Spices are derived from either seeds and barks or roots and fruits. In many parts of the world, spices are ground fresh everyday for the best flavor. Here are a few tips on using sweet spices for best results.
* Try to keep your spices no more than one year. Although they are not dangerous to use after a year, the flavor fades away.
* Keep all of your spices away from heat and light, which destroy flavors. The best place for spices is inside a drawer. Keep bottles properly capped. You may want to consider placing spices in the freezer for maximum freshness.
* Whenever you can, grind your own spices. Purchase an electric coffee grinder and place the whole spice inside. Whirl for 1 minute and you will have the best fresh ground spices. For instance, I always grind my own cloves, and the flavor is absolutely wonderful!
I think dried thyme has kind of a dirt taste to it. I stopped using dried a while ago since it seemed to ruin whatever I made. I've never had a problem with fresh though.
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Try crushing it a bit first, releases more of the flavor. Also, how often do you replace dried Thyme? Herbs when dried seem to go bad about 6 months from the package being opened, where they lose most of their flavor and get a kind of "dirty" or moldy taste. Try to replace dried herbs at least that often to prevent this from happening, even if the herbs aren't used up.
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