Spices on the cheap?
Anyone know of a cheap place to stock up on spices preferably around brookline or west roxbury/roslindale? The supermarket prices seem a little high.
I'm afraid the issue of expensive spices is a millennium-old problem. To some degree, you'll always have to pay a fair amount for even mid-grade quality.
I've found some good value at Trader Joe's, especially for very expensive spices like saffron.
Not in Rox/Ros, but Christina's in Inman Square has pretty competitive prices. A few of the Middle Eastern grocery stores in Watertown are supposed to be good too.
One trick: if you buy whole spices instead of ground, they'll last longer and taste fresher when used. I keep a second coffee grinder on hand just for this purpose.
Second the TJ's option for decent quality at reasonable prices.
One very cheap option is Ocean State Job Lot, but the closest one to you could be Randolph or Norwood. They carry a brand called Spice Supreme ( http://www.gel-spice.com/spice_suprem... ) and usually have quite a variety, but you get what you pay for. I happen to like their pickling spice mix, and also use their sesame seeds, poppy seeds, bay leaves etc. but I mostly keep them as a backup for when I cant get or run out of the good stuff.
(edit) And oh yeah, the Penzey brand spices mentioned by rlh below are WAY better, I have not gone to any local stores but get their stuff online regularly.
I THINK the quality to price value ratio is really high at Penzey's in Arlington Heights (or online) - they seem to be the freshest with a wide range of mainstream spices (whole and ground) always available.
Frontier bulk spices at Harvest Co-Op in Central Square have the best prices we've found for reliable quality.