Spices and herbs(20 Posts)
I want to start cooking 'properly' now I have more time and a functional new kitchen.
Just been looking at the fab favourite recipes thread, my seasoning/spice 'collection' is dire!
I chucked so many out of date and used once spice jars out prior to the old kitchen being ripped out, and I'd like to build up a decent and useful stock.
Which are your must haves? Any advice on storage?
Which would you go for to start with? Any preference on brands v's own label?
Can you buy 'sets' of spices? Thank you!
It depends quite a lot on your tastes really. I'm not a fan of dried herbs, with the exception of oregano I tend to opt for fresh or the frozen ones in wa Aitor's. I do however have a jar of dried mixed herbs and another of dried Italian herbs which are ok if chucked into a stew or something that's going to be cooked low and slow.
With spices I send to use fresh chillis, ginger and garlic. I use a smoked paprika quite a lot and some Garam masala and curry powder which are both spice mixes but handy for curries. Cumin and coriander seeds also good for curries. Oh and I have some cayenne pepper and cinnamon (which I use in both sweet and savoury dishes). Also like the ready mixed Cajun spice which is really handy for meat and fish. People always recommend ethnic supermarkets for spices but I just get them at Sainsbury's or whatever.
A couple of tips off the top of my head:
If you're really motivated and have a spice grinder (or small coffee grinder), bypass the ground spices and get the whole versions (cinnamon sticks, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, etc.) that you grind yourself when you need them.
Avoid generic paprika and get the good quality stuff - it makes a difference. I don't have any brands to suggest as I get mine in sachets from the market. I get regular and strong Hungarian paprika.
We grow our own bay leaves and pick them as and when.
Watch out for the inclusion of salt in ready-made spice blends.
I wouldn't bother with the sets of spices that come with their own storage unit as you may find that your collection "outgrows" it.
I keep mine in a cupboard away from light.
I love all spices but the most popular ones I use are cumin, coriander, turmeric, oregano and chilli powder, you can use all these spices in Mexican and Indian food.
I love one pot meals you can add what ever you want and taste along the way and keep adding more. I also use a lot of fresh basil and coriander and to save waste you can chop them up and put them in to tubs/bags and freeze and get them out when you need them.
This year is the first year I bought already potted herbs and planted them in a pot, I kept it simple and just did 3 but it was a great feeling putting fresh herbs on your meal, it does really give it so much more flavour ( you just have to remember to water them 🙈) I recently bought a spice rack from amazon as a gift to get my friend started in her new home, she loved it amazon do great ones with stands and racks.
I personally thing shop brands are fine and if your just starting out it keeps the price down.
One last thing which I love is pink himalayan salt, that's a must in my kitchen, it looks pretty 😂 only kidding, no seriously it has much more health benefits than normal salt. Hope that helps.
I love my spices!
Dried herbs - generally only go for the woody ones ( oregano, thyme, rosemary, sage etc.) the fleshy ones ( mint, basil, corriander) are much better fresh. Herbs and spices that freeze well from fresh are fresh ginger, chillies, curry leaves, kafir lime leaves.
Basic spices - cumin, corriander seed, turmeric, cinnamon, dried ginger, chilli, cloves, mustard seed, garam masala, cardamon, star anise...
More exotic ones saffron, sumac, dried limes, za'atar, amchoor powder, asafoetida, sasafras, screw pine, truffle oil...
Supermarket spices are absolutely fine, but you will have more choice and cheaper spices at an ethnic shop if there are any near you.
What sort of food do you enjoy, or want to cook?
I buy my spices from the world foods aisle in the supermarket. You can get a fairly big bag for less than the price of the Schwartz jars. I decant them into glass spice jars that are very cheap in Ikea.
Oooh weedsneeds, I'm coveting your spice drawers/cabinet, is that fitted into your kitchen? Where did you get it please?
Bluesheep It was being thrown out from an old pharmacy, I rescued it and had it built in when the kitchen was done.
It's an old house and has no kitchen other than a sink and cooker when I moved in, so all the cupboards etc. were built to fit ( wonky walls and low ceiling). The cabinet was a lucky find, but it's perfect for the job.
I chucked all mine out and bought new from Seasoned Pioneers.
They don't really nice blends.
As above I only use dried herbs like oregano and thyme.
Dried dill tastes like dust
I buy bags of spices and decent into small thin spice jars and I label the tops. Keep the jars in plastic trays so easy to get the whole tray out and find what I want.
I have so many! Use them all.
I would just buy a herbs and spices as and when you need them for a recipe to build up a collection.
For most ‘english’ herbs I use fresh from the garden or buy a fresh bunch.
Dill seeds (don’t actuslly use these v much)
Chinese 5 spice
I have frozen ginger - amazing. I’m never fuckkng about peeling ginger again!
@ weedsneeds what a lucky find- It's fabulous, I need one in my life!
Jamaican all purpose seasoning is a good one to add to those listed above - also caraway seeds.
@5rivers7hills where do you get your frozen ginger? Not had a good one ...
Love this thread!
Smoked paprika, garlic powder, cumin, turmeric
Fresh thyme, parsley, chives and rosemary
Frozen ginger, garlic and chilli in small tubs from Sainsburys are excellent.
Angela Hartnett was asked about out of date spices on a TV show once and she just said use more - they don't go bad they just lose flavour.
I get packets from the Asian aisle in the supermarket - will cost between about £5 and £10 to get all you need and they'll last ages - keep in airtight jars (eg from Ikea or old coffee jars) and they'll last ages - if they go out of date, just use a bit more.
I get cumin, coriander, turmeric, garam masala, chilli powder, cumin seeds (for pilau rice).
I use frozen crushed garlic and ginger - much cheaper and easier than buying fresh if you have a good Asian section in the supermarket (Asda or Tesco sell big 400 g packs for just over £1).
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