How to Toast Spices and Grind Them Yourself

I’m talking spices today. Whole. Glorious. Unprocessed. Spices.

How to Toast and Ground Your Own Spices - label!

I’m sharing with you how I toasted and hand ground whole spices into dust. It’s quite an intoxicating and exhilarating experience. Toasting anything makes it better; i.e. Subway sandwiches {although I’m more of a Potbelly’s girl}, shredded coconut {better toasted!}, pecans {uh-yeah!?} and of course sandwiches! Wait… wasn’t that already on the list? Oh yeah… and spices.

You can find whole spices in your grocery store albeit it’s most likely a limited one. However if you have a spice specialty store, like Penzy’s, then you can find a whole smorgasbord of spices, whole and just perfect for toasting and grinding.

So on the reals, toasting your {whole} spices will draw out their natural flavors and grinding them yourself will release their natural oils. They overall just taste better, different… more fresh. Pre-ground spices are great, lord knows I have a drawer FULL of them. But if you’re feeling up for it and want to go all out for guests, or a special dinner or just because… then doing it yourself is the way to go.

How To Toast and Grind Your Own Spices - essentials

The essentials you’ll need are these: A pan, small clean and dry jars {with a tight fitting lids}, mortar and pestle {this is up to you, if you have a spice grinder then more power to you… I however do not} and spices. That’s it. Oh and time… you definitely need some of that.

The first spice I’m toasting and grinding fresh is coriander seed. I needed that and cumin seed for a recipe I was making so I thought I’d snap away as I went.

How To Toast and Grind Your Own Spices whole -coriander seed

Start by measuring placing your whole spices into a dry pan.

How To Toast and Grind Your Own Spices - two tablespoons

The whole to ground measurements are up to you. I did two tablespoons of whole spices and that yielded 4 teaspoons of ground, but I can’t imagine it’s the same for every whole spice.

How To Toast and Grind Your Own Spices - toasting

On medium-low heat, slowly toast the spices. Shake the pan or stir with a wooden spoon. You’ll know they are done when they are fragrant and start smelling toasty.

How To Toast and Grind Your Own Spices - pour into a mortar and pestle

I added the toasted coriander seeds into my mortar.

How To Toast and Grind Your Own Spices - snap and crackle

If you listen, you’ll hear then snap, crackle and popping.

How To Toast and Grind Your Own Spices - start pulverizing

With my pestle I started putting some muscle into smashing and grinding the seeds.

How to Toast and Grind Your Own Spices - keep smashing

Almost there.

How to Toast and Grind Your Own Spices - almost done

I’m not sure I could get it any finer by hand. So again, if you want an ultra-fine ground spice pick up a spice grinder or a coffee grinder and do it all in there. Keep in mind that you don’t want to use the coffee grinder for coffee beans after you’ve ground spices. Bleh!

Ps. I got my mortar and pestle and Homegoods for 13 bucks and I love it.

How to Toast and Grind Your Own Spices - perfect!

Ta-dah! Ground coriander! Oh and it smells heavenly!

How to Toast and Grind Your Own Spices - cumin seed

The cumin seeds were next to be toasted.

How to Toast and Grind Your Own Spices - toasting (2)

Since the cumin seeds were smaller it didn’t take quite as long. They were pretty fragrant to begin with, so I kept sniffing until I detected a toasty cumin scent.

How to Toast and Grind Your Own Spices - in the mortar

Then in they go, into my mortar…

How to Toast and Ground Your Own Spices - start pestle-ing

And I went grinding my little heart out.

How to Toast and Ground Your Own Spices - ground cumin

Ahhh… seriously I wish you could smell this!

How to Toast and Ground Your Own Spices - cumin

Store the ground spice into a jar or tiny canister. You could even go green and reuse old spice bottles that you’ve washed and dried out thoroughly.

How to Toast and Ground Your Own Spices - label!

Label the tops so you know which is which. These spices are relatively similar in looks, although my nose would know the difference.

Freshly ground spices do tend to be more potent then pre-ground. So a slight adjustment will be needed when you’re using freshly ground spices. Just like any ground spice… these should be good for 6 months.

How to Toast and Ground Your Own Spices - spices

I hope you give toasting and grinding your own spices a try… it’s totally worth it!

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6 Responses to “How to Toast Spices and Grind Them Yourself”

  1. #
    1
    Aparna B. — January 16, 2014 at 8:04 am

    It makes a WORLD of difference when you dry roast your own spices. I make garam masala fresh every time I need it – buying store bought just doesn’t cut it (plus my mom would get mad at me lol). I have a mortar and pestle, but I actually went ahead and bought two coffee grinders. One for coffee and one specifically for spices! When I want to grind something other than Indian spices, I take leftover pita bread or any kind of bread and grind it up. It gets rid of the smell and cleans the grinder so you can use it for next time! I hope more and more people start toasting and grinding their own spices! Totally worth it :) Thanks for sharing!

  2. #
    2
    Just Me — January 16, 2014 at 10:49 am

    You know, I have just never understood this whole toasted bread thing. Why does one take perfectly wonderful soft squishy bread and make it hard and stale? ICK!!! Now toasted coconut, or any nut, and spices I’m on board with :-) Thanks for your wonderful blog!

  3. #
    3
    Kelli H (Made in Sonoma) — January 16, 2014 at 12:15 pm

    Beautiful photos! I love spices, but I never make them myself.

  4. #
    4
    Haley @ The Girly Girl Cooks — January 18, 2014 at 8:38 pm

    You are so right….everything is better toasted!

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