Sift Freshly-Ground Spices for Better, Smoother Texture

Photo: Robyn Mackenzie, Shutterstock
Photo: Robyn Mackenzie, Shutterstock

Grinding your own spices is one of the easiest ways to improve the flavour of your meals. Grinding them as you need them means they last longer and taste better, and whole spices are often significantly cheaper per ounce than the little jars of pre-ground at the grocery store. But whether you use a mortar and pestle or a repurposed coffee grinder, it’s surprisingly difficult to grind spices as finely as you’d like.

A little texture is nice in spice rubs or DIY seasoning salts, but most dishes are definitely not improved by big chunks of dried spices. This is where a regular old fine mesh sieve comes in handy. Running your ground spices through a sieve might sound excessively finicky, but in reality, it adds all of 30 seconds to the process and noticeably improves the final texture. If you’re already putting in the effort to grind your own spices, I say go all out — if that can even apply to something so quick and easy.

The technique here is pretty self-explanatory, but I have one more hot tip: Sift freshly-ground spices directly onto a sheet of parchment paper. It’s tricky to control the direction of spice particles flying through a sieve, and a piece of parchment is a nice, big target. When you’re done, just fold the paper lengthwise and pour the contents into a storage container. Repeat until your cabinet is stocked with fresh, perfectly-ground spices. (Though don’t grind too much at a time; the whole point is that they’re fresh.)

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