Ultimately, the choice between whole spices and ground spices comes down to a few things. Flavour, texture and strength are the biggest things that each brings to your meals. Both give you the benefit of delicious spice. Both can be used in many different dishes. But you may find that whole spices are stronger than ground or you may find that some dishes work better with ground spices. Today, we’re giving you a few tips on when to use each of these spice variations.
Wondering when to use whole spices and when to use ground spices? Here are a few things to keep in mind when cooking with spices.
Because flavour compounds are found within the whole versions of spice, whole versions typically have more flavour. This can be good for meals that need a richer flavour. You can also add whole versions of spices early in the cooking process to infuse other ingredients with the flavour of the spice. You could remove the spice before serving or at the end of cooking. Some examples of this include cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, bay leaves and whole dried chilli.
For smoother dishes such as soups or sauces, ground spices are generally better as they can be blended easily into the dish without adding too much bulk or texture. As we mentioned above, you could add whole leaves or spices and remove them near the end of cooking. Ground spices are often easier, however, giving flavour without losing the smooth texture of your dish.
Finally, strength is another factor to consider. Just because whole leaves and spices contain more flavonoids, this does not mean that ground spices cannot be strong. After all, the same compounds are still found when spices are ground - they are just not as strong as they are when the spice is whole. One way that spices lose their strength is when they are poor quality or kept on the shelf for too long. Fresh, quality spices will always give you all the strength you need to make curries and other hot dishes without losing any heat.
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