Spices and herbs are a great flavor enhancer for your food, and while they pack tons of taste, they contain virtually no calories! But these are no nutritional lightweights; herbs and spices also have extremely valuable medicinal properties and can be an important component of your overall health and nutrition plan. For example, cinnamon helps reduce blood sugar, and LDL (the bad kind) cholesterol levels. Cayenne pepper improves circulation and boots metabolism. Turmeric acts as an anti-inflammatory and is especially helpful for people who have arthritic conditions.
The only caveat here is that spices and herbs do not have a endless shelf life, and their potency and flavor will deteriorate over time. How many years have you had that giant container of ground cinnamon in your cabinet? 6? A good rule of thumb is to toss anything that no longer has an aroma (or it’s proper aroma, perhaps I should say). Whole spices will keep for about 2-4 years, ground for 2-3 years, and dried herbs for 1-3.
I hate throwing money away in the form of spoiled or old food, so I buy my spices from the bulk bin. This way I can get exactly as much as I want, I don’t end up throwing a half full spice container out a few years later, and I don’t have to feel the pain of the upfront cost of an entire 4 ounces of cardamom. However, I had been storing my spices in little plastic bags secured with twist ties that I jammed into a plastic storage container. After using a spice there was always some mess to clean up, and I never really knew what I had on hand.
No more! I don’t know why I procrastinated for so long, but I finally crafted my own spice rack out of stainless steel containers and some magnetic tape! It is super convenient to have everything in plain sight on my refrigerator, and I don’t have to deal with tiny plastic bag spillage anymore! Yay!
What other methods bedsides herbs and spices do you use to add flavor to your food without adding tons of extra fat, sugar, or salt?