Biryani, paneer butter masala or the humble yet much celebrated rasam, all need their share of masalas and spices to be made to drool-worthy perfection. With so many grocery brands offering ready-made spices and masalas, you don’t have to resent dishing out the traditional delicacies any more. Home-made masala that you take pride in or store-bought ready-to-use spices, all you need to worry is storing them well, sealed with freshness, so the biryani in your casserole tastes as awesome as your mother’s and grandmother’s. Here are some basic tips that could help keep your precious masalas as fresh as newly ground-
Use air tight food containers – If you are worried about airborne moisture spoiling your masalas, the best way to seal and protect them is by using air -tight containers and spice jars. Zip lock pouches and the regular plastic dabbas are no match to insulated, stainless-steel and air-tight kitchen storage containers when it comes to preserving the freshness, color and aroma of spices.
Keep your spices away from light – Natural light in the kitchen for many reasons is appealing, but not so much for your spices. The spices and masalas need to be kept in cool and shady places away from direct sunlight to retain the flavors and aroma. Colored and opaque stainless-steel food storage containers, for this reason, are a smart choice rather than the glass containers. Also, handling and cleaning the glass jars could be tedious because they are fragile.
Do not freeze the spices or store spices near stove – Contrary to the assumption that freezing spices keeps them fresh for long, the humidity which builds in could turn the spices stale. If you are storing them near your stove for convenience, built-in humidity due to constant exposure to heat can make your spices lose out on color and flavor over a period of time. Store your spices in places away from heat where the chances of building up moisture is a rare possibility.
Make masalas in small batches and store them in insulated, opaque and air-tight food containers, to seal in the freshness, color and flavors! Bisi bele bath, pulao, rajma, and every delicacy that is unique, all need a generous sprinkle of masala and spices stored well, and as though by subtle alchemy, the taste, flavor and aroma enhances making them absolutely perfect and like no other.
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