How to Make Homemade Seasoning with Whole Spices

Great as a gift or to use in your own kitchen, making homemade seasoning with whole spices is a great way to add more variety to a wide range of dishes. If you enjoy using spices in sweet and savoury food, you may have your favourites that you use on a regular basis.

Many home chefs like to experiment with flavours by adding a hint of that and a pinch of this, resulting in aromatic combinations that taste as good as they smell. Making a batch of custom seasoning using your preferred combinations will allow you to save time and effort, while still getting the full benefit of rich flavours.

What seasonings can be made with whole spices, and how do you make these delicious blends?

How to Make Homemade Seasoning with Whole Spices

Making Flavoured Oils, Rubs & Seasonings with Whole Spices

There are many different ways to use freshly ground spice as seasoning. Flavoured oils, rubs and salts are the easier to make and the most versatile in the kitchen however, so those are the ones we will focus on today. Check out the instructions below to find out how to make each of these seasonings with the help of a good spice grinder, quality spices and some fresh herbs. For best results, we recommend buying your spices whole rather than already ground – this will provide far more flavour.

  • Flavoured Oils. Olive oil is always a good choice (and a healthy choice, too), but you could try some other oils such as avocado oil, apricot kernel oil and even grapeseed cooking oil. Avocado oil has a nutty flavour that is great for salads and fine for cooking, while the latter two can be used for cooking or salad. Grind your spices, chop up your preferred herbs, garlic, lemon or whatever else you wish to add, then funnel into a glass bottle or a jar and cover with your chosen oil. It is best to leave the bottle or jar in a dark, cool place – the longer you let the spices and herbs sit in the oil, the more flavour will be infused. Be sure to write down which combination you have used in each bottle so that you remember it in a few weeks! These oils are good for roasting, cooking, salads and pasta, and make a perfect gift, too.
  •  Flavoured Rubs. Rubs are used on meat, chicken and fish, or even vegetables, to provide a coating of flavour that is rubbed in before roasting or putting on the braai. Typically, a rub may include salt (which helps to tenderise meat), as well as a range of herbs and spices. You can make these to taste by using your favourite freshly ground spices, herbs such as rosemary and basil, course black pepper, chopped garlic and good salt such as sea salt flakes or pink Himalayan salt. To ensure that your spices stay fresh and flavoursome, rubs should be made in smaller batches and stored in airtight jars or containers.
  •  Flavoured Salts & Sugars. Similar to rubs but used to sprinkle over food rather than rub into food, flavoured salts and sugars are easy, tasty and versatile. For savoury food, prepare your spices so that they are in small, easy to grind pieces rather than already ground. Chop dried herbs into small pieces too, and then mix with coarse salt and pour into a grinder. This will allow you to grind everything together over food, to release more flavour. Some good combinations include ginger salt, rosemary salt, garlic flake peri-peri salt and Italian herb salt with basil, oregano and sage. For flavoured sugars, freshly ground cinnamon, all-spice, ginger, mixed spice and nutmeg are always a good bet. Make a set of sweet spice mixes to give to friends or family in grinders or pretty jars, or mix things up with your favourite blends to add more taste and aromatic delight to your baking efforts. These sugars are also great in tea and hot beverages, or sprinkled over cookies, ice-cream and other desserts.

One of the best things about making your own seasoning is that you can be sure exactly what ingredients are included. All too often, store-made seasonings are loaded with preservatives, additives and other nasty chemicals that make them far from healthy. Homemade seasonings on the other hand contain only the good stuff – whole spices and herbs that are safe, healthy and always tasty.

Top Tips for Buying Storing and Using Whole Spices

There is much that can be said about the complexity, flavour, wholesomeness and aroma given to meals when whole spices are used. From spicy Indian cuisine to Mexican, Italian, Thai and many other types of food styles, herbs and spices have been used to prepare tasty food since the dawn of time.

Spices and herbs also offer a number of health benefits that give them even more value in cooking. And, for those trying to live a healthier life, adding some freshly ground spices is a simple (and delicious) way to reduce the need for added salt and sugar.

Buying Whole Spices

The secret to getting the most from the spices you use in food however lies firmly in how spices are sourced, as well as how they are stored and used.

How to Buy Whole Spices

Buying pre-ground spice from the supermarket may seem like the easiest way to get your dose of spicy goodness. But sadly, there are no guarantees of freshness or quality when it comes to mass produced spices that often sit on the shelves for long periods. Even whole spices may not be fresh.

With that in mind, some of the things to keep in mind to ensure that you buy the best possible spices (without breaking the bank) include the following:

  • Take the time to visit local spice shops, markets and other outlets that specialise in spice. Shops that focus on sourcing quality spices from around the world have a far better understanding of variety, shelf-life and usage. You will often have a much greater variety to choose from, with ground and whole options on offer in various quantities. It’s often cheaper to buy your spice this way, too.
  • Buy smaller amounts rather than bulk. As spice can easily go stale (even when whole!), buying more than you need is a waste of money and spice. Rather choose smaller amounts and get more when those are running low. This way, you can experiment more easily without wasting or ending up with stale product that ruins your food.
  • Grow your own herbs whenever possible. Or, source your herbs from anyone you know who grows their own. Herbs are easy to grow, even in a small kitchen. Once your plant has a decent yield, you can cut and hand bundles of herbs upside down and dry them, filling jars with the dried leaves and grinding small portions as needed.

Storing and Using Your Whole Spices

Once you have a good selection, you will want to make sure that you store and use your spice properly. Inside each individual plant, seed or leaf are volatile oils that start to vanish as the spice molecules break down. When this happens, they lose their flavour and complexity, becoming less aromatic and tasty. This happens to whole and ground spice at some stage – even if whole spices have a longer shelf life.

Light, heat and air can all hasten the evaporation of these precious oils. This means that you should never keep spice near your stove. Transparent containers should be kept in a drawer or somewhere away from the light. Do not be tempted to keep them in the fridge either, as they do not need to be kept cold – the light from the fridge could also ruin them.

A good way to store them is in tins that are labelled and then kept somewhere that is within easy reach and sight. Forgetting about spices that are not often used is a sure-fire way to end up with stale spice, so having easy access to your selection will ensure that they are not forgotten about. You may even consider labelling your containers with the date of purchase to ensure that they do not go past their ‘best by’ date.

Last but not least, one of the best things that you can do is invest in some type of spice grinder. These tools help to release all the goodness and flavour easily, allowing you to enjoy your carefully chosen spices to the max. With a little thought and effort, you can get the most from your whole spices and ramp up your cooking in the process, too.

Add Some Festive Flavour with These Whole Spice Christmas Ideas

Adding whole spice to your meals is not only healthy – it’s tasty, too. And what better way to spice things up than the festive season?

Many people have the assumption that spicy means hot. While it’s true that freshly ground chili and other hot spices make up quite a large portion of spicy food, there are many other ways that spices can be used to add flavour, depth and aroma to sweet and savoury foods. With the holidays around the corner, we share some easy ways to add more flavour to your Christmas meals with the help of whole spice.

Tasty Holiday Cooking with Whole Spice

Here in South Africa, we are blessed with a warm climate that is perfect for outdoor dining, braais, picnics and other fun dining options. Whether you are planning your festive dinner or lunch, or simply wanting to enjoy some holiday cooking that gets you into the spirit of things, here are some ways to add more spice to your life…

  • Spiced Eggnog. Who says the northern hemisphere countries have to keep their delicious warm beverages to themselves? Even in sunny SA, warm, comforting eggnog will always go down like a treat. Adding sweet spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, all spice, clove and ginger will bring out the subtle blend of milk and custard, resulting in a perfect alternative to cocoa or coffee.
  •  Spiced Chocolate Cake. The lovely Nigella Lawson offers her fans a recipe for Spiced Chocolate Cake – a dessert that is almost guaranteed to have everyone going back for seconds. You don’t have to save it for parties either… this cake is every bit as good for tea time or any other time.
  •  Spicy Cookies. Gingerbread, Swedish spice biscuits and other spicy cookies are festive and delicious. Dig out that old recipe book, or ask your gran or mom for her favourite recipe, then whip up a batch of freshly baked cookies that you can keep all to yourself or even give as gifts. As whole spices are ground fresh, a lot more flavour is released compared to pre-ground spices, making your cookies even more scrumptious than ever.
  •  Spicy Roast Duck. Jamie Oliver has a mouth-watering recipe for Roast Duck with Spicy Rub and Masala Gravy, which is sure to be a hit on any lunch or dinner menu. Served with Asian noodles and a crisp stir fry, this is a modern take on traditional roasts that is full of wholesome flavours thanks to the curry blend.
  •  Spiced Salads and Veggies. There are many ways that you can introduce some flavour to your veggies or salads as well. A basic green salad can be given a spicy Thai dressing for example, or vegetables can be placed on skewers, marinated in a ginger and soy sauce and put onto the braai as kebabs. Even old favourites such as potato salad can be given a new twist with mustard seeds ground into the mayo and a dash of ground paprika.

You don’t have to add spice to every dish that you prepare of course – unless you love spice as much as we do. But even one dish that has been ramped up in taste is sure to add just the right touch of flavour to your festive meals. With your favourite whole spice and a trusty grinder from Global Grinders, you can be sure that you eat, drink and be merry during the holiday season.

Global Grinders – FSSC 22000 certified company

We have just taken our commitment to food packaging safety to the next level. We are now a FSSC 22000 certified company.

This ISO based Food Safety Management System provides a framework to effectively manage food safety responsibilities. The standard is fully recognised and accepted by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI), and the European co-operation for Accreditation (EA). The scheme is also supported by FoodDrinkEurope (European Organization for Food and Drink manufacturers) and GMA (The Grocery manufacturers Association in the USA).

This accreditation proves that our company has a robust Food Safety Management System in place that will meet all of our customers’ food safety requirements relating to food packaging and will guarantee peace of mind for retailers and consumers.

Click here to visit the Global Grinders website.

5 Reasons to Buy Whole Spices

Spices add dimension to many dishes, but when whole spices are ground just before being added to dishes, even more flavour is released. Much like there is a big difference between fine, pre-ground black pepper and pepper that is freshly ground directly onto food, many spices can be used in your grinder or in a pestle and mortar.

whole spices

Some of the spices that are best used in their whole form include the following:

  • Cinnamon sticks
  • Cloves
  • Green cardamom pods
  • Nutmeg
  • Star anise
  • Cumin seeds
  • Coriander seeds
  • Black peppercorns
  • Vanilla beans

Why Use Whole Spices When Cooking?

Looking to enhance the flavours and aromas of your deliciously spiced dishes? Buying spices in their whole form ensures that their health benefits remain intact, allowing you the full benefit of improved digestion, boosted metabolism and plenty of other advantages too. Here are some more reasons to buy your spices whole instead of ground…

  1. Spice up your rice. Make aromatic rice by adding whole cardamom, whole cloves and whole cinnamon while the rice is still cooking on the stove. Serve with your favourite curry, roast chicken, veggies or even fresh avocado to add extra flavour to any dish.
  2. Keep spices fresher, for longer. Using fresh spices and grinding yourself as and when needed helps to keep spices fresher for much longer. On average, spices that are whole last about two months longer than pre-ground spices.
  3. Give hot beverages a kick. Spicy chai tea tastes good, and offers some surprisingly good health benefits too. Add whole cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and vanilla to a pot of Rooibos tea cooked on the stove for a delicious spicy tea.
  4. Add a greater depth of flavour. For delicate yet fragrant curries, using fresh spices allows you to create a complex range of flavours that are often oh-so subtle, while providing more depth to flavour notes at the same time. This is because the grinding process releases the spice’s natural oils that evaporate after the spice is ground.
  5. Sweeten up desserts. Using whole vanilla rather than store-brought vanilla essence adds a world of flavour, making these beans perfect for a variety of sweet dishes. Split down the middle, scoop out the fine black vanilla seeds, and use in home-made custard, baked goods, ice cream and puddings.

In case you were wondering whether your finely ground spices were redundant; don’t worry – finely ground spice is good for smooth sauces, curries and other uses, and can be used alongside the suggested list of whole spices above to ensure that you get the benefit of convenience and flavour.

What Are the Best Whole Spices for Your Grinder?

While you may have thought that buying ready-ground spices will give you the same result as buying whole spices and herbs and grinding them yourself, there are many health benefits (not to mention flavour advantages) that are lost when you do not buy whole.

best whole spices

Herbs and spices are a great way to add flavour to a variety of dishes, and in almost every culture across the world, these ingredients have been used since the dawn of time. In addition to adding a whole new taste dimension to dishes, they also offer a number of unique health benefits that help reduce illness, strengthen immune system, clear skin and even reduce inflammation.

What herbs and whole spices should be grinding in your kitchen, and what are some of the amazing health benefits that they have to offer?

Healthiest Whole Spices and Herbs

Be sure to add these herb and spices to your shopping list, to get the full benefit of their flavour and health power…

1.     Oregano

A herb in the greater family of origanum, this herb is a popular pizza garnish that packs a powerful antioxidant punch. So much in fact, that it is said to have the same level of antioxidant as three cups of broccoli! It is also extremely versatile, working well when used with pasta, salads, pizzas and even sandwiches. To get the full benefit, look for whole dried leaves that you can grind yourself, or use your grinder on store versions for a more intense flavour.

2.     Rosemary

Rosemary is said to contain compounds that help to reduce inflammation, which is a risk factor for a number of health concerns. This herb is being studied to determine how effective it is to enhance heart health. A favourite in chicken and roast vegetable dishes, you can also use this herb in tomato based sauces, other roasts, in marinades and in baked bread. You can use ground rosemary in cakes and sweeter dishes too if you want to try something different and delicious.

3.     Turmeric

With its bright yellow colour, turmeric is an often-overlooked spice that has a whole lot of goodness. It is often found in curry powder and used in curry dishes, and is believed to be good for heart health as well as the prevention of cognitive decline in the aging. Look for whole turmeric in its natural form, which can be ground into food. Use it in your favourite curries, or add to stews, vegetable dishes, meats, egg salad, potato salad and even in homemade dips and salad dressings.

4.     Red Pepper Spices

There are a number of super spices found from dried red peppers – all of them excellent for your health and high in flavour. Cayenne pepper, paprika and crushed pepper are the most commonly found red pepper spices, each of which have their own unique taste and level of spiciness. Red pepper is known for its weight-loss benefits, helping to boost metabolism and reduce hunger pangs. These spices are also high in antioxidants too. Use these whole, and grind into your favourite dips, sauces, pasta, salads, seafood, marinades, chicken or even roasted chickpeas for a delicious snack.

5.     Black Pepper

The wonders of whole black pepper corns have long been celebrated, with many cultures embracing this spice for hundreds of years. It has been used to treat everything from digestion issues to colds, pain and even heart conditions. Today, science has proved the old healers right, after finding a number of essential compounds such as pipines that are excellent for health. Grind it fresh just before eating, and use on any and all of your favourite foods. You could even try it with fresh strawberries and whipped cream for an out-of-this-world dessert.

What are your favourite spices to grind, and how do you like to use freshly ground spice in your meals?

Supplier of the Year – Global Grinders

Jeff Gross announced at the Sales & Management Meeting that the 2013 Supplier of the Year Award will be given to Global Grinders. Global has been a vendor of Kaufman Container for over a decade and has done an exceptional job in providing quality products and services to a variety of customers. Located in South Africa, Global Grinders supplies a variety of spice Kaufmanclosures, grinders, as well as spice bottles to a global customer base. Many of their products are unique and patented. Global was key in providing Kaufman Container grinder closures for Kroger, Gourmet Nut, and recently a line of custom dispensing closures for JR Watkins company in Winona, Minnesota.

Lorraine Vos of Global Grinders made the following statement upon receipt of the Supplier of the Year Award:

The management and staff of Global Grinders are extremely proud to have been awarded the honor of being Kaufman Container’s Supplier of the Year for 2013. It is inspiring for us, a small company based right down on the southern tip of Africa, to be recognized for our ability to product excellent quality products. However, more so, that our efforts to offer good and efficient service are appreciated.

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Our company started in 1997 with 5 employees, a tiny factory with a single product (a grinder designed and manufactured by ourselves) which was then only supplied to the local market. We slowly started expanding and one of the first ventures into export was actually to the USA.

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Since then, our product range is now extensive and our market spreads to everycontinent. We supply many general trade items but also many custom designed and branded grinders. Most of our products are patented. Kaufman Container has been instrumental in helping us to “spread our wings” even further into the USA market for which we are grateful. We strive to stand for our motto – a perfect grind every time.

Congratulations Global Grinders!

Another year draws to a close!

When we were children, once Christmas was over, it seemed like we had to wait an eternity for the next Christmas. Now it is astonishing how quickly it does come around again!

I would just like to take this opportunity to let you all know that our manufacturing division will be closed for our summer vacation from the 13th December until the 13th January and our administration offices from the 20th December also until the 13th January. We will however be available on email if you need any assistance.

Wishing everyone the best over the Festive Season, whether it will be in snow or sunshine, and a happy, healthy and prosperous 2014!!

christmas tree

New trend in consumer purchases

We have noticed that in this past year there has been a leaning towards larger packs of spices both for catering and home use. In the past the 100ml size was the favourite and now it seems that anything from 200ml to 375ml is taking up positive shelf space in chain stores and supermarkets. We have been encouraged by these trends and have brought out our own range of these food service size products.

We have a 325ml PET & a 375ml PET bottle both with heavy duty grinders. The thread is a screw snap on and non-refillable. The grinders have a built-in patented ring pull tamper evident seal.

Grinders

The Big Brother Grinder – This supersize grinder can be used on bottles with a capacity of up to 1000ml. We have even tested it on coffee beans and it is perfect for grinding cover over cappuccinos, icecream or even for flavouring cakes.

Big Brother Grinder

Grinder Range

It is whale season in Cape Town!

About 20 minutes’ drive from our factory, we have the absolute pleasure of being able to experience a wonderful spectacle. At this time of the year, several species of whale come into False Bay (situated near Cape Point) to calf in this protected bay. A road runs along the complete area so daily there are traffic jams with many, many local and overseas enthralled sightseers enjoying this annual event.

Southern Right Wahle

The most common species seen here is the Southern Right Whale( in the picture above). The term “right” refers to the fact that in the 19th century these whales were regarded as the “right” whales to catch because of their high oil content and also because they were slow swimmers. All whales are now classified as protected species in South Africa, so possibly they feel safe coming so close to our shores.

The Humpback Whale

Hump Back Whale

( this is the one that “sings”)

Hump Back Whale

These are renowned as the “acrobats” of the ocean and put on a wonderful show of breaching (jumping clear out of the water), lobtailing( slapping the water with their tails) and spyhopping(poking their heads out of the water) as if just for the entertainment of  the appreciative audiences with their cameras clicking away.

Next month we will be enchanted by the sight of the calves swimming alongside their mothers learning all the tricks of life until they are ready to head out to deeper waters.