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Friday Tip|Bulk Spices!

Mustard seeds waiting to be made into something delicious

Yeah yo, it’s Friday!  Tip time!!

This week’s tip is all about saving money (which we love).  Your cooking will improve exponentially with some good quality spices.  The problem?  They cost a boatload of money!

Not to fret, friends, not to fret.  You can get bulk spices at your nicer stores (think co-ops and heath food…if you’re really lucky you live someplace where there is a Tenzing Momo), at a lot of ethnic-oriented markets (Indian stores are particularly good), and sometimes even at the regular ol’ market (look for little bags of spices hanging on the endcap racks).  But first, you need containers.

If you’re like me, you’ll just go ahead and buy the McCormick’s $6 bottle of whatever and then use it to refill with your super cheap bulk spices later.  This eliminates the (very minor) problem of labeling your spices (which is quite important, especially if you’re just learning your way around some of the less common ones – there is a marked difference between cumin and cardamom, and you’ll be surprised in a not-so-pleasant way if you confuse them).

If you want to get a little more Martha Stewart about it, you can buy this cute magnetic setand label them yourself. Much more attractive than my recycling style.

Either way, I do encourage you to buy bulk spices. They will be 3 to 4 times cheaper than they are if you buy them in containers, and you can usually control how much you buy, which will allow you to get enough to last you no more than 3 to 6 months. You really shouldn’t keep spices longer than that – they lose their potency*.

Hope that’s helpful!

Cheers.

Yes, that means you should toss that 4 year old jar of oregano flakes that have disintegrated into powder. It won’t hurt you, but it’s not doing anything good for your spaghetti sauce

2 Comments

  1. David says:

    You can also order spices through Penzey’s, and I’ve found their bulk prices to be even somewhat cheaper than what you can get in stores.

    Or, you can start making your own (which I plan to start doing at some point soon).
    David´s last blog post ..K- Pillsbury Pinwheel Cookies – The recipe

  2. Mitch says:

    For storage I found that 4oz mason jars work great. They are inexpensive and generally come with their own labels.

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