Many people believe that adding whole spices to your meal while cooking will add more flavor to the dish.
This is actually a myth that has been perpetuated throughout time. The truth is that when you cook whole spices, they lose their flavor and taste. This happens because the essential oils in the spice get damaged when they are exposed to high temperatures.
Cooking the spices can make them lose up to 75% of their flavor!
To preserve the flavor of your spices, use ground versions of them instead. Ground spices have less surface area than whole ones, so they don’t get damaged as easily by heat.
The best way to ensure that your spices retain their original taste is to add them after you’ve cooked your food (for example, just before serving).
If you’re unsure about how much ground spice to add, go for half of what you would normally use when adding whole ones.
The only exception to this rule are bay leaves – since they’re not eaten directly, it’s totally fine to add them while cooking!
Since you can’t go into a restaurant kitchen and see if they are actually “cooking” their spices, the best way to preserve the spice is to use it in its dry form.
If a recipe calls for cooking a spice in oil at the beginning of the dish, don’t insert your spice. Instead, add it at the end of cooking time or even when serving.
This allows for maximum potency in your spice and does not damage flavor compounds. The steam from cooking or boiling also causes spices to lose its flavor so do not add them when cooking soups or stews.
The best way to enjoy your spices is to keep them out of heat as much as possible and allow their natural oils to come through.
The biggest mistake people make when cooking with spices is that they heat them up. I don’t mean the common practice of frying whole spices in hot oil and then throwing away the oil, which comes from Indian cuisine. No, I refer to powdering your spices and adding them to a dish at any point during the cooking process.
This was pretty much my own practice until two years ago, when I started learning about how spices work and how to cook with them. I had always assumed that if you didn’t add spices before heating them up, they would somehow lose their flavor in the process.
That assumption turned out to be true. But not because heat destroys flavor. It’s actually more complicated than that: Heating up your spices may change their chemistry and thus destroy some of their active compounds, but those compounds aren’t necessarily what gives your food its flavor. In fact, most of what you perceive as flavor in food is created by volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that are only formed when you heat your food or drink. Let me explain:
The main problem to worry about is that spices, especially dried ones, are porous. This means they can absorb some of the moisture within the food it’s being cooked with. Think of it as a sponge that can only hold so much water. The same thing happens with spices.
The second concern is that some spices contain compounds that react differently at varying temperatures. This is especially true when you’re cooking with high heats.
When you heat up a spice, the chemical compounds in them will evaporate into the air as steam. This has two negative effects. The first one is that you’re losing flavor from your dish if you don’t add more of it to compensate for what was lost during the cooking process. The second one is that the flavor of your spice will change once it starts to heat up and release its aroma into the air around it.
This isn’t to say you can’t cook with spices at all, just try to do so at a lower temperature or for less time than usual so they don’t lose their flavor before being eaten!
In cooking, the goal is to cook delicious food with flavors that you and your family will enjoy. Using fresh ingredients and spices are key in creating a delicious meal. However, when cooking with spices, there are some things you need to know before adding them to your meals. This article will cover which spices you should add to your dish before or after cooking, as well as discuss why it matters.
Spices That Should Be Heated
Certain spices can become bitter when heated for a long period of time. These include coriander, cumin, fennel seed and mustard seed. These seeds have an essential oil that becomes bitter when heated too long. Adding them to your dish at the start of cooking will allow the bitterness to mellow out over time and release their flavor into the dish. If added towards the end of cooking, they will not have enough time to mellow out.
If you have used a spice that has become bitter during cooking and want to remove it from your dish, try mixing in a little sugar or salt (depending on your taste) during the last 10 minutes of cooking. This may help balance out the bitterness.
Spices contain essential oils that are highly volatile, which means they volatilize (evaporate) easily. When you expose spices to heat, the heat evaporates some of these oils, and thus the aroma of the spice is reduced. This is why it’s important to add spices at different stages in cooking.
When you sprinkle a spice on something before cooking it, the heat from cooking is unable to remove the volatile oil from the spice because there’s no air or liquid for them to dissolve in. The oil stays trapped inside the spice until you chew it up, releasing all its flavor directly into your mouth.
However, when you add a spice to something during or after cooking – especially if you are adding it to a liquid – the heat evaporates some of its essential oils, reducing its flavor.
Ever wonder why lemon pepper seasoning doesn’t taste so great? There’s a good reason; the lemon oil in lemon pepper seasoning is highly volatile.
Many people heat up oil to infuse it with spices. If that oil contains lemon oil, you’ll be left with nothing but an aroma of lemon, because the oil has evaporated at a high temperature.
So you might be asking yourself; how does this apply to my cooking? The answer is simple!
You should never add any lemon oil containing spice pre-cooking or during the cooking process, as the flavor will change and become very weak, or even worse disappear completely.
The best way to use spices is to add them towards the end of your cooking process. The flavor will be preserved and you’ll enjoy the flavors you were looking for when using that spice in the first place.
If you’re looking to get full benefits of your spices by using them in their most potent form, I recommend using whole spices whenever possible.