one of the keys to maintaining this diet is learning to cook your own food at home. One of the best ways to get quality restaurant food at home is to learn to use spices. Before buying a spice rack, or jars for storing spices in bulk, it's important to learn a few ideas. Most spice racks have three types of items: dried herbs, ground spices, and whole spices. Understanding how to use these three is an important part of the kitchen.

When buying spice racks, most people see jars filled with pre-ground spices. Some of these, like turmeric or paprika, are hard to find whole. The paprika is a dry and ground pepper. That makes it difficult for most people to do their own. Before you buy ground spices, remember that the essential oils in spices lose their flavor over time. Grinding them speeds up this process. It's a good idea to avoid buying pre-ground spices, unless it's the only way to find them.

Most people regularly use a pepper mill. These are filled with whole peppercorns to give you fresh, ground pepper. For many of us, that is the only whole spice in our kitchen. Actually, most of the spices we buy must be whole. Whole spices stay fresh longer and are often cheaper. Cumin, allspice, cinnamon, and star anise are spices that are easy to find whole. To use them, simply find a cheap coffee grinder and grind your spices just before cooking. To avoid strange flavors, it is better to have a grinder entirely dedicated to spices. For extra flavor, you can toast all your spices in a dry skillet before grinding. This helps to highlight the flavor of the oils and emits a pleasant smell.

Dried herbs are the third common part of a spice rack. Oregano, parsley, basil, and even dill are common dried herbs. Like spices, they lose their flavor over time, so it's best to buy just enough for 3 months at a time. A trick to bring out the flavors of these herbs is to crush them between your fingers or your hand, just before using them. Like ground spices, this releases the oils in the herbs to make the flavor more intense.

It is important to know what to look for when storing your spice rack. Remember to buy whole spices whenever possible, use a grinder just before using the spices and pinch the dried herbs while using them. These tips will keep your herbs and spices fresher longer and help your natural foods taste better!

Author's Bio: 

Spices have delighted humans for thousands of years with their warm and spicy, spicy and spicy flavors and aromas.