What is the best way to store spices? For short-term storage, your pantry or cupboard shelving is fine. Obviously, you'll want to avoid a cupboard over or near the stove. For optimum results, keep your spices in amber glass jars to reduce damage from UV radiation.

When storing spices for more than three months, and especially for storing whole spices, the freezer is best. We store whole spices in the freezer and grind enough for a month or so, to keep handy in the spice drawer.

You sometimes see recommendations that spices should not be kept in the freezer, because when water freezes, it will damage cell walls. This is good advice for items which contain any substantial amount of moisture. Dried spices, especially powdered dried spices, should not have sufficient moisture for this to be a problem. In fact, if your dried spices have enough moisture that freezing them would damage the cell walls, then there is enough moisture to cause them to mold.

Whole black or white peppercorns would be one significant exception to the above statement. Although they are either sun- or oven-dried, there is still sufficient moisture in both types that freezing could potentially be a problem. Therefore, we recommend NOT freezing whole peppercorns. If you have bought the bulk peppercorns from New Naturals, store them in the bag in which they're shipped. Fold or roll the bag down to remove as much air as possible, and press along the ziplock closure to exclude air, light and moisture. If yours come in a jar or grinder from the grocery store, keep the container in a dark cupboard or spice drawer.

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Which is better--whole or ground, fresh or dried? It's fashionable to say always buy whole, and grind it yourself. Or to turn up one's nose at dried spices and herbs and insist on always buying fresh. But there often may be good reasons to buy dried and/or ground spices. In some cases, such as with turmeric and ginger, the "whole" product is a rhizome (similar to a root), which requires substantial work to turn into an easily stored powdered spice. You can freeze both turmeric and ginger, sliced or chopped, but sometimes you want a powder for a particular recipe.

The same is true for cinnamon. Cinnamon sticks are lovely for mulling a mug of hot cider, but most of the time you need ground cinnamon.

Pepper is one of those spices that we do whole-heartedly recommend buying whole and grinding as needed. Pepper stores well without special requirements (just keep it in a light and air-tight container in a cool location). Pepper grinders are easily available and even the inexpensive ones do a good job. And pepper begins to lose one of its most important constituents--piperine--as soon as it's ground, so grinding at the last minute is always a good idea (provides the best taste as well!).

Piperine is the alkaloid responsible for the sharp spicy taste and odor of pepper (including black, white and green peppercorns). It is also responsible for the pharmaceutical mechanisms of pepper. Piperine is not itself volatile, but peppercorns contain about 1-2% of a volatile oil. After being ground, that oil begins to evaporate and carries the piperine with it as it dissipates. So if you're using pepper for its medicinal properties as well as its flavor, grinding it just before use is even more important.

There is one exception to this general rule, however. If you make Golden Paste, the oil in the paste protects the piperine, and it is not necessary to add pepper when you use the paste. You can add the pepper at the same time as the oil, after the turmeric and water mixture is off the heat and has cooled down to just warm.

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What about interactions with prescription medications

Several online sites provide information on interactions. If you don't find the medication and the spice you're looking for, that doesn't necessarily mean there is no interaction, only that this combination has not been added to the list. For the most authoritative answers, ask your doctor or pharmacist. Be aware that turmeric in particular can inhibit some cancer chemo meds, and enhance others. Even if your med is one that is enhanced by turmeric, your medical team still needs to know that you want to use it. The piperine in black pepper can also extend the time that some medications are active in the body (sprinkling black pepper on your meals is not normally a problem).

Here are some sites where you may find information on interactions.

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Doug's Yeast Spray Doug English, the Australian veterinarian who developed the recipe for Golden Paste, has used this in his practice for many years. It's good for hot spots on dogs, yeasty ears and paws, greasy heel on horses, and anywhere that yeast is a problem. Doug suggests the addition of a teaspoon of turmeric for best results. However, that may be undesirable where stains could occur.

1 cup rubbing alcohol
1/2 cup distilled vinegar
1 teaspoon of turmeric (optional if spray will be used inside)
2-1/2 tsp coconut oil (only during warm weather)

Place the ingredients in a handy spray bottle and spray up to 4 times daily. This spray is self-drying when administered to skin and hair.

Note: If you decide to include the turmeric, be aware that it can stain. Also, if the temperature is below 23 C (74 F) the coconut oil will solidify and clog the spray. Add the coconut oil only if it will stay liquid.

Doug's Note: This spray can also be used on dogs feet when they lick or chew their paws as the cause is similar to greasy heel in horses. I also use this mix on my own feet after a bath or a run.

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Comparison of Fats and Oils
Ever wish you had a handy guide to all the typically used fats and oils out there? Not just the usual olive/canola/corn... but ALL of them? Wish no more--here it is!

Name of oil Type of fat % Omega 3 % Omega 6 % Omega 9 Ratio of Omega 6/
Omega 3
Smoke Point
Almond Oil M 0.2 25 64 N/A 420º F / 216º C
Apricot Kernel Oil M .2 58 24 290:1 495º F / 257º C
Avocado Oil M .6 12 60 20:1 520º F / 217º C
Black Currant Seed Oil P 33 50 16 1.5:1 225º F / 107º C
Black Seed Oil P .2 60 24 300:1 440º F / 227º C
Borage Oil P 25 35 20 1.4:1 225º F / 107º C
Camelina Sativa Oil P 18 18 21 1:1 475º F / 246º C
Canola Oil M 9 18 62 2:1 375º-450º F / 190º-232º C
Coconut Oil S 0 1.8 5.8 N/A 350º F / 177º C
Corn Oil
(Unrefined/Refined)
P 10 53 23 5.3:1 320º-450º F / 160º-232º C
Cottonseed Oil P .2 51.5 17 3:1 420º F / 216º C
Evening Primrose Oil P 8 72 9 9:1 225º F / 107º C
Flaxseed Oil P 54 6 18 1:9 225º F / 107º C
Grapeseed Oil P .5 68 18 136:1 420º F / 216º C
Hazelnut Oil M .5 12 79 24:1 430º F / 221º C
Hemp Oil P 20 58 12 2.9:1 330º F / 165º C
Macademia Nut Oil M 1.1 1.4 76 1.5:1 390º F / 199º C
Mustard Oil M 6 15 12 2.5:1 490º F / 254º C
Olive Oil M 1 9 75 9:1 405º F / 207º C
Palm Oil S 0 9 35 N/A 450º F / 232º C
Palm Kernel Oil S 0 2 15 N/A 450º F / 232º C
Peanut Oil M 0 33 47 N/A 440º F / 227º C
Pumpkin Seed Oil P .5 52 25 104:1 320º F / 160º C
Rice Bran Oil M 2 35 38 17.5:1 490º F / 254º C
Safflower Oil * P 2 16 74 8:1 510º F / 266º C
Sesame Oil P .3 46 40 153:1 410º F / 210º C
Soybean Oil P 8 51 23 6.4:1 495º F / 257º C
Sunflower Oil * P .7 10 75 14:1 440º F / 227º C
Walnut Oil M 12 60 17 5:1 320º F / 160º C
Wheat Germ Oil M 2.5 56 26 22.4:1 225º F / 107º C
* These oils are available in several versions of refined/unrefined, or low, medium and high oleic percentages. The figures for these are averages of the ranges.

Source for nutrients: USDA database SR21 ¦ Source for smoke points: vendor databases

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Nutrient Values of Typical Spices

All values based on 1 teaspoon (approx. 5 grams)
Ginger

Vitamins
Name Amount % of Daily
Serving
Vitamin A 2.6IU 0%
Vitamin C .1mg 0%
Vitamin E
(Alpha Tocopherol)
.3mg 2%
Niacin .1mg 0%
Folate .7mcg 0%
Choline .7mg
Betaine .1mg
Minerals
Name Amount % of Daily
Serving
Calcium 2mg 0%
Iron .2mg 1%
Magnesium 3.2mg 1%
Phosphorus 2.6mg 0%
Potassium 23.5mg 1%
Sodium .6mg 0%
Zinc .1mg 1%
Manganese .5mg 23%
Selenium .7mcg 1%
Fats and Fatty Acids
Name Amount % of Daily
Serving
Total Fat .1g 0%
  Saturated Fat 0g 0%
  Monounsaturated Fat 0g
  Polyunsaturated Fat .0
  Omega 3 Fatty Acids 5.1mg
  Omega 6 Fatty Acids 17.8mg



Vitamins
Name Amount % of Daily
Serving
Vitamin C .5mg 1%
Vitamin E
(Alpha Tocopherol)
.1mg 0%
Vitamin K .9mcg 1%
Niacin .3mg 2%
Vitamin B6 .1mg 6%
Folate 2.6mcg 1%
Choline 3.3mg
Betaine .7mg
Minerals
Name Amount % of Daily
Serving
Calcium 3.7mg 0%
Iron .8mg 5%
Magnesium 3.9mg 1%
Potassium 50.5mg 1%
Sodium .8mg 0%
Zinc .1mg 1%
Manganese .2mg 8%
Selenium .1mcg 0%
Fats and Fatty Acids
Name Amount % of Daily
Serving
Total Fat .2g 0%
  Saturated Fat .1g 0%
  Monounsaturated Fat 0 0%
  Polyunsaturated Fat 0 0%
  Omega 3 Fatty Acids 32.5mg
  Omega 6 Fatty Acids 114mg



Vitamins
Name Amount % of Daily
Serving
Vitamin A 14.75IU 0%
Vitamin C .19mg 0%
Vitamin E
(Alpha Tocopherol)
.5mg 3.5%
Vitamin K 1.6mcg 1%
Folate .3mcg 0%
Minerals
Name Amount % of Daily
Serving
Calcium 50.1mg 5%
Iron .4mg 5%
Magnesium 3mg 0%
Zinc .09mg 0%
Manganese .9mg 38%
Copper .02mg 2%
Fats and Fatty Acids
Name Amount % of Daily
Serving
Total Fat .2g 0%
  Saturated Fat .1g 0%
  Monounsaturated Fat 0 0%
  Polyunsaturated Fat 0 0%
  Omega 3 Fatty Acids 32.5mg
  Omega 6 Fatty Acids 114mg

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Vitamins
Name Amount % of Daily
Serving
Vitamin A 6IU 0%
Vitamin C 0.4mg 0%
Vitamin E
(Alpha Tocopherol)
0.0mg 0%
Vitamin K 3mcg 4%
Folate .2mcg 0%
Choline .23mg
Betaine .2mg 0%
Minerals
Name Amount % of Daily
Serving
Calcium 9.1mg 1%
Iron .6mg 3%
Magnesium 4mg 1%
Zinc .03mg 0%
Manganese .12mg 6%
Copper .03mg 1%
Phosporus 3.2mg 0%
Potassium 26mg 1%
Selenium .06mcg
Fluoride .7mcg
Fats and Fatty Acids
Name Amount % of Daily
Serving
Total Fat .6g 0%
  Saturated Fat .03g 0%
  Monounsaturated Fat .03
  Polyunsaturated Fat .03
  Omega 3 Fatty Acids 3.3mg
  Omega 6 Fatty Acids 20.2mg

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