Header Bild zum Blogeintrag mit dem Thema 'Gewürze ganz oder gemahlen kaufen?'

Buying Spices whole or ground

Spices play an important role in the kitchen to enhance the taste of dishes - we don't have to tell you that again. But now comes the question: how should I best buy my spices? whole? ground? and most importantly, why?
Many people prefer to buy their spices ground. However, there are good reasons why it is better to buy spices whole and only grind them shortly before use.

Shelf life and freshness

The first reason is shelf life. Spices that are ground quickly lose their aromas and flavors as they evaporate through contact with air and light. This can lead to a loss of taste and aroma and reduce the quality of the spices. Whole spices, on the other hand, retain their full aroma and flavors for much longer. This is because the surface area of ​​unground spices is smaller and this can prevent oxidation.
If you grind your own spices, you get a fresher quality than if you buy pre-ground spices from the store. Spices that have already been ground can sometimes sit on the shelves or at the manufacturer for a long time before they are purchased, which can affect their freshness.

You decide on the grinding level

If you grind your own spices, you have full control over the degree of grinding. Depending on when you add the spices during cooking, you should go coarser or finer to get the best flavor. The rule of thumb: at the beginning of cooking, you should stay coarser; if you only add seasoning at the end, you should use finer ground spices. So if you grind your spices shortly before cooking, you not only have a fresher taste, but also optimal control over how the flavors can develop.
Picture of a mortar and pestle grinding some nuts and spices

Cleanliness and purity

Another important factor is purity. Spices that have already been ground may have been mixed with other spices or ingredients or may have become moist. This can lead to contamination of the spices and potentially cause allergic reactions or other health problems. Whole spices, on the other hand, are usually purer and can therefore be safer for consumption. In Europe in particular, cleanliness laws for spices are extremely high to prevent contamination in the production processes.


OK, here you have to know whether it's worth it to you: whole spices usually have to be ground and that takes time. This is not for a quick home office kitchen, but more for a BBQ party with colleagues. But you can also stock up and grind a few spices in advance or buy them already ground - they just become less intense over time.
Spices in small bowls on a light table

The simple alternative

You don't feel like all the hassle of grinding yourself? We got you!
If you want to learn more about spices, their use or the art of mixing, take a look here: The Spice Lab
In the Spice Lab you will learn how to handle spices, why Cassia cinnamon is not as great as Ceylon cinnamon and which spices can be combined well with other spices. The courses take place in Zurich and the surrounding area.
Is that too much? Easy!
In our shop you will find our spice mixes, which we make fresh for you - this is the best of both worlds, so to speak: fresh spices and already prepared so that all you have to do is season them.
In summary, it is better to buy spices whole and grind them just before use. This ensures a longer shelf life, more control over the grinding strength and greater purity. It is worth investing a little more time and effort in buying and using whole spices to achieve the best possible aroma and taste experience in your dishes.

Matthias Hirsch

Matthias ist der Gründer von Gipfelhirsch und verpackt seit 2021 intensiven Geschmack mit Humor und einem vollen Label Wissen zusammen in alles was gut schmecken soll.

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