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Oct 12, 2009 03:25 PM

Where can i buy good fresh and not too expensive whole spices to grind?

Thinking of investing in a cusinart spice grinder.. but where can i pisk up whole spices to grind for it?


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  1. Kalustyan's, 124 Lexington or maybe Penzy's in the market at Grand Central Terminal

    1. Kalustyan's on Lexington near 28th St. has probably the single widest collection of things in the city and unlike a lot of their other prices, the spices' are generally reasonable. They seem to do a lot of business, so I think turnover must be good, too.

      Indian grocers in general are a pretty good bet for a fairly wide range of spices used in other cuisines and for price/freshness ratio. Not as good but still a decent selection can be found at some larger Chinese/Asian groceries. (They will also have things you won't elsewhere but which may be completely unfamiliar.) Freshness in the Asian places can vary a lot, but prices are low.

      2 Replies
      1. re: MikeG

        thank you !

        what are your must have spices to grind?

        1. re: lestblight

          I tend to collect/pile-up spices so it's hard to keep track of what I "must" have. ;)

          Do keep in mind that a coffee mill isn't "ideal" equipment for grinding spices and they work best on softer seeds like cumin, coriander, mustard or are fairly small and brittle like cloves and peppercorns. They do a lousy job on cinnamon and you can forget about fibrous stuff like dried ginger, turmeric and galangal. You may want to sift/re-sift the results or the powder is likely to be on the gritty side.

      2. or one of their retail locations. I can spend hundreds for gifts there and I think I have everything they sell from allspice to zatar. Asian markets differ by freshness, pack size, labeling, quality, fillers and cleanliness as do Indian grocers but they are very cheap. I am in LA so I am not familiar with Kalustyan's.

        1. Go to one of the Indian markets in Jackson Heights (Patel Bros, Subzi Mandi, Apna Bazaar). They have good quality spices, high turnover and are dirt cheap compared to Kalustyan's.

          5 Replies
          1. re: Joe MacBu

            They have a wide range of spices? even those not used in indian cooking?


            1. re: lestblight

              They have a wide range, but not necessarily stuff used outside of their cuisine. What they mostly lack are dried herbs, such as oregano, basil, etc. The vast majority of the spices used around the world tend to have some play in South Asian cuisine, so you should be able to find most things. It's worth a visit for sure.

              Don't be put off by the fact that the smallest sizes available might be too much for you. They'll still be cheaper than whatever you can get in Manhattan. Whole spices will stay fresh longer, but you might want to consider splitting them with a friend, depending on your frequency of use.

              If you need ingredients more specific to East Asian cuisine, those markets are near Jackson Heights as well.

              What specific spices are you looking for? I can let you know whether you'll find those there.

            2. re: Joe MacBu

              I often buy spices at Patel Bros., but I find more manageable quantities at Manhattan Fruit Exchange. It's also easier to store the small boxes they have as opposed to the bags most loose spices come in at the Indian markets.

              1. re: Joe MacBu

                I rarely send anyone to Kalustyan's for anything because of their pricing but unless they've gone up recently, their spices tend to be pretty reasonable.

                1. re: MikeG

                  Actually, I just got back from Kalustyan's and see that their prices have indeed gone up. They still have things you rarely see elsewhere like cubeb and long pepper, but for the many things you can find in Indian grocery stores per se, their prices are too high. There are a few Indian stores nearby -- you can see them all from in front of Kalustyan's if you look around -- worth looking into.

              2. the store next to Sea Breeze Fish market on 9th avenue behind the PA has a ton of fresh spices at low prices. I think it is called the International Shop or something like that.