Kids can get more flavor and spices last longer and are more potent when they are stored whole rather than after they are ground. Fresh ground spices improve dishes with more nutrients, vibrancy, and aroma. Jarred whole spices are at their best for two years, while ground spices stay fresh for about a year.
Mortar and pestle are tools used since ancient times to grind spices, doing an excellent job of grinding without bruising the spices.The mortar is a bowl made of hard wood, marble, or granite, and the pestle is a long handle made of the same material used to grind the ingredient into a powder or paste. A new mortar and pestle set needs to be seasoned by grinding 3 tablespoons of raw rice until it is a powder. Using a circular grinding motion and maintaining a downward pressure, kids can repeat this process two more times.
Inexpensive coffee grinders with blades are terrific for grinding spices. However, kids need a dedicated grinder for spices and a separate grinder for coffee. Kids can grind anything from a plant that is dried and can flavor food, like seeds, roots, rhizomes, buds, flowers, arils, stigmas, dried herbs, bark, as well as dried fruits and berries.
Kids should never wash their grinder, mortar, or pestle with soap, and always start with dry tools, or the spices will taste like soap or turn into a paste. Use a damp cloth to wipe out the interior of a spice grinder. To remove oil and spice granules, add several tablespoons of raw rice to the grinder and pulverize to a fine powder, dump it out and then use a damp cloth.
Kids can spice up their dishes by sprinkling the dish with sea salt, by rubbing a spice blend on veggies before roasting, by sautéing and blooming the spice in oil, by infusing oil with spice, and by finishing the dish with a spiced sauce.