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The Importance of Fresh Ingredients
Old Spice - Not in Food
Have you ever pulled out some rosemary or oregano and said to yourself, how old is this stuff? If you can't remember the last time you changed your spices, it's time to toss them. Remember we are cooking for our families and friends, people we love. Using old spice might be okay for aftershave, but not in your food!
Just like anything in life, we must do the preparatory work and take care in choosing and keeping our kitchen equipment and utensils in tip top shape. The same is true to insure that all the ingredients we use are fresh and high in quality.
I like to go through my spice cabinet twice a year to clear out all the old spices and replace them with new spices. This does make a difference in the taste of the food and I believe it is healthier. Many spices have medicinal attributes that can disappear with age. For instance, oregano is naturally anti-bacterial and cinnamon lowers blood pressure.
If you use organic, it is especially important to change the spices often to avoid seeing little crawly things.
Following is a list of some of the basic spices and other ingredients I replace at least every six months. The task is on my calendar for May 1st and November 1st. If you are setting up a new kitchen, or have just taken a new interest in cooking, this may help get you organized.
- Salt (Coarse sea salt ground as needed)
- Pepper (Whole peppercorns ground as needed)
- Garlic Powder
- Celery Salt
- Ground Cinnamon
- Ground Nutmeg
- Ground Cloves
- Ground Ginger
- Cocoa Powder
- Baking Soda
- Baking Powder
- Vanilla Extract
- Lemon Extract
- Anise Oil