9 Things Every Home Cook Should Know About Spices

When it comes to cooking, there are a number of ways to add flavor to a dish, but few are as healthy or delicious as using herbs and spices. With very few calories, a multitude of health benefits, and lots of flavor in every pinch, herbs and spices can completely transform a dish. Roasted potatoes, for example, are great, but bake them with a sprinkle of fresh, chopped rosemary and they're elevated to something elegant and delicious. Herbs and spices, whether fresh or dried, are an essential part of good cooking, but what do you do if you're not sure which to use or how to store them?

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One of the keys to cooking with spices is being familiar with your options. It's difficult to determine which to use, in what quantity, or whether or not they're past their flavor prime unless you know what they're supposed to taste like. If you're unfamiliar with a particular spice, take a tiny pinch and place it in the palm of your hand. Then, rub the spice with your thumb to help release its aroma. After you have a good idea of what the spice smells like, put a small amount on your tongue and slowly taste the spice. Smelling and tasting your spices can help you make better decisions about how much of a particular spice to use and how to effectively pair different flavors.

Once you learn which spices you like and how you like to use them, it's important to make sure to store your spices properly and use them in a timely manner for maximum flavor. When it comes to the do's and don'ts of spices, Spiceologist, an innovative spice company offering fresh, all-natural spice blends and rubs, has a few expert tips to share.

Don’t Forget to Use Spices

Don't bury your spices in your kitchen cabinet. Keep spices at-hand, organized, and ready to use. Be careful not to fall victim to "out of sight, out of mind".

Don’t Over-Buy@KColladoCook

Don't buy your spices in astronomical amounts. Most spices maintain their flavor and aroma for about two years — think twice before you buy that 32-ounce container of cinnamon.

Kristie Collado is The Daily Meal's Cook Editor. Follow her on Twitter .

Spiceologist is an innovative spice company founded by spice guru and chef Pete Taylor and food blogger Heather Scholten. Their spice blends and rubs are 100% natural, gluten-free, dairy-free, and soy-free. For more about Spiceologist, visit their website.