Select whole spices, not powder. Freshly grinding spices will add more flavor. Keep your spices in a cool, dark location to preserve flavor and freshness. Whole spices will last up to five years; ground spices only last about six months.
Select a recipe you would like to add spices to. Spices such as ginger, nutmeg or cinnamon work well in bread recipes such as banana, persimmon, pumpkin or zucchini. Spices such as coriander, cumin or ginger work well in casserole, baked potato, yam or winter squash dishes.
Select up to three spices to add to your recipe, unless you have a recipe that calls for more. Adding too many spices can overpower a dish.
Grind your spices by putting them in a mortar and rolling a pestle over them until they are crushed finely. Use a coffee grinder to grind harder spices such as cinnamon.
Use a few whole spices such as cumin, fennel or coriander in baked casserole or squash and potato dishes. Bring out their flavor by toasting whole spices on a dry skillet over medium heat until they become fragrant and slightly darker.
Sift ground spices with dry ingredients such as flour, baking powder and baking soda when you are making breads, cakes or pies. This will help prevent lumps when you add the wet ingredients.
Add any hot or whole toasted spices during the last 15 minutes of cooking to prevent too much flavor from releasing and overpowering your dish. If your recipe calls for a sauce, add the spice to the sauce before pouring it over your dish.