Baharat, also known as Lebanese Seven Spice or Advieh, has become one of the many ‘go-to’ spice blends along with Ras el Hanout and Chermoula. Herbie, always up to date or ahead with spice trends, was asked to contribute this article to Australian Gourmet Traveller in 1999. Yes, 24 years ago! This is the article: Legendary spice merchant and blender, Ian (Herbie) Hemphill, has
STORING YOUR SPICES
We are often asked about the best way to store your Herbie’s spices, and how long they will last. Here are a few handy tips for making sure your spice collection is as fresh and as flavoursome as it should be:
When spices are dried, enzymes in them actually create the volatile oils that give spices their flavour. A vanilla bean is green and tasteless when fresh, cloves go dark brown and the volatile euganol is created on drying. So when we talk about ‘fresh’ spices, we don’t mean ‘just harvested’ but rather we are referring to the brightness and freshness of the dried items.
To protect these volatile oils and retain the best flavour, you need to:
- After opening a pack, squeeze out as much air as possible and zip the seal closed. These pouches are made of a high-barrier material that has a very low oxygen transference rate. This keeps the flavour in, and prevents oxygen making the volatile oils oxidise and destroy the flavours.
- Next, keep your spices protected from extremes of heat, light and humidity. And be sure you are not storing them next to a cupboard that generates heat, such as the fridge, dishwasher or stove.
- Do not store your spices in the fridge or freezer. The main problem with this is that your packs will attract condensation on exposure to the air, and that introduces moisture, which in turn accelerates the deteriorating effects of water molecules.