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Old 02-01-2011, 06:55 AM
 
Location: Houston, TX
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So I'm doing my semi-annual cookup shopping for the Super Bowl. When I get my bill at the checkout, I'm astonished at the price, as I mainly bought spices and seasonings. No wonder there was a lucrative spice trade a few generations ago (Maybe there still is, seeing the prices). Also it seems certain markets cater to only one brand of spice, this is probably pretty lucrative...
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Old 02-01-2011, 07:24 AM
 
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I try to avoid buying spices at the supermarket. They have limited selections, high prices, and the freshness of the spices is questionable.

I've been ordering spices online from Penzeys for years and have been happy with their service, selection, prices, and freshness; Penzeys Spices Home Page

For bulk spices that I use a lot of (garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, etc) I get a couple of local restaurant owners to order them from their suppliers. It's substantially cheaper than buying retail.
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Old 02-01-2011, 07:25 AM
 
Location: The Hall of Justice
25,907 posts, read 34,981,619 times
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I try to never buy spices at the grocery store, other than table salt. I needed cinnamon sticks for a hot punch around Christmastime ... $8! Luckily, my husband remembered we already had some in the pantry.

I buy almost all my spices from Penzey's. They have an online store, but we are fortunate to live near one of their brick-and-mortar shops. You can buy most of their herbs and spices in small bags, which is plenty for several jars' full. For instance, cumin--in the grocery store, you'd probably pay $6 or so for a jar of Spice Islands or McCormick. It's about $4.50 for three or four times the amount at Penzey's, or you can buy a small jar for under $3.

I used to work a few doors down from a Container Store, where I bought a bunch of glass jars for $1 - $2 apiece. Penzey's sells them too. Much more economical.


Outback, great minds think alike!
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Old 02-01-2011, 07:31 AM
 
Location: Philaburbia
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The Spice House in Milwaukee is my little extravagance:

http://www.thespicehouse.com/
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Old 02-01-2011, 08:41 AM
 
Location: Heading to the NW, 4 sure.
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Thanks for the post.
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Old 02-01-2011, 08:50 AM
 
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spices are expensive, which leads most people to keep them for years after they've lost most of their punch. here's a handy utility mccormick set up to encourage people to buy some fresh stuff:

How Old Are Your Spices | McCormick® Live deliciously™
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Old 02-01-2011, 09:12 AM
 
Location: Middle America
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I personally think Penzey's is prohibitively expensive in many cases (I get their catalog, and also live near one of their brick and mortar stores. There are occasional things I do get from them that aren't very available, otherwise, but I don't get the bulk of my spices from them.

The grocery store I shop at has both pricier brands and inexpensive brands. I find that the best and most cost-effective spices come from ethnic grocery stores, and are often sold in bulk/in bags. Not incredibly helpful unless you live in a fairly populous area that is given to ethnic grocers, of course, but that's also not always the universal case. My small, rural hometown of 7,000 has a large migrant/hispanic population, and does have several Mexican-run grocery stores that carry a lot of inexpensive bulk spices, much cheaper than the mainstream groceries. I also find that World Market has good prices on bagged spices.

As others have mentioned, it can be better to buy spices in smaller portions and use them up as quickly as you can, so they don't lose potency. Bulk isn't always best, unless it's something you use a lot of, and frequently.

Herbs are something I rarely buy/use dried. It's more cost-effective and more yummy to grow my own.
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Old 02-01-2011, 09:22 AM
 
Location: Illinois
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Cool sites.. Thanks!!!
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Old 02-01-2011, 09:39 AM
 
Location: Philaburbia
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If any of y'all live near Kroger stores, keep an eye out for the half-price spice sales.
Quote:
Originally Posted by TabulaRasa View Post
Herbs are something I rarely buy/use dried. It's more cost-effective and more yummy to grow my own.
Me, too. Herbs like dill, parsley, rosemary, thyme, sage etc. are so easy to grow and dry.

If only I could grow a cinnamon tree in Zone 6b ...
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Old 02-01-2011, 10:21 AM
 
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Trader Joes, and bizarrely, Whole Foods, often have several spice options for much less than you'll pay in the grocery store. You can also get great prices in the ethnic supermarkets if you have any nearby.
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