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Jan 14, 2007 12:07 AM

Totally redoing my pantry herbs and spices...any suggestionstions? [Moved from Home Cooking]

I know fresh is better, but not always practical. So I'm starting from scratch, throwing away the stuff that's been in my cupboard for way too long. Any store or specialty brands that you recommend?

(not sure why this was moved from Home Cooking since it's all for cooking at home. Oh well...)

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  1. Penzeys, if you live close to one, or don't mind mail order.

    Local ethnic grocery stores, especially Indian. You can find the most amazing deals on spices at ethnic grocery stores - like the 1 lb. bag of cinnamon sticks I got this past october, for 4.99.

    1. senyc - great idea to get rid of the brown-green mystery stuff that accumulates in cabinets and tastes like dust. Don't apologize for using dried herbs & spices. All of us do, especially when fresh isn't practical or available. For long-cooking items like stews, the dried is preferable anyway.

      I second Penzey's as a great option as well as local, ethnic shops. My Asian, Mexican and Middle Eastern markets have fabulous selections, fresh product and great prices - a tough combination to beat. In every shop, I have been invited to sniff to my heart's content AND I get answers to my questions.

      1. For herbs and ground spices, get the smallest size container unless you use significantly more amounts in a few month at a time or it's an herb like oregano that has a lot of staying power. Getting larger containers may seem more frugal, but it's really waste disguised as faux frugality.