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Herbs & Spices

If you are just setting up your household, you'll need to keep some basic herbs and spices on hand to be prepared for any recipe. Although some of those spice racks may be attractive and handy cute, it is best to store all herbs and spices in a cool, dark place away from heat and light sources. You can purchase inexpensive turntables to fit inside your cabinet for easier accessibility. There are many, many more types of herbs and spices, and I have a second turntable of the unusual ones, but unless you plan to do a lot of cooking or have a preference for an unusual item, donít purchase it until you need it.

Grocery stores donít necessarily have the freshest and best herbs and spices.† Check out the web for specialty markets such as American Spice or Penzeys. †

Herbs and spices will definitely lose their potency with age, and seeds such as poppy and sesame will get rancid. Most whole herbs and spices will retain their flavor about one year, while dried and ground versions are best used within six months. Dried herbs should be crushed between the palms of your hands to release their flavor before adding to recipes. As a general rule for most herbs, one teaspoon of dried herb can be substituted for one tablespoon of chopped fresh herb. This is a general guide. Consider your own tastes when you select your pantry basics.

Hint:† Herbs and spices should be added toward the end of the stovetop cooking cycle if you are making things that take a long time such as spaghetti sauce or stew.† However, a rule of thumb is to usually follow the recipe and let experience be your guide.

         Allspice, ground and whole

         Anise

         Basil, dried

         Bay leaves

         Cardamom powder

         Caraway seed

         Cayenne powder

         Celery seed or salt

         Chili powder

         Chives, dried

         Cinnamon, ground and sticks

         Cloves, ground and whole

         Coriander, ground

         Cream of tartar

         Cumin, ground

         Curry powder

         Dill weed, seed

         Fennel seeds

         Five-spice powder

         Garlic powder

         Ginger, ground

         Italian seasoning

         Lemon pepper

         Marjoram, dried

         Mint, dried

         Mustard, dried ground & seed

         Nutmeg, ground or whole

         Onion powder, flakes

         Oregano, dried

         Paprika, Hungarian sweet

         Parsley flakes

         Pepper, cayenne & dried red flakes

         Peppercorns; ground or whole, black & white

         Pickling spice

         Poppy seeds

         Poultry seasoning

         Rosemary, dried

         Saffron

         Sage, dried

         Salt; table, kosher & sea

         Sesame seeds, toasted or plain

         Tarragon, dried

         Thyme, dried

         Turmeric

         Vanilla extract

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