If you’ve ever experienced freshly ground spices, you’ll know that the flavor and aroma are out-of-this-world compared to pre-ground. You can easily grind your own spices at home using a coffee grinder (used for spices only) or mortar and pestle to create customized blends with maximum flavor and nutrition.

You see, spices don’t just lose their flavor and aroma over time; they also diminish in nutrition. Spices have some pretty potent healing qualities that would be a shame to miss out on.


6 tips for purchasing and storing your goods:

  1. Purchase organic if possible to avoid pesticide and herbicide residue and irradiated spices – irradiated foods are not considered organic in the US or Canada.
  2. Buy just what you need from the bulk section for fresher spices and refill your jars to save money.
  3. Store in an airtight container, away from heat, light and moisture.
  4. Replenish frequently: purchase just what you will use over the next month.
  5. Replace after 6 months or so, no longer than a year (whole spices last longer than ground).
  6. The nose knows – if they aren’t as fragrant as when you purchased them, it’s time to replace.

It’s also nice to purchase spices whole so you have them on hand when a recipe calls for whole spices. Grind them as needed for optimal freshness or, to save time, grind enough for a couple of weeks. If stored properly, the flavor should not be compromised.


Give the gift of flavor

Freshly ground spices and customized blends make wonderful gifts, plus they are super easy to make. First, stop by the bulk spice section of your supermarket or local health food store where you’ll easily find everything you need. Once you get home all you need is a small saucepan for toasting and a coffee grinder (that hasn’t been used for coffee). Toast, cool, grind, and transfer to a jar and you’re all set! Rest assured that your gift will be appreciated and put to good use – everyone likes a little spice in their life.

The sky is the limit as to what you can create. I’ve shared a few recipes below to get the creative juices flowing. There are literally hundreds of recipes online and in cookbooks – get in the kitchen and start experimenting!

What’s your favorite spice blend and how do you use it?


Garam Masala, Dukkah and Pumpkin Spice


    Garam Masala (makes 1/2 cup)
  • 1/4 cup coriander seeds
  • 2 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp black peppercorns
  • 1 tbsp ground turmeric
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tsp cloves
  • 2 tsp cardamom seeds
  • 1 tbsp fennel seeds
  • Dukkah (makes about 1-1/4 cup)
  • 1/2 cup hazelnuts
  • 1/4 cup white or brown sesame seeds
  • 1/4 cup coriander seeds
  • 2 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp dried mint
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • Pumpkin Spice (makes a scant 1/2 cup)
  • 1/4 cup ground cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp ground ginger
  • 1 tbsp ground cloves
  • 1-1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg


    For Garam Masala:
  1. Place all ingredients in a small saucepan and toast over medium-low heat until fragrant. Remove from heat and let cool completely.
  2. Grind to a fine powder using a spice grinder or mortar and pestle.
  3. For Dukkah:
  4. Toast all ingredients except for mint, salt and thyme, one at a time in a dry skillet until fragrant. Remove from heat and let cool completely.
  5. With a sharp knife, chop hazelnuts into a chunky meal. Alternately, pulse in a food processor.
  6. Coarsely grind sesame seeds in a spice grinder or using a mortar and pestle.
  7. Continue with the remaining ingredients (including mint salt and thyme), leaving them slightly chunky.
  8. Combine all ingredients. Transfer to an airtight container.
  9. For Pumpkin Spice:
  10. Combine all ingredients.
  11. Store in an airtight container.


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