Last updated: 16/10/2022

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Nowadays, it is impossible to imagine a kitchen without spices. Spices have been with us since the Neolithic Age. But spices were not always easily accessible. Did you know that spices were once considered status symbols and were even worth more than gold? Spices were even accepted as a means of payment back then.

Today, most spices are freely available to everyone. However, they not only enrich our food with their aroma and smell, but also offer the possibility to make your kitchen more aesthetically pleasing. In the following article, we compare different spices with each other and show you what you should pay special attention to when deciding what to buy.




Summary

  • Spices are suitable for everyone. It doesn’t matter if you cook a lot or not at all. All dishes can be refined and enhanced with spices.
  • The range and variety of spices could not be greater. They differ in shape, design, packaging and quality.
  • Shelf life and storage are important factors for the longevity of your spices. It is important that you store spices in a dry, cool place away from light.

The Best Spices: Our Picks

There is a suitable spice for everyone. You just have to find them. To make this step easier for you, we present our favourites in the following section. You can then easily order the spices online.

Buying and evaluation criteria for spices

It’s not easy to keep track of everything in the world of spices. In order to refine your dishes in the best possible way, you should consider the following criteria when choosing your spices.

In the following, we will briefly and concisely explain what you should look out for in the purchasing criteria. Even if it is not immediately obvious, you can still make mistakes when choosing spices.

Quantity

This criterion depends on your cooking habits. It depends on how often you cook and how varied you use your spices. Spices come in a wide variety of quantities. From 10 g to 500 g, there is usually everything.

While you can use larger quantities for everyday spices such as salt and pepper, it is advisable to buy smaller quantities for more specialised spices. You can find out more about why it is not always advisable to buy in stock in the section on shelf life.

Shelf life

Spices generally have a very long shelf life. However, spices are natural products that should not be stored forever. With increasing time, they lose much of their aroma and thus also their function.

There are differences between ground and whole spices. While ground spices in powder form lose their aroma much more quickly, spices in their whole form last longer. For this reason, you should consider buying whole spices more often and grinding them with a spice grinder just before cooking to get a particularly strong aroma.

Organic quality

One problem with spices is the use of pesticides, as these can pose a risk to your health. It is therefore advisable to inform yourself carefully before buying spices.

To be on the safe side, organic products are recommended. Moreover, organic spices do not contain flavour enhancers. They therefore guarantee an unadulterated taste. Nevertheless, it all depends on your personal preferences.

Design

Due to the numerous differences in design, it is often not easy to make the right choice. This makes it all the more sensible to think about the right design in advance.

Here, it is particularly important where you want to store your spices. Do you prefer simple and plain storage in a cupboard or do you prefer to place your spices openly and visibly, for example in a spice carousel? It can be helpful to choose a design that matches the interior design of your kitchen.

Packaging

You can also choose from a variety of packaging options. For example, there are containers made of glass, paper and plastic. When making the right choice, you should pay particular attention to functionality.

It is important that the containers are leak-proof and easy to use. Glass and plastic protect your spices from moisture, so you can enjoy them for a long time. It is also advisable to choose packaging that has several different openings. This makes it easier to adjust the portioning and avoid mishaps. Glass containers can often be reused, as can spice jars.

Guide: Frequently asked questions about spices answered in detail

In this section we answer the most important questions about spices so that you are well informed for your next spice purchase.

Who are spices suitable for?

Spices are basically suitable for anyone who cooks. You don’t have to be a 5-star chef, because even pasta with tomato sauce can be enhanced with the right spices.

Spices are very helpful in adding the finishing touches to your dishes. They enhance both appearance and taste. (Image source: Joice Kelly / Unsplash)

Spices also enrich those of us who don’t like to cook. Ready-made meals and cold dishes can be spiced up perfectly with the use of spices.

What types of spices are there?

If you have a choice, you are spoilt for choice. There are countless types, all of which can be combined in different ways. Spices differ in shape, taste, pungency, range of application and much more.

Which spices are ultimately suitable for you depends on your preferences in everyday life. Is cooking not your passion and you prefer to spend your time elsewhere? Then you are well advised to use the spice basics. These include salt, pepper, paprika, oregano and cinnamon. For the amateur chef, on the other hand, all kinds of spices are suitable, depending on your preferences. From avocado topping to lemon pepper, everything is possible.

What is the best way to store spices?

The biggest mistakes in storage are humidity, light and heat. Moisture damages the consistency and shelf life of spices. Light destroys the colour pigments and heat reduces the aroma and thus the taste.

To enjoy your spices for as long as possible, you should store them in a dark, cool and dry place. Airtight, resealable containers and opaque packaging are ideal.

Conclusion

To prevent your dishes from tasting boring, it is a good idea to stop using spices. Spices not only enhance the quality of your food, but can also contribute to its aesthetics. How much you value the individual purchase criteria, especially the design, depends on your preferences, of course.

Due to the wide range of products, there is something for everyone – for spice beginners as well as for gourmets. All in all, no kitchen should be without spices. With our guide, you will be well prepared for your next spice shopping trip.

(Cover photo: Pratiksha Mohanty / Unsplash)

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