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Aug 11, 2005 04:08 PM

Your favorite penzey's spices

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I am placing my first order from Penzey's and am shooting blind. First let me say that I love most spices. What I am looking for are recommendations for spices that really make a difference in your cooking or the ones you can't live without/ put on everything.
Any suggestions?

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  1. I order mostly salt-free blends from penzey's... so I haven't tried some of the blends... but here are my favs.

    any of the whole peppercorns
    any of the cinnamon
    black & red seasoning (black pepper & cayenne)
    the tandoori spice is tasty
    sunny spain (salt free lemon pepper)
    smoked paprika
    fleur de sel & other sea salts.. all good.
    I also like their cocoa powder for baking... haven't tried any of the hot chocolate mixes, etc. but have been curious.

    their regular spices & herbs are nice too. we buy the refill bags of the stuff we use the most of. it is quite economical.

    enjoy penzey's.. they are great. (though I thought their new magazine was a bit lame... don't order it)

    3 Replies
    1. re: withalonge

      Thanks for all the wonderful recommendations! It's a little overwhelming paring down the choices when everything sounds so wonderful. My first trial order (before I whittled it down) came to $145.00 BEFORE shipping!!

      1. re: Ericka

        well, I don't know if you've placed your order yet... but they do have "starter" sets. the wedding packs are great... i usually get one for young couples who are starting out.

        anyway.. good luck with your penzey's order. you'll love it. and besides, the maintenance re-ordering is a bit easier on the pocket book.

        1. re: Ericka
          Marcia M. D'A.

          I love Penzey's, but there is something you should be cautious about...the amount of the spices you order. Four ozs. of bay leaves is an enormous quantity, for example. It's best to go with a small amount and see what you like...then replenish a couple of times a year.

      2. cocoa
        hot curry powder
        aleppo pepper (I LOVE the aleppo pepper)

        (I love all their spices, but these things really stand out for me)

        1. The ground chipotle pepper is something I can't live without! You'll find it listed under "chili peppers". A bit in mayonaise makes a chicken sandwich wonderful. An interesting addition to chilis, salsas, and guacamole.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Anne

            Amen. I use it all the time. My favorite is a bit on sliced ripe melons. Squeeze of lime, sprinkle of chipotle, a little salt...yum.

          2. Well, I don't use spice mixes very often, so I can't give recommendations on those. I just order from Penzey's every time I find I'm running low on regular spices. You should order what you use most in your everyday cooking - their spices are fabulous, and you will definitely notice the difference.

            My basic spice list is:
            Black pepper (I get the whole Tellicherry, though I liked the Sarawak as well)
            Paprika, hot and sweet
            Cloves (whole and ground)
            Bay leaves (whole)
            Cumin, whole and ground
            Oregano (Turkish)
            Celery seed
            Yellow mustard powder
            White pepper (whole)
            Nutmeg (whole)
            Cardomom (whole and ground)
            Coriander (whole)
            Allspice (ground and whole)
            Dill seed

            I also keep garlic and onion powders only for use in cooking Paul Prudhomme's recipes.

            But that's just me. I like to bake, and I love jerk-type seasonings, so I need the sweet spices. I have Mexican oregano, Ancho chiles, and other such, but I don't cook Mexican often, so those aren't necessities for me. They might be for you. I love Eastern European food, so both paprikas are a must. I dislike anise, and so don't often use star anise or seed anise. You get the idea.

            If nothing else, get a big bag of great peppercorns. Your cooking will improve immediately.


            1. Definitely the Vietnamese cinnamon. It makes a world of difference in my cooking.

              I really liked their new magazine!

              3 Replies
              1. re: Neta

                Re: Vietnamese it, buy it in bulk, but why stop there? I've ordered ALL the different kinds of cinnamon they have!

                1. re: Neta

                  Is there other kinds of cinnamon?!? :)
                  Love Vietnamese cinnamon!

                  1. re: Neta

                    whoops, forgot to mention the cinnamon! i go ceylon, but regardless of your preference, their cinnamon is revelation.