If correctly stored - as airtight as possible in a cool, dry cupboard away from direct sunlight - ground spices and dried herbs wil perserve their flavours, but do use them within 8 months. Here are some more tips:
- Dry excess herbs in a microwave. Place a layer of leaves on paper towels in the microwave then place another paper towel on top and microwave on high for 1 or 2 minutes, depending on the wattage of your microwave. Strip the leaves off the stems and place them in a clean jar with a tight-fitting lid.
- Or freeze them in ice-cube trays with some water. To use, add a whole block to ingredients.
- As soon as you've bought fresh herbs, rinse them well, drain them on a clean tea towel and keep them chilled, in a tea towel, on the vegetable shelf in the fridge.
- Ready-made or home-made curry powders can be stored together in an airtight container in a cool, dry place for three to four months.
If a recipe calls for an ingredient that you've never
heard of or simply cannot find,