INTRO: Spices Demystified

by on April 24, 2016 » Add the first comment.
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It is quality more than quantity that matters in a spice cupboard. You should be able to consolidate your needed spices to no more than twenty. At least once a year, take the money that you might spend on a nice meal and replenish your spices. Pass on your old spices to a friend who really doesn’t know any better.

Keep in mind, whole keeps fresh longer. Grind it when you need it.

CRITICAL SPICES

Basil
Bay Leaves
Black Pepper (Whole)
Cayenne Pepper
Celery Seed
Chili Powder
Cinnamon (whole)
Cloves (whole)
Coriander (Whole Cilantro seed)
Dill seed
Garlic powder (not salt)
Mustard (Ground)
Nutmeg
Oregano
Paprika
Parsley
Red pepper flakes
Rosemary
Salt (Kosher Sea Salt)
White Pepper


NICE TO HAVES

Allspice
Lemon pepper
Mace
Marjoram
Mustard seed
Onion flakes (Dried)
Oregano (Dried)
Poppy seeds
Saffron
Sage
Sesame seed
Thyme (Dried)
Turmeric

BUY THESE IF YOU NEED TO

Garam masala


DON’T BOTHER WITH THESE

Barbecue sauce and
Bullion cubes
Anise
Cardamom
Carraway seed
Chicken, Beef or Vegetable stock
Cajun seasoning
Chinese five spice blend
Chipotle powder
Chives
Cumin
Curry Powder
Fennel Seed
Greek seasoning
Herbs de Provence
Italian seasoning
Poultry seasoning
Taco seasoning.


IN THE FRIDGE

Capers
Carrots
Celery
Dijon mustard
Eggs
Flat-leaf parsley
Ginger root (Whole)
Ketchup
Mayonnaise
Milk
Parmegiano-Reggiano
Soy sauce
Tomato (whole)

IN THE FREEZER

Frozen Carrots
Frozen Peas
Frozen Spinach


PANTRY STAPLES

Baking potatoes
Beef stock
Bisquick
Chicken stock
Cream of mushroom soup
Deli brown mustard
Diced tomatoes (canned)
EVOO (Extra-Virgin olive oil)
Garlic cloves – lots!
Lemons
Limes
Louisiana hot sauce/Tabasco
Nuts (almonds, peanuts, pecans, walnuts)
Olive oil
Pasta
peanut butter
pure maple syrup
roasted red peppers (12-16 oz. jar)
soy sauce
Spanish or yellow onions
teriyaki sauce
Tomato paste
Tomato sauce
Vanilla extract (Pure)
Worchestershire sauce

OK, in a prefect world, we would use spices that are no more than 6 months old. Here in the real world, use this as your “get by” rule of thumb:

Keep the Critical Spices up to date, that is refresh every 6 months. It will cost you about what one good meal might cost you. Replace the Nice to Haves every 12 months. Replace all other spices at least every 24 months. They may taste closer to cardboard than the spice for which they were named, but there will at least be a slight resemblance after two years. If you have spices older than two years, you should not be cooking.

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