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Old 02-14-2009, 12:26 PM   #1
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What are whole spices?

I tried googling what they were, but no helpful results. I'm really new to cooking and i don't know many terms, so if you can answer this, that'd be great :D

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Old 02-14-2009, 12:31 PM   #2
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A whole peppercorn vs. ground pepper for example.
A whole Bay Leaf vs. ground bay leaf is another.....
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Old 02-14-2009, 12:34 PM   #3
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Whole spices are spices in their natural form before they are ground up. Cinnamon grows naturally in a stick form but you generally buy it ground for use in foods. Nutmeg comes in the form of a hard seed, again, most people buy it ground.
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Old 02-14-2009, 01:04 PM   #4
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A whole peppercorn vs. ground pepper for example.
A whole Bay Leaf vs. ground bay leaf is another.....
Ground bay leaves?
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Old 02-14-2009, 01:10 PM   #5
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Whole cloves vs. ground cloves and whole cardamon vs. ground cardamon are other examples.

Some recipes call for whole spices, most call for ground up or crushed spices.

As a general rule, whole spices are fresher and have more flavor than the ground or crushed versions, and it's probably better to grind your own if you can.

However, most people buy a lot of their spices and herbs in ground form for convenience and because many (if not most) recipes call for the spices to be added in that form.
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Old 02-14-2009, 01:23 PM   #6
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so if i have a pestle & mortar, and i use whole cinnamon with it, then it becomes ground cinnamon - but it's still the same, except it's crushed?
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Old 02-14-2009, 01:40 PM   #7
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so if i have a pestle & mortar, and i use whole cinnamon with it, then it becomes ground cinnamon - but it's still the same, except it's crushed?
Yes, although it's hard to grind cinnamon and most other hard spices in a mortar and get it as fine as the stuff that comes in jars pre-ground. That doesn't matter much in most recipes, although I suspect that most people wouldn't want to put cinnamon ground in a mortar on their morning toast. If you do need a finer grind, you can get an electric grinder.
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Old 02-14-2009, 01:47 PM   #8
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Ground bay leaves?
Yes --- Ground Bay Leaves

Bay Leaves, Turkish, Whole and Ground
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Old 02-14-2009, 01:51 PM   #9
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Yes --- Ground Bay Leaves

Bay Leaves, Turkish, Whole and Ground
Thanks. I've never seen ground bay leaves in the store that I can recall, an I don't think I've ever made a recipe that called for them -- most call only for whole bay leaves, which are removed before serving, or crushed whole bay leaves. Are there any advantages to ground? Any particular uses?
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Old 02-14-2009, 01:56 PM   #10
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so if i have a pestle & mortar, and i use whole cinnamon with it, then it becomes ground cinnamon - but it's still the same, except it's crushed?
No, for something like cinnamon, nutmet, other larger items you would have to use a microplane. A mortar and pestle won't touch those two. You can try and grind cloves with one, but it takes a lot of work, for that you can use a coffee grinder. A m & p is best used on leafy spices, not hard spices.
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