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what spices

my brother wants whole spices for xmas that he can grind up in his spice grinder. what are some interesting things to get him? he loves to grill and spicy marinades.

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  1. cumin seeds
    fennel seeds

    1. plus:
      juniper berries
      black pepper corns

      and for extra measure:
      dried ginger
      whole, dried chili peppers such as ancho

        1. re: mariacarmen

          Maria got mine!

          kao guo, cassia, nutmeg, and cinnamon are more typically grated than ground. Grinding pepper in a spice grinder gets a different result from a pepper grinder.

        2. star anise
          mustard seed
          fenugreek seeds

          1. Second the cumin idea, because it's used in such a wide variety of cuisines. Also, try some whole dried chiles. I grind those in my spice grinder, and they're wonderful in rubs and marinades.

            1. If I were to change careers mine would be a spice merchant. I have 87 different spices and am forever toasting them and grinding them to make different seasonings, rubs and so on. Amongst my favourites are (in addition to already-mentioned peppercorns, coriander, juniper berries, allspice, etc.):

              sumac berries
              ajwain (or ajowan)
              annato seeds (must be ground in a grinder - they are as hard as little pebbles!)
              grains of paradise (one of my all-time favourite spices)
              tons of interesting chiles (toast over dry heat then grind)
              bay leaves are lovely ground (i.e. in making Herbes de Provence)
              dried shallots
              curry leaves
              green cardamom
              chicory root
              cubeb peppers
              mustard seeds (using my mortar and pestle)
              kala jeera
              dry some citrus peel to grind
              black limes
              various coarse artisanal sea salts
              long pepper

              3 Replies
              1. re: chefathome

                Thank you everyone, these replies are great!

                1. re: hamiltonheights

                  World Spice Merchants is a great source for whole spice and whole spice blends. Plenty of wonderful ideas and recipes using spices on their website for inspiration.


                  1. re: HillJ

                    Great minds! I was about to recommend World Spice as well. An ounce of each whole spice they offer if the budget allows! Whole Spice is one of the few places that offer Tasmanian pepperberry, which is a very interesting pepper! Very late "burn," but not overwhelming. A bit pricey, but also rare and for anyone into the unusual, it's hard to beat.