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seeking places in area to buy spices in small amounts?

viking kitten Dec 7, 2010 11:50 AM

Can anyone recommend places to buy spices in smaller amounts than what is readily available in supermarkets? Live just north of Boston but would be willing to go to Burlington/Lexington area as well as Braintree/Dedham area.

Thank you.

  1. w
    winedude Dec 7, 2010 12:08 PM

    Harvest Co-op Market in Central Square sells many spices in bulk, so you can buy just what you need.

    1 Reply
    1. re: winedude
      bella_sarda Dec 7, 2010 12:42 PM

      I second the Harvest Co-op recommendation. Very good selection of spices and no lower limit to how much you can buy. I've always found them to be reasonably fresh.

    2. PinchOfSalt Dec 7, 2010 12:19 PM

      Penzey's in Arlington has a vast selection of spices in small containers. Highly recommended. Check out their website to see their selection:


      There is also Christina's in Cambridge. Christinas has some items that Penzeys does not, such as grains of paradise. On the other hand, and without knocking Christina's, having shopped at both my sense is that Penzey's is fresher and has a wider range of spices and herbs used in American kitchens (including ethnic communities that are well-represented here).

      1 Reply
      1. re: PinchOfSalt
        skippy66 Dec 7, 2010 12:25 PM

        Another vote for Penzey's. I only buy the small containers. Otherwise they sit around in the pantry too long. I can always go and buy more.

      2. w
        watertowngourmet Dec 7, 2010 12:25 PM

        Penzey's is amazing - has a national reputation. Arax in Watertown also stocks a good selection of spices at reasonable prices. Whole Foods also sells bulk spices and you can buy however much you need.

        1. BobB Dec 7, 2010 12:45 PM

          Check the Mexican/South American foods aisle of your local supermarket (if it has one). In most of the ones around here, you can buy little plastic packets of common spices for under a buck apiece.

          1. v
            viking kitten Dec 7, 2010 12:53 PM

            Thanks everyone, I'll be near Penzey's in the not-too-distant future so will give them a try and then branch out.

            I've seen some of the small packets in ethnic food aisles but at least around here they're limited.

            Appreciate the quick help!

            3 Replies
            1. re: viking kitten
              winedude Dec 7, 2010 03:58 PM

              Penzey's is very good, but it won't be cheap to buy a bunch of spices. Their small containers add up, if you're buying a bunch. And I think the sizes, even the smallest, are comparable to what you find in the supermarket, which was the OP's question.

              So, it's an excellent choice for top-quality spices, if that's what you're after.

              1. re: winedude
                PinchOfSalt Dec 7, 2010 05:44 PM

                Penzey's small containers are less than half the size of supermarket spice bottles and cans, and cost less. At least that has been my experience.

                1. re: winedude
                  C. Hamster Dec 8, 2010 07:17 AM

                  I think Penzey's is very reasonably priced. Often cheaper than McCormicks

              2. b
                bear Dec 7, 2010 03:41 PM

                If you're ever in the West Concord area, Debra's Natural Gourmet has a nice selection of very fresh bulk Frontier spices. I redid my entire spice rack for under $30. They didn't have everything I wanted, but most of them.

                1. d
                  DanielleW Dec 9, 2010 08:12 AM

                  Christina's in Inman Square.

                  1. a
                    acornhunt Dec 9, 2010 08:19 AM

                    The Whole Foods in Dedham has spices in their bin section.

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