Herbal and Other Seasoning Mixtures
Using herbs is a delicious way to season dishes and to cut down on the amount of salt needed for flavor, too. Dried herb mixtures can be prepared in advance and stored in an airtight container. Dried spices and herbs tend to lose flavor the longer they're stored, so the age of your seasoning mixes can directly affect the amount you should add to a recipe. Grinding them can help revive the potency because it releases their essential oils; for that reason, wait to grind spices until just before you need them.
To grind the spices and dried herbs in seasoning blends, a spice grinder or mortar and pestle works best. Alternatively, you can use a small food processor (such as the Cuisinart Mini-Prep Plus mentioned in Appendix B) or a blender. Unless advised otherwise by a recipe, process a seasoning blend until it is crushed and coarsely ground.