Spices are the seed of a particular tropical plant. It's more economical to buy spices in their whole form, not already ground. The spice will last much longer, especially if you store it in a cool, dry place. A small ziploc bag works perfectly for storage.

The best way to use spice is to place the whole seed in a clean, dry, non-stick saute pan and gently toss it over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Briefly cool the spice and place in a coffee grinder and grind until powdered.

If you buy ground spice, date the spice when you purchase it, store in a cool, dry area and throw it out after 6 months time.