Can you tell if the Cassia cinnamon in the picture above is organic?
If not, and it costs more, why buy organic spices?
Great question. To make the best food, you have to start off with the best ingredients. Most commonly used spices are now available organic. Except for a couple of exotic spices, all our spices are certified organic. Organic spices are more expensive but we make it a point to source organic ingredients for two great reasons: flavor and health.
Spices typically come from the Indian sub-continent, Southeast Asia and Central America. To be sold in the US, the spices have to be sterilized in one of three ways.
This method involves the extensive use of pesticides or herbicides. These chemicals are not only known to be carcinogenic, they are also harmful to the environment where the spices are cultivated. This is the most commonly used method to sterilize spices sold in the US as it is the cheapest. The USDA allows the use of many chemicals in spice sterilization that are deemed hazardous in the EU and Australia.
Spices are exposed to radiation in order to destroy the bacteria and other microorganisms. While irradiation reduces the microbial count, it also reduces the flavor of the spices in the process.
Sterilizing spices using dry steam also destroys bacteria without introducing chemicals. This method retains all the flavor of the spice to boot without harming the environment. Spices that are certified organic can only be steam sterilized.
So if you want to buy spices with the best flavor, and the least risk to your health, go for the organic spices. To reduce costs, buy whole spices in bulk.
For more on spices, check out these posts:
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