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Placing an order with Penzeys. What's a must-have?


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  1. I don't know, but I'm watching with interest because I'd like to get some more exotic stuff too...

    1. there's a rather long thread on this subject from not too long ago...cinnamon & pepper are amongst the big faves...here's a link.


      1. their ground cumin is sublime, and I could never do without their hot and medium chile powders.

        1 Reply
        1. re: mke2lax

          Their ground cumin is wonderful...

        2. The crushed red pepper is great, as is the kosher salt. I also second the cinnamon and the pepper corns. Finally, the vanilla (beans too if you will use them)! I also use the almond extract which is excellent and pretty strong (in a good way). I love Penzey's and was so excited when they opened in NYC!

          1. I almost forgot, my fiance also loves the bavarian seasoning on grilled chicken. So I recommend that, too.

            1. I'm a fan of the shallot salt.

              1. Herbes de Provence for any chicken you might cook. Also look at their mustard powder. You can make your own as you need it.

                1. The smoked paprika is out of this world!

                  1. One pound bags of ancho chilis!

                    1. I like the cake spice for baked goods, has a nice zing and a little more interest than just cinnamon in bananna bread etc.

                      I liked the beef seasoning for pot roasts. Its a great blend if you like the occasional pot roast--just rub it in and let rest before searing. I don't remember the exact name.

                      I also really liked having the beef and chicken soup base on hand, they last forever. I just used a teaspoon of the beef to boost the flavor of a homemade chicken stock for french onion soup.

                      Here's a few things I hear universal raves about but haven't tried: Turkish Bay leaves, Vietnamese cinnamon, Galena Street Rub (for ribs)

                      1. All their soup stock bases are great - I particularly love the chicken one. It's great for all kinds of things and does last a long time. I know some folks don't care for spice blends (since you can't customize them for your own palate) but I do find them handy, esp for quick weeknight cooking. Their Bangkog Blend and Northwoods blends are good all purpose mixes for panasian and continental cooking respectively. Also their Italian blends are great when you just need to quickly season some noodles or sauce.

                        1. I like the shallot-pepper, smoked paprika, ground black pepper, pink peppercorns, garlic, cumin,

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: jfood

                            I have to second the Shallot Pepper. Sprinkle that over a openfaced grilled cheese and tomato - or over cottage cheese - and you won't be able to stop smiling.

                          2. They carry really fantastic crystallized ginger. It's got nice heat, and it's in very small pieces if you want to use it in cakes or cookies (though, uh, I usually just end up eating it all).

                              1. Whole Tellicherry peppercorns
                                Vanilla extract
                                Kashmir Saffron
                                Adobo seasoning
                                Tandoori seasoning

                                I'd never bought a ground spice blend but since I'd heard such good things about Penzey's I tried the adobo and later the Tandoori. They are both terrific. I do not use the Tandoori for making real Tandoori, but it's great for weeknight chicken or seasoning popcorn.

                                1. I avoid most of their seasoning blends because they rely on salt too much. Cinnamon, cardamon pods, Indian seasonings, peppercorns, vanilla are all great.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: Fuser

                                    FYI, I've only bought two blends but neither have sale. Penzey's ground blended spice seem to be completely different from what one typically finds on the market so maybe they're worth a second look. Their website makes it very clear if a blend includes salt so you won't be blindsided!

                                    1. re: Fuser

                                      I find them relatively light on the salt.

                                    2. The California Basil is real good when fresh basil isn't an option.

                                      1. Smoked Paprika is my absolute favorite "exotic" spice that I hadn't heard of until recently. Reminds me I need to go get more soon!

                                        1. I don't order from them. My orders to to www.penderys.com in Ft. Worth. much samller and fresher. Don't kid your selves about Penzy's quality. Maybe once upon a time....

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: Candy

                                            I checked it out the last time you offered the link, but I can't see a good reason to change vendors. I typically use a vendors selection of vanilla, saffron and peppercorns to judge their position in the spice game. This group seems to be a bit more focused on selling household tchotchkes than on spices. Their offerings seem to be no broader than what can be had on a supermarket shelf. Of course, I agree that freshness is critically important, but I haven't had any trouble with Penzey's - my shipments and the product I've purchased in store have been remarkably fresh.

                                          2. Sunny Paris seasoning (salt-free) and bay leaves.

                                            1. I love the aleppo pepper, the sarawak black peppercorns (fruitier than other peppers), and the vietnamese cinnamon. Their powdered dried ginger is excellent as well.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: MichaelB

                                                I've heard that aleppo pepper is great. I'm going to try it. I had a similar pepper on a melon and feta salad and it was fruity and spicy, really great.

                                              2. I swear by the Ozark seasoning for anything like chicken fried steak, beef stroganoff...really any beef dish!

                                                Second on the aleppo pepper -- very useful because it's mild and fruity, with just a little bit of a kick.

                                                1. I have been using the Florida Seasoned Pepper, a salt free blend of black pepper and citrus. I use it on chicken, in Vinaigrette.

                                                  Many of Penzey's blends are salt free. The ones that contain salt, like their garlic salt, have a whole lot of salt, usually the first ingredient. I tried the Fajita blend, but threw it out... way too much salt.
                                                  I love the Herbes de Provence and the Pumpkin Pie Spice.

                                                  The great thing about Penzey's is that they have most blends available in very small jars, so you can sample.

                                                  1. The smoked paprika and the vietnamese cinnamon are amazing!!!!

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: puppymomma

                                                      Thanks for everyone's advice. Smoked paprika and vietnamese cinnamon are on their way to me right now (as well as some other recommendations)

                                                    2. For me, Mexican oregano & Ceylon cinnamon. These are hard to find elsewhere.
                                                      Their french tarragon smells great, and their vanilla beans top notch.

                                                      What you need depends on what you cook. I'm not big on blended spices, but I did buy their salt-free "mural of flavor".

                                                      1. I've been pleased with pretty much everything I have gotten from Penzy's. I was so delighted when they finally started offering a variety of salts (what took so long?). I was anxious to try the 4/S seasoned salt (the list of ingredients looked so intriguing; coarse sea salt, sugar, special extra bold black pepper, paprika , onion, tumeric, garlic. Spice extractives including oleoresin of paprika, black pepper, celery rosemary and thyme). Sadly, I was dissapointed (too much celery perhaps). I was actually quite surprised that I didn't like it due to the fact that most every other blend is so well balanced, the 4/S just seems a little harsh.

                                                        On a positive note I find that their marjoram to have a beautifully perfumed aroma and taste