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Old 12-23-2011, 07:05 PM   #1
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Avoiding Petrified Spices

i have to keep on buying garlic powder and onion powder and certain steak accent spices

how do you keep them from getting hard?

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Old 12-23-2011, 11:06 PM   #2
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Change them to airtight containers and don't store them over/near the stove.
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Old 12-23-2011, 11:31 PM   #3
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I don't see where you are. That's a huge difference! I have no a/c and our summers can be humid. Concrete spices happen, so buy those that compact easily in the smallest amounts possible. Yes, the stove thing makes a difference. If you live in Arizona, probably not as big a problem. I think they've found stuff in ancient digs in the desert that is still usable (OK, I'm exaggerating). Sometimes, though, the hardened spices aren't unusable, just break them up with a skewer and taste. My biggest offenders are those that come in sort of cardboard type containers (my very favorite Cavender's!), that are hard to open and don't seal well. Second offenders are rectangular tins (think Coleman's mustard and most Hungarian Paprikas). Although they get hard, they're usually usable, assuming they aren't old enough to vote.
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Old 12-24-2011, 03:18 AM   #4
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If they are those spices you tend to pour directly into food over hot pans, with steam and heat billowing up, the moisture from that will clump them up in a hurry. I pour the spices into the palm of my hand and then into the pot to avoid just that problem!
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Old 12-24-2011, 03:33 AM   #5
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Try putting a piece of a cracker or some grains of rice into the shaker container to absorb the moisture.
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Old 12-24-2011, 08:51 AM   #6
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Most spices and herbs will freeze pretty well, and last longer.
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Old 12-24-2011, 08:53 AM   #7
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I have that problem especially with onion salt/powder. I save those little plastic things they put in vitamins to absorb moisture and put those in the spice bottles. Also try to buy whole seed and then grind what you need. I have two coffee grinders for spices. Buy the dehydrated onion flakes, those can be ground easily if onion salt/powder is needed. Good luck.
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Old 12-24-2011, 09:06 AM   #8
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lol, petrified?

if your spices actually mineralize and turn to rock, buy new spices. look in the ethnic section of markets for much less expensive spices to replace the rocks.
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Old 12-24-2011, 10:21 AM   #9
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You can buy a number of silica gel packets pretty cheap, something like 20 for $4 on Amazon. Most come with instructions for reactivating them in an oven or microwave. You can also collect the packets that come with many pharmaceuticals and electronics. Place one in each jar, more in a large jar. The packets absorb stray moisture. But the spice jar still needs to be kept away from a steaming pot when they're open.

You may also need to shake some spices from time to time. Some fine powders cake over time, due to a number of factors. It's a problem whenever fine powders are used. Anti-caking agents are often used, as they are in some table salt. But that's likely beyond our interest here.
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