You have a spice rack full of spices, but do you know how to use them to achieve the best flavors in your meals? My 10 seasonings tips show you how to properly season while cooking and get the longest shelf life from your spices!

  1. To evenly dust the top of your food with a spice, sprinkle from high above your dish. This will distribute the spice more evenly and thwart hefty doses of spice concentrated in one spot. (Failed cinnamon toast come to mind?)
  2. Most savory dishes will benefit in flavor with a pinch of sugar and most sweet dishes with a pinch of salt.
  3. Taste and season as you go. This will result in a layering of flavors instead of a dish just being salty or over-seasoned.
  4. Different types of salt have varying crystal sizes and shouldn’t be substituted 1 for 1 in a recipe. For example, 1 tablespoon of table salt contains the same amount of salt as 1¼ tablespoons of kosher salt.
  5. Many spices like cinnamon, paprika and those contained in curry powder have fat-soluble compounds that open to their best potential when dissolved in oil. The flavor of vanilla also blooms nicely when added to oil or butter in recipes for cakes and cookies.
  6. To double the shelf life, buy spices whole rather than pre-ground. Nutmeg, clove, rosemary leaves and peppercorns are easy to find whole and grind as needed.
  7. Not certain if you like the taste of a certain spice? Test by adding a little to a bite of your recipe. This will keep you from spoiling the whole batch if you don’t like it.
  8. Whole spices keep up to 4 times longer than ground spices. Use your nose to determine freshness. If the scent is faint, the flavor will be faint as well. Ground spices are best used within 1 year of purchase.
  9. Refrigerate red-colored spices such as paprika, chili power or cayenne to preserve their flavor and color. Items such as poppy and sesame seeds should be refrigerated to keep the oils in them from turning rancid.
  10. Store all spices tightly-sealed in a cool dark place away from heat vents and heat-generating appliances such as the stove, dishwasher and microwave.