You’ve run into a condensation problem.
Chances are you shook that same jar of spices over a steaming pot. Or you finished cooking and accidentally forgot to close the spice container all the way. Now, everything is a giant clumpy, lumpy mess.
Spices are very sensitive to heat and moisture, which is why storing them correctly is so important.
But before you toss your whole jar of expensive spices in the trash, there are a few ways to salvage them.
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Method 1: Small Fine-Mesh Strainer
First, remove the stuck-on spices from the bottom of the jar with a skewer or a toothpick. Next, dump the spices into a fine-mesh strainer set over your spice container (depending on the size of your container, you may want to place the fine-mesh strainer into a funnel). Press the spices through the strainer with a spoon until there are no clumps left in the strainer. This allows you to unclump your spices with minimal mess.
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Method 2: Mortar and Pestle
After removing the spices from the container and adding them to the mortar (bowl), use the pestle (the cylinder tool) to regrind spices until they’re smooth and uniform. Finally, add them back into the original container or into an airtight glass jar.
Method 3: Blade Grinder or Food Processor
Blade grinders are not just for coffee fanatics; they’re also perfect for removing the lumps from spices.
After removing all of the spices from the container, dump the clumps into the grinder. Pulse the spices through your grinder three or four times while shaking the grinder between pulses to ensure consistency. If you don’t own a blade grinder, a food processor can do the trick as well.