A spice may be available in several forms: fresh, whole dried, or pre-ground dried. Generally, spices are dried. A whole dried spice has the longest shelf life, so it can be purchased and stored in larger amounts, making it cheaper on a per-serving basis. Some spices are rarely available either fresh or whole, for example turmeric, and must be purchased in ground form. Small seeds, such as fennel and mustard seeds, are used both whole and in powder form.
The flavor of a spice is derived in part from compounds that oxidize or evaporate when exposed to air. Grinding a spice greatly increases its surface area and so increases the rates of oxidation and evaporation. Thus, flavor is maximized by storing a spice whole and grinding when needed. The shelf life of a whole spice is roughly two years; of a ground spice roughly six months. The "flavor life" of a ground spice can be much shorter. Ground spices are better stored away from light.
To grind a whole spice, the classic tool is mortar and pestle. Less labor-intensive tools are more common now: a microplane or fine grater can be used to grind small amounts; a coffee grinder is useful for larger amounts. A frequently used spice such as black pepper may merit storage in its own hand grinder or mill.
Some flavor elements in spices are soluble in water; many are soluble in oil or fat. As a general rule, the flavors from a spice take time to infuse into the food so spices are added early in preparation.
Your family and friends will be satisfy with this easy but tasty turkey rice vegetable soup. This is great for using up roasted turkey breast leftovers. This soup would be great for the day after Thanksgiving. You could also use rotisserie chicken.
Turkey Rice Vegetable Soup
Copyright 2012, Christine's Pantry. All rights reserved.
1 pound ground turkey
1 onion, sliced
1 cup uncooked rice
3 carrots, sliced
1 box frozen corn, thawed
1 box frozen green beans, thawed
1 cup fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
6 cups chicken broth
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 heaping tablespoon garlic, minced
In dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat. Add ground turkey, salt, pepper and Worcestershire sauce, cook until no longer pink. Add remaining ingredients, stir, bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Taste, adjust seasoning, if desired. Enjoy!
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