Ask Lévana: Can We Use Processed Spices in Our Cooking? At a recent demo, one of the guests asked me, “If I ever run out of garlic powder, can I settle for fresh?” Garlic in every form other than fresh (powder, freeze-dried, frozen, peeled and goodness knows what other calamity) is awful and will ruin your dish. Why not fresh? It is widely available and costs pennies. Wearing rubber gloves will ensure that your hands will stay fresh. Poise a wide knife on the garlic clove and give it one clean whack. The garlic doesn’t feel the pain.
If you have a Microplane grater or a garlic press, adding fresh garlic to your dishes is easy. The taste can’t compare. Every home should have a pepper mill. The change in taste between freshly cracked pepper and pre-ground is dramatic. Other spices are usually fine. While grinding your own cinnamon or nutmeg is possible, it’s usually not worth the trouble.