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Old 07-04-2014, 07:50 AM
 
Location: The analog world
15,622 posts, read 8,749,121 times
Reputation: 20936

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Buying spices from the Hispanic foods section is one way to lower the prices, but even a high-end market selling Frontier bulk spices will save you a ton. Buy some empty spice jars, or just reuse your old ones. Take them to Whole Foods/Sprouts/Vitamin Cottage and have them weighed at customer service. Then, fill the jars up from the bulk spice containers. I do this once a year or so.

I think it ran about $11 to purchase most everything I needed for 2014: two types of salt, black peppercorns, cinnamon, cumin, fennel, aniseed, mustard seed, cardamom, cayenne pepper, cloves, ground ginger, nutmeg, and bay leaves. I also made a big batch of custom chili seasoning that included a few other spices and dried herbs. Finally, I ordered a package of vanilla beans on-line to make extract and vanilla sugar, which ran about $7 plus shipping. My MIL gifted me with a jar of Herbs de Provence earlier this year. I love to sprinkle a bit on salad dressed with a simple vinaigrette. Delicious!

When winter arrives, I'll see what I have left and adjust. I doubt I'll replace the fennel, aniseed, or cayenne for next year. I had plans to use them, but I just don't cook with them often enough to justify the space in the cabinet. I'll probably add crushed red pepper flakes for 2015. Right now, I'm working my way through a stash of foil packets left over from an emergency pizza order. Possibly allspice this fall, too, since it looks like the late snow didn't ruin the neighborhood apple harvest after all. Yay, cobbler! If my MIL's garden sage did well this year (it's the one thing she grows better than me), I'll gather up some bunches, hang them to dry for a few weeks, and then pulverize the leaves for winter cooking. Creamy cannelini beans dressed with sage butter is my ultimate comfort food.

As for herbs, I've already mentioned that I keep a bunch of parsley in a cup of water by the stove. I also use thyme regularly, so I'll either transplant the one from the garden into a pot to keep indoors until spring or buy a new one. Also chives. My MIL keeps a large upright rosemary in her kitchen window, so I cut a branch from it every couple of weeks through the winter. Garlic? Yes, please! And, of course, lemons. Little can't be made to taste better with a squeeze or two of lemon.

Last edited by randomparent; 07-04-2014 at 08:57 AM..
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Old 07-04-2014, 09:33 AM
 
266 posts, read 219,844 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ssww View Post
I see animals eating grass and other stuffs without any spices and they seem to enjoy every meal

Maybe if you bring up your pet dog or cat feeding them with spiced food then they will complain when given food with no spice
My dog will eat horse manure if I let him.
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Old 07-04-2014, 11:17 AM
 
2,442 posts, read 1,797,337 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nmnita View Post
I sometimes drive to the Amish store about 20 miles from here. They have spices at less than 1/2 the price. Yes, I do usually throw them out and start over every year or so.

Now as for your comments about good quality fruits and veggies do not require a lot of spices, you are right, they do not require, but the OP is talking about no spices. I think that is the issue here. And there are things that do need spices. How do you make a sauce for instance without any spices or how does not make an apple pie without out any spices? It doesn't have anything to do with how the produce is grown. I grow a lot of my own in the summer or we buy from local, small farms. We still use spices.
The issue for me is that sure, good veg taste nice, but without herbs or spices, that's all they taste like. We only eat about ten veg regularly, that gets boring fast, especially considering they're seasonal. I even get bored with plain asparagus after a month in spring. By putting mint in the peas, or paprika on the roasted potatoes you can have some varied tastes.
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Old 07-04-2014, 11:22 AM
 
2,442 posts, read 1,797,337 times
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For cheap spices, an ethnic store is even better than the ethnic aisle of the supermarket. But I'm not sure how much I actually save, since the packets are so huge.

Quote:
Originally Posted by WoodstockSchool1980 View Post
You can make an approximation without all the spices, but it will never be right. I grew up in India and there at least 20 of them that you missed, that are essntial. Yes, spices, not herbs or other things. I know the difference. And you listed more than 6.
That's the difference, I'm not Indian, so an approximation is close enough for me, same as I approximate my Turkish and Italian and Moroccan and German and Spanish and Malaysian and Japanese foods. I'd need to build an extension to my house to hold all the spices.


(ssssh, don't tell, but I don't even put chillis in my Ras El Hanout)
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Old 07-04-2014, 12:33 PM
 
477 posts, read 375,525 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cleveland_Collector View Post
At last check, I had about 80 different spices in the pantry. I don't know why you would want to cook without them.
We just moved. I have at least 3 boxes full of spices to unpack yet. That's not counting the saffron I carried with me rather than expose it to heat and humidity involved in a 3 day cross-country move in high summer. Buying spices to replace all that would have been a LOT more expensive than the relatively small amount of space required to move them.

I cannot imagine cooking with salt and pepper only. It reminds me of what my dad used to say about the extremely restrictive diets proposed by various of his doctors - "It won't make me live longer. It'll just make it SEEM longer."
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Old 07-04-2014, 01:11 PM
 
Location: CO
2,456 posts, read 2,439,044 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by randomparent View Post
Buying spices from the Hispanic foods section is one way to lower the prices, but even a high-end market selling Frontier bulk spices will save you a ton. Buy some empty spice jars, or just reuse your old ones. Take them to Whole Foods/Sprouts/Vitamin Cottage and have them weighed at customer service. Then, fill the jars up from the bulk spice containers. I do this once a year or so.

I think it ran about $11 to purchase most everything I needed for 2014: two types of salt, black peppercorns, cinnamon, cumin, fennel, aniseed, mustard seed, cardamom, cayenne pepper, cloves, ground ginger, nutmeg, and bay leaves. I also made a big batch of custom chili seasoning that included a few other spices and dried herbs. Finally, I ordered a package of vanilla beans on-line to make extract and vanilla sugar, which ran about $7 plus shipping. My MIL gifted me with a jar of Herbs de Provence earlier this year. I love to sprinkle a bit on salad dressed with a simple vinaigrette. Delicious!

When winter arrives, I'll see what I have left and adjust. I doubt I'll replace the fennel, aniseed, or cayenne for next year. I had plans to use them, but I just don't cook with them often enough to justify the space in the cabinet. I'll probably add crushed red pepper flakes for 2015. Right now, I'm working my way through a stash of foil packets left over from an emergency pizza order. Possibly allspice this fall, too, since it looks like the late snow didn't ruin the neighborhood apple harvest after all. Yay, cobbler! If my MIL's garden sage did well this year (it's the one thing she grows better than me), I'll gather up some bunches, hang them to dry for a few weeks, and then pulverize the leaves for winter cooking. Creamy cannelini beans dressed with sage butter is my ultimate comfort food.

As for herbs, I've already mentioned that I keep a bunch of parsley in a cup of water by the stove. I also use thyme regularly, so I'll either transplant the one from the garden into a pot to keep indoors until spring or buy a new one. Also chives. My MIL keeps a large upright rosemary in her kitchen window, so I cut a branch from it every couple of weeks through the winter. Garlic? Yes, please! And, of course, lemons. Little can't be made to taste better with a squeeze or two of lemon.
I had no idea you could take empty spice bottles to the stores mentioned and do as you suggested. I think you have all your bases covered when it comes to spices! How long can you keep the parsley in the cup of water by the stove? The things I learn on C-D.
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Old 07-04-2014, 01:13 PM
 
Location: Alaska
4,946 posts, read 4,338,350 times
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The parsley that I have cut and placed in a glass of water in the refrigerator lasted several weeks. It was from my garden - I don't know if that had anything to do with its longevity. I believe that refrigeration (cool temperatures) and darkness helps keep the parsley longer - it kind of goes into a torpor state.
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Old 07-04-2014, 01:25 PM
 
Location: The analog world
15,622 posts, read 8,749,121 times
Reputation: 20936
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lost Roses View Post
I had no idea you could take empty spice bottles to the stores mentioned and do as you suggested. I think you have all your bases covered when it comes to spices! How long can you keep the parsley in the cup of water by the stove? The things I learn on C-D.
A week or so if I change the water every day and trim the stems. A lot of people do put herbs in the fridge, loosely covered with a plastic bag, but I like the touch of green on my kitchen counter in winter, and seeing the parsley right next to the stove helps remind me to use it up.

As for the rest of my spices, I found that I saved a ton of money when I stopped buying pre-packaged mixes and started making my own. I can make a huge jar of chili seasoning for a fraction of the cost of a commercial brand if I buy small amounts of the necessary ingredients from the bulk containers. No need to buy a $5 jar of dried oregano if all I need is a TBSP I can buy for ten cents.

Just finished making some whole grain mustard from scratch for less than a 1/4 the cost of Maille, and it is great if I may say so myself. My daughter is quite the mustard connoisseur, and she gave it two thumbs up!

Last edited by randomparent; 07-04-2014 at 02:05 PM..
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Old 07-05-2014, 01:16 PM
 
Location: Houston, TX
17,032 posts, read 26,025,365 times
Reputation: 16166
Growing up in the Midwest, many of my meals had salt and pepper as the spices.

Living down south I feel like I was an abused child. I rarely if ever use plain salt in my foods. I add cheeses, chili/black/cayenne/lemon peppers, garlic, some Tony Chacheries (contains salt), salsa, lemons/limes. Bay leafs for beans and sauces.
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Old 07-05-2014, 02:53 PM
 
6,952 posts, read 8,878,222 times
Reputation: 7800
Well-made food with flavorful ingredients can be sensational with only salt and pepper, or even less than that. I grew up in a household with NO spices tolerated. The food was fine.
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