Four Ways to Build an Interesting, Diverse Spice Stash

Four Ways to Build an Interesting, Diverse Spice Stash

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Sarah Rae Smith
Jul 12, 2010

We've all been there — standing with an open cookbook, looking at a mouthwatering recipe and realizing that the successful completion of that dish involves a trip to the store. Having a well-stocked spice and seasoning cabinet can not only save you time, but it will give you greater scope for creativity and experimentation. Here are four ways to branch out and build up a spice cabinet that will serve you well when cooking all sorts of cuisine!

Sometimes it can feel a little overwhelming to fill your pantry with new and foreign spices. It can also be quite pricey depending on your shopping locations and we're here to make things as cheap and painless as possible. Have another idea? Make sure to let us know in the comments below!

1. Head To The Bookstore: Although this task can be done online quite easily, sometimes it can be quicker to head to your local bookstore and more specifically the cookbook section. Sit down with several books that represent different ethnic cuisines and start taking notes. Pick 5 dishes and pull out the seasonings that appear to be the same. They'll most likely be repeated in multiple dishes and will ensure your confidence that you'll be purchasing something you could use more than once.

2. Buy From Bulk Vendors: We're not talking about buying a large amount of spices, but rather smaller amounts from dealers that sell from bulk supplies. Try your local farmer's market or specialty shop to secure smaller amounts of spices at far more economical prices without having to pay for bulky packaging and shakers that only take up space in your spice set up.

3. Check Out Local Ethnic Markets: Event though this sounds a little obvious, it can be easy to assume your local grocer will carry everything you need in the spice department. That's true for many of the basics and even a few oddities that are becoming more frequently used, but to truly stock up, head to say, your local Chinese market for seasonings and spices at cheap prices and ridiculous abundance.

4. Buy Fresh And Freeze: Some ingredients take well to being frozen (hello ginger and kaffir lime leaves) and are best bought fresh and then tossed in your freezer for better storage. Don't be afraid to load up on herbs at the farmer's market and freeze them in ice cube trays with small amounts of water.

Related: Kitchen Tour: Devesh and Tara's Spice Pantry

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