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Old 09-20-2018, 10:27 AM
Location: Middle of the ocean
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Any spice snobs here?

All my spices/herbs are the regular supermarket brands, unless it is uncommon.

Does anyone buy from Penzey's, The Spice House or other similar sites?

If you do, is there a noticeable difference in freshness and flavor?
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Old 09-20-2018, 11:12 AM
Location: Nantahala National Forest, NC
17,330 posts, read 3,528,493 times
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No, I buy at the grocery store but do buy Spice Islands, which is ok...

never buy large containers of herbs and spices due to decrease in freshness and flavor. Have bought say Indian spices from an Indian grocery etc.

Occasïonally will buy organics...

But always use fresh from the garden in summer.
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Old 09-20-2018, 11:22 AM
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I have not bought from Penzey's since calls got directed to political statements.
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Old 09-20-2018, 11:26 AM
Location: The analog world
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I do purchase a few things from Savory Spice Shop, but certainly not all of what I keep on hand, which mostly comes from the bulk bins at my local store. Currently, they include bay leaves (because I use them all the time, and the ones I get from the grocery store are never fresh), Aleppo pepper, Ceylon cinnamon, smoked paprika, and vanilla beans (occasionally), although my preference is to buy Grade B beans from an on-line vendor who sells them in larger quantities.

Last edited by randomparent; 09-20-2018 at 11:40 AM..
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Old 09-20-2018, 11:33 AM
Location: Eureka CA
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Everything is from COSTCO or WINCO. Every year I start an herb garden and every year it is neglected.
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Old 09-20-2018, 11:47 AM
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I've bought them all at one time or another. Generally speaking, I go to the stores with bulk spices (usually the ethnic stores) for those things which I use a LOT. Black peppercorns, chili powders, bay leaves, etc... you can buy 10x the volume of the normal grocery store, for a couple bucks, and it all seems just a Little fresher.

I special order the things that are hard to find (green chili powder, icelandic black salt, maybe a couple other things ~ they tend to throw in a free sample of something I already have). These are ALWAYS better than what I can get locally, you just pay the premium.

Then there are the random things I use, but are pretty hard to use a lot of. Cinnamon comes to mind, probably ought to just buy with the special order stuff for how little I use and the overall cost, but I get this at Aldi (discount grocery) or one of the billion different "dollar" stores around me. Kosher salt is another that just came to mind, I buy the cheapest I can find.

Very rarely do I buy anything at a normal grocery store (Kroger, Safeway, Albertsons, etc..) ~ these are the worst quality for the cost options I've found. Actually, I've pretty much stopped buying anything from these types of grocery stores. A normal weeks shopping will see 90$ spent at Aldi and $10 at Kroger (veggies, Aldi doesn't have a large selection).
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Old 09-20-2018, 01:48 PM
Location: Bloomington IN
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I have intentionally started purchasing spices from Penzey's. Decades ago I received catalogs from them when the company was new--no pictures, just a brown cover, and text. I was put off by the price a bit at the time. A few friends have recommended them over the years.

I've really been surprised how much better their spices taste. There is a particular blend, don't recall which one right now, that I've been using for grilled pork chops. For whatever reason the chops are much juicier than usual. Big thumbs up! I can't wait to try the Mexican vanilla for baking. Someone brought some back for me years ago from a vacation to Mexico. It was amazing.

I buy some spices at Sam's Club in bulk--things like garlic powder and ground black pepper. Other things that last awhile like black peppercorns, I buy small quantities from at a local ethnic market or Fresh Thyme bulk bins.

I do grow basil, thyme, parsley, oregano and some other herbs in pots on our deck and extra basil in the garden. I dry whatever isn't used fresh and use throughout the year. Among the herbs is catnip for the grandkitty I probably need to start cutting them back this weekend.
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Old 09-20-2018, 02:47 PM
Status: "Trapped but not by Minnesota" (set 6 days ago)
Location: Somwhere
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I like to get them from the bulk jars at the health food store. Good stores might carry 50 to 100 different spices.
I can buy just a pinch of something, or a whole big bag.
And I don't have to pay for a jar each time.
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Old 09-20-2018, 07:22 PM
Location: Moku Nui, Hawaii
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Yup, what steiconi said. The bulk jars at the health food store have fresher stuff for a fraction of the price of the bottled ones at a grocery store. Generally all the spices get replaced at the beginning of the year since it's not that expensive and it keeps them fresh. We also have quite a few of them growing around the yard. Bay leaf, oregano, assorted mints, basils, lavender, rosemary, etc. We just pick those when we want them.
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Old 09-20-2018, 08:13 PM
Location: San Antonio, TX
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Don't buy Penzey's unless you're ready to get hooked on them. They do taste much better than the jars I get at the grocery store. Some of their blends are addictive...Sunny Paris, for example.

I can't buy spices from the bulk bins anymore because of the risk of cross contamination, but they weren't as good as Penzey's when I could buy them.
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