I am new to this community and I have a question in mind.

Spices like garlic , cinnamon etc after drying lose the volatile oil content in them. [HERE, HERE]

Though We see fresh garlic in market being sold but that is not the case of other spices like cinnamon , black pepper, cloves etc.

Why don't people prefer them fresh? After all if there was a demand, there would have been supply.

2 Answers 2


Spices are generally comprised of bark, buds, fruit, seeds or stems of plants. They are almost always dried. Garlic is not a spice, rather, it is a vegetable, like onions or shallots. You can, of course, get dried garlic, onions, or shallot. But the drying process does not make it a spice. While spices have a fairly long shelf life, they should be used when fresh. Purchasing whole spices and grinding them yourself increases the shelf life, as ground spices, with more surface area, lose freshness more quickly.

  • The why does market always sell them as dried ? They should sell fresh ? Why is fresh spices not in demand ?
    – Number945
    Aug 13, 2018 at 1:22
  • 1
    @BreakingBenjamin - First, dried spices are often different ingredients than fresh-off-the-plant, so both would be ingredients but recipes are scaled for dried since they're available. As for the freshest of dried spices, the best versions of the spice, they are available - there are places where one can get or order, for when/where they make a difference. But most people, most of the time, aren't willing to pay the extra price when older (and shelf-stable) spices are good-enough and cheaper. Freshest are found for those willing to pay the price, but since most aren't, they aren't common.
    – Megha
    Aug 13, 2018 at 5:09
  • Drying is a method of preservation. Garlic cloves won't last more than a few weeks. Dried garlic will last months. Also, some things dry better than others. Dried garlic does indeed lose some of the more delicate flavors of fresh. Dried Rosemary, on the other hand, just concentrates its flavors without losing much, so it's often preferred to fresh. Aug 13, 2018 at 22:38
  • @LeeDanielCrocker true, but neither are spices.
    – moscafj
    Aug 14, 2018 at 1:01
  • True, but not helpful to the OP. Aug 14, 2018 at 17:14

Many popular spices, such as cinnamon, cumin, nutmeg, cloves, and black pepper, can only be grown in tropical countries, but are consumed all over the world. Even if those spices were useful fresh, you can't practically transport them that way; fresh nutmeg berries, for example, would need to be air-shipped from Indonesia to other continents, making them astronomically expensive.

This brings up the second reason, which is that some spices are very strongly flavored and are most useful dried and ground. This includes cinnamon, cumin, cardamom, cloves, etc. Nutmeg requires separation of several layers which is only possible when dried.

Finally, in the places where these spices are grown, they are consumed fresh some of the time. In Southeast Asia, people cook with green peppercorns. Indians cook with fresh green cardamom pods. As far as I know, Indonesians make things with fresh cinnamon bark, but I don't know enough of that cuisine to cite anything.

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