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Herb and Spice Tools for More Flavorful Meals
When you're cooking, one of the easiest ways to enliven the flavors of a dish is by adding fresh herbs or top-quality spices. If you've found it challenging to store and use these types of ingredients, take a look at the products we've rounded up. They'll make working with herbs and spices a cinch.
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It's so easy to work with fresh herbs with this herb mill. Just put washed and dried herbs into the compartment. A twist of the wrist, and the blades, safely housed inside, will mince the fresh herbs into fine bits to easily incorporate into a recipe or garnish a finished recipe.
Flavor Tip: Use the herb mill to garnish an omelet or scrambled eggs with a fine sprinkling of chopped parsley.
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It's a tool that's just about as old as time, and for good reason. A mortar and pestle will grind dried spices into a fine powder, or mash fresh herbs into a paste. Either way, the process brings out the optimal flavor and fragrance of these ingredients.
This granite mortar and pestle from VonShef measures about 5.5 inches in diameter. It has a footed base and a polished exterior, with a rough interior that aids in grinding the ingredients within.
Flavor Tip: The next time a recipe calls for cumin, try buying whole cumin seeds and grinding up what you need in a mortar and pestle. You'll be amazed at how much fresher the results are.
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Freshly cracked pepper enlivens just about any meal. This unusual grinder has two separate chambers, so you can have black pepper in one side and white pepper or salt on the other. Turn the grinder to the side that you want, and give it a twist: the ceramic grinding disks will turn out evenly ground salt or pepper. The grind can be adjusted between coarse and fine, and the mill will stand on either end.
Flavor Tip: White pepper is nice to use for dishes that are light-colored, such as mashed potatoes, cream sauces, or creamy soups.Continue to 5 of 10 below.
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Fresh herbs will stay fresh longer with this clever keeper. The tool keeps the stems submerged in water, while the leaves remain dry. To use the herbs, pull the handle on top and the herbs will be lifted out of the chamber for you to reach what you need.
Flavor tip: In the summer, keep this tool filled with fresh mint. Break off a few sprigs to add to your water for a refreshing treat.
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Many people use their coffee grinder to grind spices, but there's always a risk for your coffee tasting of cardamom, or your recipes tasting like coffee. The KitchenAid coffee and spice grinder set has three removable grinding bowls, so one can be for coffee and the other two for spices. The set also includes a perforated lid that can be used as a shaker with the spice grinding bowls.
Flavor tip: To grind larger spices, such as nutmeg, break them into smaller pieces with a hammer or a meat mallet.
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If you're simmering stock, soup, sauce or beans, a bouquet garni can add flavor. This cluster of herbs is typically parsley, thyme, and bay leaf. Most chefs tie these into a bundle with string and drop them into the pot, or some recipes call for the herbs to be tied up in a cheesecloth. With this mesh infuser, just stuff the aromatics inside the mesh ball and you're ready to go. It's about 4.25 inches long, big enough to hold a nice assortment of herbs or whole spices, and it's more eco-friendly than cheesecloth since it can be reused.
Flavor tip: Add a sliver of lemon peel to the herb mix to give a subtly fresh flavor to what you're simmering.
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A few shavings of lemon or lime zest can really enliven a dish. With the Microplane Ultimate Citrus Tool, shaving just the delicious zest, and none of the pith is simple. The zesting surface is generously sized, to reach as much surface of the fruit as possible. And a garnishing blade can cut away perfect twists for your next martini.
Flavor tip: If you're juicing citrus fruit, take a moment to zest them before juicing. Freeze the zest loose, or immersed in water in ice cube trays. You can add the saved zest to baked goods, salad dressings, or sauces.Continue to 9 of 10 below.
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Thyme, rosemary, and other woody-stemmed herbs are easier to work with when you use this herb stripper. Fit the stem into whichever of the three holes it most closely fits, and pull. As the stem is pulled through the hole, the leaves will be stripped off, where they will collect in the bowl of the tool. Measurement markings on the side of the bowl help you keep track of how much you need.
Flavor tip: Use thyme leaves to make a delicious compound butter. Soften butter, then use a handheld mixer or simply a wooden spoon to mix fresh thyme and a generous sprinkling of sea salt into the butter. Reshape it into a patty and refrigerate until it's firmed up.
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Made of sustainable laminated bamboo, this beautiful salt cellar gives you three different salt options at your fingertips. Fill one with kosher salt, one with flaky sea salt, and one with another favorite type of salt. You can also use the boxes for dried spices, anything you reach for often. The boxes and lids are connected with one central rod, and the lids swivel away to reveal the different compartments.
Flavor tip: Splurge on Himalayan salt or Black salt for a real treat. But don't use it for cooking: these specialty salts are far better when they're used as a finishing salt, to give one last dimension of flavor to a dish.