Spicing Things Up

by Kellene

Last year I wrote an article that discussed some of my common “spice of life” staples.  I simply must have caraway seeds, nutmeg, chili paste, basil, oregano, garlic, and other like items on hand. If I don’t grow them myself, then I insist on buying them in bulk and preserving them in a mason jar with my Food saver jar attachment.  However, today I thought I’d share with you one of my sources which I utilize for buying spices in bulk.  It won’t do you any good to mention my name or anything. They undoubtedly don’t know me as well as they would recognize spice residue on their packaging floor. However, I know that I appreciate the peace of mind and savings that I get from them.

When it comes to paying $5 to $10 for just a smidgen of spices, I truly do appreciate the prices that I can pay for spices by the pound. Simple go to: Sahuaro Spice Co. They are located in Phoenix, AZ. Their number is 602-272-8557. You can see a great deal more about them at www.sahuarospiceco.com These spices are quite fresh—none of this remnant stuff. Vacuum sealing isn’t necessary, but I prefer to divide up what I’ve purchased, and then vacuum seal what I won’t put in my spice cabinet right away.

Keep in mind that when it comes to comfort food, the aromas of the food can be just as comforting as the consumption of it.  The rule in my kitchen is IF I CAN add a spice (that won’t deter my husband from eating something) then I will. Why have plain Jane when you can experience gourmet goodness?  I find that spices are the number one change that I make to recipes that I adapt. I’m convinced that spicing things up a bit is why I can get away with using so much “pantry food” that others might not feel comfortable with.

For example, a touch of cinnamon and nutmeg goes in nearly every chicken soup or stew that I make. I especially find the two flavors comforting in a yummy chicken and dumplings recipe.  I also like the addition of poppy seeds to various chicken recipes as well as the underappreciated spice, coriander.  Pork loves to be spiced up a bit too, especially as a rub on both sides before putting it in the oven.  I like to peruse multiple recipes of the same dish and see what types of spices folks put in them. My finished dish ends up being a collage of all of the other recipes and with rave reviews.  I’ll never forget the day that I discovered that roasted, pureed pears and rosemary tasted great on pork chops!

While some may have “wheat, beans, rice, sugar, and oil” on their long-term pantry list, I have things like capers, onion pearls, liquid smoke, Chinese Five Spice, and yellow curry on mine. I think the spices in our lives can truly make the difference between surviving and thriving.

Growing your own spices can’t be easier. I do NOT have a green thumb by any stretch of the imagination. Thus I was shocked to see that last year’s herb garden which I had put in my front “flower garden space” had started smiling lush colors of green at me as early as last week; fresh rosemary, parsley, and thyme.  I couldn’t believe that they survived so effortlessly through our Utah winter. I love the aromas as I walk out my front door. They are beautiful foliage that has purpose in life.  So my suggestion, grow it or buy it in bulk. Liven up those plain old dishes with something special.

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Comments

Good post. I think stockpiling spices is essential to making food storage food taste better as well as they may be good for trading/bartering. One of the places I buy my spices from is the San Francisco Herb Company ( http://www.sfherb.com/ ). The quality is top notch, and the prices are the lowest of anywhere I've seen, but because they are so low, they have a minimum order of $30 so I'll usually go in with family or friends.

Great reminder. Thanks. About 20 minutes ago I picked parsley, oregano and rosemary to add to dinner tonight. Gotta love those herbs! I buy my other spices from Mountain Rose Herbs http://mountainroseherbs.com/ You can purchase 4 oz or 1 lb. packages. They come in sealed, recloseable bags. They also have spice blends :)

Thanks for this post, Kellene. I've been buying multi-pound-size quantities of spices at Sam's Club but it's nice to know where bulk spices can be bought fresh. I've got about 30 quarts of spices in my cupboard at the moment. I need more! :)

Kellene,
Are these organic spices (without chemicals)? I would ask Chris and Christine the same thing about their posted sources. Thanks everyone.

Preparedness Pro's picture

I do as much as I can without chemicals. These particular spices don't have chemicals. I don't know about the others though. I'm sure their individuals websites can easily answer that questions though.

Which brings up another question... Is anybody trying to go organic in their prepping/storage?

m,
I have tried to go organic as much as possible.

For staples and grains, I bought organic in bulk from Whole Foods, tropicaltraditions.com, usaemergencysupply.com. Then we borrowed a #10 canner and canned our own.

For fruits and veggies, since I couldn't find organic stuff commercially available, I use mostly freeze-dried to avoid the preservatives. It's often cheaper. I also have a supply of organic water-pack canned veggies, that I rotate through. Organic canned fruit is too expensive for me, but Costco has been running frozen organic berries at $2 / lb.--I may can some later this year. My snacking fruit (dates, dried apricots, figs, prunes) is organic from www.nutsonline.com or www.bulkfoodsonline.com.

Sadly, there is no powdered organic milk in bulk. For meat, the nicest meat I found nationally was www.sevensons.net/ where they sell canned meat, but it's grassfed or natural. As of about a year ago, the FDA wouldn't let them ship it out of Illinois, but they were hoping that would change. So it's worth an inquiry.

Hope that helps.

I got my 1st 5 spice and curry and I'm having fun experimenting with them in foods. Thanks for the idea.
Just an FYI store your spices whole if possible they last 3 times as long and a coffee bean grinder just for spice grinding and mixing is great addition. Makes using whole spices a breeze.

@m I am trying to go as "natural" or unprocessed as possible on most items. I am raising bunnies and a garden but I don't think I qualify as organic. I'm trying to be self-sustaining. I think you will find a lot of good info on how to have less overprocessed foods on this site. If you look at Kellene's Catagories menu you will find some great info to use.

Great article. I buy my spices at www.starwestbotannicals.com. They offer conventional and organic, in everything from jars, to small bags, to 1# mylar resealable bags. I was sold when I found out I could get a pound of organic basil for less than what a jar usually costs. Plus they have curry powders and exotic spices.

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