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To wonder wtf is happening to spices?

(72 Posts)
PickAChew Tue 29-Nov-16 10:45:06

I've noticed a general downgrading in quality, this year. I've tried and failed to find decent cardamom. Every pack I've seen has been tiny pods and the ones I've ended up with are impossible to open and often dehydrated when I do get in.

I can put that down to a bad harvest, but it doesn't explain the mixed spice I've just used for my Christmas cake. After sifting it with the flour, I was left with lots of odd little bits. Turns out that it's more than half orange peel. Yes, tasty in a cake where you want orange peel, but it's obviously there to cut costs, along with the use of cassia, instead of cinnamon.

And pimento? Just why?

LordRothermereBlackshirtCunt Tue 29-Nov-16 15:01:56

Try buying spices from an Indian supermarket.

Incidentally, I find M&S the worst place to shop for ingredients. Their supermarket is not geared towards people who actually cook.

TheSpottedZebra Tue 29-Nov-16 15:06:33

But that clearly says 'a blend of orange peel and mixed spice' ie not just mixed spice!

Agree with the Asian spices being better than the UK brand ones - even the packets in the world food aisles in the supermarket are nicer, tastier, cheaper than the ones in the glass jars in the spice section.

frikadela01 Tue 29-Nov-16 15:07:02

I never buy spices from the supermarket if I can help it. Asian supermarkets sell a huge array of really good quality spices in big bags for the same price as those little jars.
Granted I live in Bradford so there's at least 3 Asian supermarkets within walking distance of my house.

mscongeniality Tue 29-Nov-16 15:08:10

You'll find beautifully fragnant cardamom and cinnamon at any South Asian grocery store smile

DesignedForLife Tue 29-Nov-16 15:08:16

I think you bought the wrong product. That's not mixed spice, what does the front say?

TheSpottedZebra Tue 29-Nov-16 15:22:25

Actually that's true - there's no pimento in mixed spice, is there? Or caraway seeds. grin
Have you made the cake already?

wasonthelist Tue 29-Nov-16 15:24:06

Incidentally, I find M&S the worst place to shop for ingredients. Their supermarket is not geared towards people who actually cook.

Totally agree. Market stalls are good for this stuff - also, oddly, Flying Tiger - my last lot of Cardamoms from there were great.

TheSpottedZebra Tue 29-Nov-16 15:26:46

Yy to Tiger - they have quite a big bag of poppy seeds for £1, whereas they're really costly elsewhere.

previously1474907171 Tue 29-Nov-16 15:29:16

I think there has been some confusion regarding spices recently, manufacturers seem to put random things in jars and call them mixed spice. It probably depends on what type of cuisine they are aiming for and I blame the cookery programmes on TV.

I have had to stop eating curry because all the restaurants seem to have bought in a new mix of spices which is predominantly cinnamon and it is all I can taste. Unfortunately it makes me feel ill. Perhaps they have bought the mix intended for cake making.

My most recent mixed spice mix is nothing like the old ones I used to use and when it runs out I will be buying individual spices and making my own mix.

CheshireChat Tue 29-Nov-16 15:38:55

I thought it was just me as I'm not English and I am used to different blends. Maybe not then.

But be happy spices are being made popular- my PIL have no spices, none. They don't ever use them. I'd be happy if they added pretty much anything to the food.

WildebeestH Tue 29-Nov-16 15:43:32

Yanbu. We used some chilli powder from Sainsbury's recently. We've used it before and it's been fine but this time the chilli tasted awful. It turned out they'd changed the 'recipe' and instead of just being chilli powder as labelled, it had lots of garlic powder in it. I don't understand: if I wanted garlic I'd add it.

TimeIhadaNameChange Tue 29-Nov-16 15:50:50

TBH to OP there's no mention of the dried orange on the front label:

www.m-s.gr/product/mixed-spice-3/

wasonthelist Tue 29-Nov-16 15:54:10

As said upthread M&S is the LAST place I'd go looking for Herbs/Spices.

DesignedForLife Tue 29-Nov-16 15:56:08

Yeah, then what on earth are M&S up to? Who wants mixed spice that's 60% orange? Yuk!

louthemac Tue 29-Nov-16 15:56:43

I would recommend Rajah spices from any good ethnic shop.

EvansOvalPies Tue 29-Nov-16 16:05:48

Waitrose are pretty good for spices if, like me, you don't have many specialist shops near you. The last lot of cardamom pods I got from there were large and plump. They also sell the black cardamom pods.

I've ordered from an online company called Sous Chef a couple of times. They have all sorts of unusual ingredients and delivery is really quick and efficient. They cover many cuisines.

The only thing I'm struggling with at the moment is Mustard Oil - can't find it anywhere, not even on that website.

frikadela01 Tue 29-Nov-16 16:08:42

This any good for you Evans

theasiancookshop.co.uk/mustard-oil-399-p.asp?_=&variantid=4500&gclid=Cj0KEQiA6_TBBRDInaPjhcelt5oBEiQApPeTF2D9HDizZHGEFmmLdAI4vGst5_Pr8WbumVnSsR9H46YaAn9s8P8HAQ

SapphireStrange Tue 29-Nov-16 16:10:21

manufacturers seem to put random things in jars and call them mixed spice. It probably depends on what type of cuisine they are aiming for and I blame the cookery programmes on TV.

I agree with this. It's better to buy them all and mix them yourself. I make garam masala etc; just google for the exact make-up and the quantities.

I also second/third/umpteenth the recommendation of Asian shops over supermarkets.

PS not to minimise, but this IS quite a first-world problem, no? grin

mateysmum Tue 29-Nov-16 16:10:27

If you don't live near an Asian supermarket, there are some good online retailers. I use spicesofindia.co.uk but there are others. There range is huge and they often have a couple of different qualities/prices to chose from. I cook a lot of indian food and I just can't be doing with the poxy little jars you get in most supermarkets.

EvansOvalPies Tue 29-Nov-16 16:18:31

Ooh, thanks very much Frikadela - I'll save the link and take a look at that. Much appreciated. It's just that lots of chefs (including Rick Stein) say it's much better in Indian recipes than ordinary oil, and I know it's not the end of the world, but I don't know why they suggest some of these ingredients when they're so hard to get hold of.

JamieLannistersFuckButler Tue 29-Nov-16 16:22:15

The general substitution of "Cassia Cinnamon" for Cinnamon gives me the rage. I can most certainly taste the difference.

Thankfully I do know where I can get real cinnamon. Sure, it's more expensive but it tastes nicer!

frikadela01 Tue 29-Nov-16 16:31:36

Evans I've never met a single person from India/Pakistan/Bangladesh sort of region who cooked curry with anything other than ghee. It's a heart attack waiting to happen but really does make the food taste amazing.

Agree with you about bloody he's though. My bug bear is sweet smoked paprika that according Jamie fecking Oliver can be bought in every supermarket... Not round here it can't. I bought it online in the end and other than it smelling like smoky bacon crisps I've yet to see the appeal.

frikadela01 Tue 29-Nov-16 16:32:09

Chefs not he's

CantChoose Tue 29-Nov-16 16:32:58

evans on an Indian cookery course recently the chef told us that it's not legal to be sold as a consumable which is why you won't find it in most food shops. The one on that web page says 'for external use only'!

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