At some point Take Out and pre-made convenience foods becomes unsustainable because of cost and health. As cooking at home increases, so does the need for a supply of herbs and spices.
This week let’s Take Stock of our Spice Cabinet.
Basic seasonings in the Spice Cabinet:
There are a few things that make developing a spice cabinet challenging:
Price (many herbs, spices and other seasonings are expensive),
Unfamiliarity (how to use them),
Aging (while most don’t “expire” they do lose potency and effectiveness)
Often, when we are starting to build our Spice Cabinet, we are tempted to purchase a “spice set” to save money. However, while attractive, these sets often provide low-quality/stale herbs and spices and include items that you will not use. Rather than buying a set, buy the spices you need as you make your standard recipes. As you try new things, you will naturally add a bottle of this, a bottle of that.
Another way for some households is to start with spice mixes rather than individual spices. Taco seasoning, Chili seasoning, Herbs de Provence, Monterey Steak Seasoning, Italian Seasoning, Curry Powder, etc. Eventually, we realize even these mixes can be made at home and might move into “ingredient” herbs and spices.
As for the “aging” of your seasonings, while they don’t necessarily go bad, we tend to hang on to them longer than we ought to. Here is a helpful video that covers the storage limits of various herbs and spices:
How to Stock Your Pantry: Herbs & Spices
So, when you Take Stock of your Spice Cabinet this week, determine which ones you want to keep because you use them regularly, be honest about which ones you probably aren’t going to be using and can discard, and determine which ones should be replaced because they are getting too old to be effective.
What’s in your Spice Cabinet?
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