How To Make Sure Your Exotic Ingredients Remain Fresh


Many aspiring chefs work hard to prepare not just mouth-watering but Michelin-star-worthy dishes. They flex their culinary flair by experimenting in the kitchen, and one way they do so is to incorporate exotic ingredients into their signature dishes. When chefs get their hands on them, they want to make them last longer so they can practice with the ingredient and perfect their dishes.

One example is saffron, which still holds the title of the world's most expensive exotic ingredient at USD$20 for two grams. The reason it is extremely expensive is its rarity and the labour it takes to harvest and process them. Other rare exotic ingredients chefs love to use are Japan's Wagyu beef and Yubari king melons, Spain's Jamon Iberico de Bellota, and Indonesia's Kopi Luwak. 

These ingredients are exceptionally delicate and require specific storage instructions to make them last. To give you a better idea of how to ensure your exotic ingredients remain fresh, check this list:

1. Freeze Them

Most culinary ingredients are okay to be stored at room temperature, but some would need a refrigerator or a freezer. Exotic fruits like durian, mangosteen, passion fruit, dragon fruit, lychees, and jack fruit are great to eat on their own but are also great ingredients for dishes, especially baked goods like pastries and cakes. The way to make them last is by freezing them.

You may carefully slice them into pieces, place them in a clean container, and freeze them. This way, anytime you crave a passion fruit cake, you can take it out of the freezer and thaw it for your recipe.

If you plan to include exotic ingredients in your restaurant menu, ensure you get reliable and commercially viable refrigeration solutions, like the ones from

2. Soak Them In the Best Oil

Exotic ingredients like black garlic and truffles are becoming increasingly popular because they can turn ordinary dishes into sophisticated ones. 

Black garlic, for example, became ridiculously popular after being showcased on the famous culinary shows Iron Chef of America and Master Chef. Mainly used in Asian cooking, the world got exposed to black garlic's pleasantly unusual flavour that is reminiscent of caramel and tamarind. It became an incredible addition to pasta sauces, salad dressings, pizza, and roasts. 

Truffles, meanwhile, are fungi that can be found under the roots of trees in the wild forests of Italy. They are costly and not available all year round. Truffles have a unique aroma that pairs well with pasta or any dish you want to put it in. 

To prolong the life of both the black garlic and truffles, you may soak them in excellent quality extra virgin olive oil. This way, once the flavours of both ingredients got infused in the oil, you may use the oil to flavour dishes like salads, dressings, and sauces.

3. Store In A Dark, Dry Place

Your kitchen must have a designated spice cabinet. Most exotic spices, like saffron, achiote paste, curry powder, and dried herbs, need a cool, dark, dry storage place. This way, they will not lose their aroma and flavour to the sun's heat. Most modern kitchens have a pull-out cabinet for spices, and if you plan to have a restaurant soon, a big pantry with a dedicated spice cabinet is a must. 

Going back to our previous example—black garlic can also be stored in a dark, dry place, away from moisture, like in a dark pantry cabinet. Truffles should be rolled in a paper towel and placed inside an opened resealable bag inside the darkest part of the refrigerator. The bag should remain unsealed so the truffles can breathe, and the paper towels should be replaced with new ones when you see moisture seeping from the truffles.

4. Refrigerate Them

Many expensive exotic ingredients can't be frozen and would only need to be chilled at all times to hold their form and preserve their taste. Such is the case of caviar, another costly ingredient that would seal your fate as a five-star chef. Freezing caviar is a no-no since it would damage the texture and appearance of the delectable fish eggs.

Once opened, caviar should be consumed right away. That is why many culinary experts transfer the caviar to smaller containers, refrigerate them, and only take what they need from the refrigerator. This is also why you see tiny caviar bottles soaked in a bowl of ice on the buffet table in elegant banquets.


Expensive exotic ingredients can be a part of your culinary repertoire to elevate your skills and make you an outstanding and fearless master of the kitchen. Your ability to whip up elegantly lovely creations that don't just look pretty but also taste exquisite can help you earn a name in the cutthroat culinary world.

How To Make Sure Your Exotic Ingredients Remain Fresh
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