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How to Keep Spices From Clumping: 6 Tips & Tricks You Need to Try

13 February 2024

When cooking, picking up a jar of clumped spices is incredibly annoying. It’s impossible to use, no matter how aggressively you shake the container. Thus, many consumers blame the food manufacturing or spice company for a faulty product. It isn’t edifying for the company, nor does it create a positive customer experience.

Consequently, preventing clumping is a vital issue. It’s a component of producing a high-quality product, whether a food product or a custom spice blend. After all, spices that flow freely are easier to use and disperse flavour and texture significantly better.

Why do spices clump?

Simply put, moisture is the reason behind clumping spices. Spices readily absorb moisture from their environment, which inhibits the powder from flowing freely and sprinkling easily.

If you examine any spice (singular or blend) under a microscope, it’s composed of thousands of tiny, cascading, crystal-like particles. The small gaps between each particle are what keep the powder free-flowing. When you expose the powder to moisture, water molecules fill up these gaps, bonding the particles together and causing clumping.

Different spices clump at different rates, depending on the type of ingredient. Spice blends incorporate ingredients with varying moisture levels/particle sizes and are more prone to clumping.

Conversely, spice blends and singular spices with consistent particle sizes are less likely to clump. It means that the way the manufacturer processes raw ingredients is essential to prevent clumping. Raw ingredients are processed correctly to ensure the resulting powder has consistent particle sizes. Otherwise, your singular spice may still end up clumping.

Exposed to Moisture

How are spices exposed to moisture? In many ways, most of which are difficult or impossible to avoid entirely.

  • High humidity levels in the air during processing or storage
  • Temperature fluctuations that cause condensation
  • Shaking a spice container over a steaming pot
  • Packaging spices in materials that are not moisture-resistant

Why is clumping a problem?

For Consumers

First and foremost, clumping is inconvenient and annoying for consumers. Spices exposed to moisture during processing, storage, or when used in the kitchen are difficult to use. Hard as you may shake, very little powder comes out. And when it does come out, it does so unevenly. It is a problem for cooking and especially for baking when accurate measurements are essential.

If the clumping is particularly bad, the spice becomes completely unusable. Over time, replacing these spices becomes almost as expensive as annoying and time-consuming.

Consumers associate clumping with an inferior product—even if their mistakes cause clumping. Clumping is inevitable if you shake the spice container over a steaming pot, leave the lid off, store it in direct sunlight, or keep it in a humid area. However, consumers will still blame their clumped spice on the food manufacturer. It tarnishes your brand and, ultimately, loses customers.

Consequently, preventing clumping is imperative for all North American spice suppliers. A spice that flows freely protects your reputation so you won’t lose business.

For Food Manufacturers

Clumping is also a challenge for food manufacturing companies. It causes uneven distribution and affects the flavour, texture, and product’s appearance. Precision in measurement becomes a challenge.

There’s a risk of inaccurate seasoning in recipes, inconsistent flavours within the same product, and inconsistencies between products. All of these things are bad for business.

For Shelf Life

Additionally, clumping is a threat to the shelf life of the spice. Once moisture has gotten into the spice, spoilage is often on the horizon. This results in wastage for food manufacturers and unwanted additional expenses for consumers. Most spices should have a shelf life of 1-2 years.

How to Prevent Clumping

1. Place rice in the spice container

It is a tried and true home solution for removing moisture from spices and seasoning. Everyone has picked up a salt shaker at a restaurant and seen a few grains of uncooked rice nestled next to the grains of salt. Since rice absorbs moisture even faster than salt, it’s an easy way to prevent the salt from clumping. This same technique applies to other spice blends and seasonings.

2. Use silica gel packs

Silica gel packs are another way to absorb excess moisture in spice containers. Like uncooked rice kernels, silica gel packets consume moisture, preventing the spices from clumping or becoming damp. Food-grade silica gel packets are safe to use for this purpose and highly effective.

3. Anti-caking agents

Adding an anti-caking agent is an effective way to prevent powdered spices from clumping together. Consequently, food manufacturers and spice suppliers frequently use anti-caking agents in their products.

Although some consumers are off-put by including any chemicals (including caking agents) in their products, these agents have been proven safe for human consumption.

4. Upgrade the cap on the container

The cap on the spice container is often the best defence against moisture and clumping. Perforated caps may look incredibly convenient and desirable. Yet, in reality, they invite moisture into the container.

To prevent clumping, replace all perforated caps with one that closes fully and protects the spice from the environment.

5. Improve the spice storage containers

In addition to replacing the cap, upgrading the body of the storage container can also help prevent clumping. You can protect the spice from excess humidity by incorporating moisture-absorbing materials into the container. Additionally, ensure that the cap and container body are sealed tightly to minimize moisture from entering.

6. High-quality manufacturing

The manufacturing process has a significant role to play in preventing clumping. Raw ingredients must turn into powders with consistent particle sizes. Manufacturers must control humidity levels throughout the manufacturing process. They implement quality control measures to monitor moisture content in the spice blends.

Avoid Clumping with North America’s Top Food Manufacturing Business: Hela Spice

Clumping is a problem for consumers, spice suppliers, and food manufacturing companies. It makes spice blends challenging to use, ruins shelf life, and results in inconsistent flavours and textures. Fortunately, Hela Spice knows the importance of preventing clumping and understands how to keep it from happening.

Our high-quality and modern manufacturing processes mitigate clumping and produce desirable products.

To learn more about preventing clumping with Hela Spice, visit our website or contact us here.

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