For all you busy bees, there’s nothing wrong with buying a convenient, pre-made spice mix. That being said, it’s a great idea to make your own to really understand what you’re putting in your food. Here a quick guide to spice mixes:
- Cajun Spice: Salt, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, black pepper, red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper, dried oregano and thyme. Great cajun spice recipe.
- Chinese Five-Spice: Star anise, cloves, cinnamon, Sichuan pepper, ground fennel seeds.
- Curry powder: Coriander, tumeric, cumin, fenugreek, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, black pepper, clove, ginger, garlic. Note that these ingredients vary greatly..
- Herbes de Provence: These mixtures typically contain savory, fennel, basil, thyme, rosemary, sage, marjorom and lavender leaves.
- Italian Seasoning: Oregano, basil, rosemary, and thyme.
- Montreal Steak Spice: This varies but main spices include garlic, coriander, cayenne, Salt, pepper and dill seed.
- Ras Al Hanout: Nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon, cumin, cayenne, ginger, close, coriander, saffron, pepper and turmeric. I got this from a culinary class – it’s amazing for a Morrocan stew
- Seasoned salt: Salt, thyme, oregano, cayenne, paprika, garlic powder, cumin, coriander.
If you are buying “allspice”, it is a dried, unripe fruit (bigger than a whole black pepper) and is not actually made up of several spices. There are grocery stores that may sell “Allspice” and have ingredients such as cloves, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Although it may be similar in taste, it is not the same.
Steps to making your own spices and seasonings:
- When you are buying dried spices and herbs, make a habit to label and create a system for yourself.
- Buy a mortar and pestle! It’s a fabulous way to grind your dried herbs to the consistency you want and great for small batches that you can use immediately for your meal. If you don’t have a mortar and pestle, you can use a food processor, a rolling pin or other creative tools around the house.
- Taste it and adjust as needed.
- Put your new seasoning into an airtight jar and label it (masking tape is great for this). You can also store in a zip lock bag, but note that some spices may get stale or get hard over time (powder formed spices like garlic powder tend to harden).
- Use it as often as you need!
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