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Help me clean out my pantry!!

  • m

Hi - I have an over-abundance of specific items in my dry storage that I really need to use. Any interesting ideas are greatly appreciated!
So, here's the list:
Dried Spices, herbs, etc.

Star Anise
Fennel seeds
White Peppercorns
Bay leaves
Whole Nutmeg
Cinnamon, ground and sticks
Candied Ginger
Chinese fermented black beans
Dried Cranberries
Vinegars - balsamic, champagne & rice wine

Did I mention that I have a LOT of each?

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  1. How about a big pot of soup (sweet potato?, carrott?) using some cardamom, ginger, fennel thyme, white pepper, bay leaves?
    And a big batch of biscotti using the cranberries and candied ginger with some nutmeg/cinnamon?
    You can freeze batches of both.
    Put the vinegars in the frig and they will last longer.


    1. Love to use dried cranberries in biscotti and as a salad topping.

      A few weeks ago I posted a thread called "Too Much Thyme On My Hands" and got back some lovely suggestions that you might be able to get some inspiration from on your abundance on thyme.

      And, a great fennel spice rub can be found here: http://www.napastyle.com/recipe/recip...

      1. Spiced tea--
        Boil cardamon, ginger and cinnamon stick in milk or water. Add tea leaves. Let seep. Drink.

        Asian inspired dry rub (great on roasted leg of lamb):
        Fennel seeds, peppercorns, cinnamon, thyme and star anise.

        Fermented black beans are great additions to any stir-fry. Mash with a bit of soy sauce and add to any stir-fry (chicken, beef or pork with vegetables). Then add Siriacha at the end (I hate the taste of cooked Siriacha...I only add it at the end when the food is off the heat.

        1. candied ginger: go to epicurious and find the chewy ginger cookie recipe that has a photo of cookies with (I think) apple slices next to it and molasses in it-- use extra candied ginger in it, and decrease the powdered ginger.

          Pho. And other vietnamese soups.

          An end of the season winter squash lasagne. Use LOTS of thyme, and pepper. Roast the squash with bay leaves

          An end of the season winter squash sweet dish. Toss cubes of squash with lots of cardamom, cinnamon, and candied ginger. Use some coconut milk for your liquid. Cover to cook for a while then uncover to finish.

          Reduce that balsamic if you haven't already. Drizzle it over good stilton. Candy some walnuts with it, and eat those with the stilton.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Vetter

            Yep, Vetter's right about those ginger cookies, they are delicious!!!

            Here's a good one from epicurious for the star anise: Spicy Braised Chicken with Mushrooms and Star Anise, have made it 4 or 5 times now and it is great...your house will be fragrant with the star anise aromas while it is cooking:


          2. Cardamom: Use in French toast; put the cardamom in the egg batter (1/4 tsp to one egg and cream); When serving, add butter and lemon curd and/or blackberry jam to the plate. (Standard maple syrup isn't quite right for this, IMO).

            Cardamom: Make a basic sugar cookie dough and add cardamom. I think the subtle lemony flavor goes great with black raspberry jam, so you can also make them thumbprint shape and add jam in that center when cooled. Exact recipe found easily on the internet or add to premixed package.

            Cardamom: What about giving it away? Put a few tablespoons full of it into plastic wrap pouch tied up with a ribbon and add a recipe for the above recommends or yours. It is an expensive spice, but not something one uses everyday. You mayt be exposing a friend or relative to something they wouldn't otherwise tend to try. When I did it, I brought info from the Internet, added a recipe and made a card stock page ( 8-1/2" X 11" ) nicely typeset with picture. The pouch of spice, I stapled to that card. Some info for that at http://www.mccormick.com/content.cfm?...

            1. We eat candied ginger and chocolate chips by the handful out of a bowl as dessert, some dried cranberries could go in with this or in a trail mix or muffins. ExtraVeganZa cookbook has a great recipes for Sweet Potato, Cranberry bread. Balsamic vinegar is good over steamed greens (kale or collards).

              1. Anything ground that you've had over a year should be tossed. Make some granola with candied ginger and cranberries; use sriracha in everything from scrambled eggs to soup. Some non-culinary ideas´╝Ü potpourri packets. Making seed pictures (remember those)? is very fun for kids. You can donate to a local school as 'art supplies' if you want.

                1 Reply
                1. re: pepper_mil

                  You could put some out this Saturday the 10th for the Post Office to pick up and deliver to your local food pantry. I get to clean out my shelves and be glad it's not getting thrown out, but going somewhere it's needed.

                2. How about a mixing your sweet spices like cinnamon, star anise, etc and make a potpourri? I have a mini rival crockpot for just potpourri that I add water to and it simmers and makes the house smell so good. You can put anything in that you want. I usually use cloves, cinnamon sticks, star anise, orange peel and even old vanilla but you could use anything. It is a good way to use up old cinnamon sticks and other spices. Would love to know if you try it.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Smileelisa

                    Another idea is to use those same spices sewn into a cloth hotpad...and you can put it in your car also for a car air freshener for the hot summer months. Someone I know received it as a gift and when the car gets so hot in the summer, the spices scent up the car and it smells really nice.

                    1. re: Val

                      Also use the hotpads for setting hot pans on. the warmth releases the scent

                  2. You have some great ingredients for marinade and you can make a lot:
                    rice wine, star anise, bay, Chinese black beans (if its the saucy one) white peppercorns, sriracha, - great for pork ribs - put the marinade together,heat on the stove let it reduce, add garlic and onion/shallots. Cool, (reserve a cup for basting) place the ribs in a pyrex dish, add the marinade turn frequently. Marinate the ribs a few hours and bbq. Brush the reserved marinade as you cook. Time depends on the thickness and rib cut. Star anise if terrific flavor here.

                    if you have a spice grinder, you have some great spices for a nice (sort of) Indian rub for chicken. I grind my spices for a skewered chicken dish, marinates in yougrt and some herbs and spices you have. Doesn't have to be exact for it to still taste good.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: chef chicklet

                      Cardamom is great added to coffee cakes.