There is nothing worse than reaching for the chili powder only to find that it has lost its flavor. Or, you go to use your all-purpose seasoning only to be met with a bland, tasteless powder. Not only is this frustrating, but it can also ruin a perfectly good dish. Fear not, there is a solution! With a few simple steps, you can restore the flavor to your old or stale seasonings and get back to enjoying your food.
The first step is to identify the problem. Is your seasoning truly old and stale, or has it just lost some of its flavor? If it is old, then it is probably time to replace it. However, if it has just lost some of its flavor, then there are some things you can do to try and revive it.
The second step is to figure out why the seasoning has lost its flavor. This will help you determine which of the following methods will work best. The most common reason for loss of flavor is moisture. Moisture can cause seasonings to clump together and lose their potency. If this is the case, then you will want to try one of the following methods:
- Rehydrating: This method works best with dried herbs and spices such as oregano, thyme, basil, etc. To rehydrate, simply add a small amount of water (1-2 teaspoons) to the seasoning and let it sit for 10-15 minutes. Then, drain any excess water and use as desired.
- Toasting: This method works best with whole spices such as cloves, cardamom pods, cinnamon sticks, etc. Place the spices in a dry skillet over medium heat and toast for 3-5 minutes until fragrant. Remove from heat and use as desired.
- Refrigeration: This method works best with oil-based seasonings such as pastes (e.g., ginger paste), compounds (e.g., garlic compound), etc. Simply place the seasoning in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to 1 hour to allow the flavors to meld together again. Use as desired.
If moisture is not the issue, then it is likely that your seasoning has been exposed to light or heat which can cause it to lose its flavor. In this case, you will want to try one of the following methods:
- Storing in a cool, dark place: This method works best with herbs and spices that are in glass jars or bottles with tight-fitting lids (e.g., cumin seeds). Simply remove the seasoning from its current container and store in a dark cupboard or pantry until ready to use again.
- Freezing: This method works best with fresh herbs such as parsley, cilantro, chives, etc., that have begun to wilt or discolor. Simply chop the herbs and place them in an ice cube tray with a little bit of water (enough to cover the bottom of each cube). Once frozen solid, transfer the cubes to a freezer-safe bag or container and store in the freezer until ready to use again. When ready to use, thaw 1 or 2 cubes at a time as needed.
Following these simple steps will help you restore the flavor to your old or stale seasonings so that you can enjoy your food again!