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Please recommend the best organic all natural seasonings (salt free msg free)

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Hello,
I just started cooking and love it very much! Brought all these necessary cookwares and trying different recipes is so much fun! However, I don't have time and can not cook every day, plus I am single.
I have always been just eating out or buying prepared food. The reason I started to cook is that I became more health concerned and really started to pay attention to all the ingredients in these prepared food. I figured that the best way to make sure the ingredients are all organic, no additives etc. are to cook myself.
Anyway, long story short, I brought lots of herbs etc and cooked a few times, but herbs do not last and it is quite a waste to get all these different kinds of herbs that only could be used couple times before they gone bad. Also I have to admit, the food I cooked do not taste that great(probably due to I did not add any salt or soy sauce etc.).
It just occurred to me that maybe there are some all nature, no additives, salt free seasonings available. I could just add these to my food for seasoning or tasting. Would be great and make life much easier.
The key point is ensure 100% no salt and no additives. Just organic herbs mix.
Any recommendations would be great appreciated!

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  1. Chef's shake by spice hunter.

    2 Replies
    1. re: sedimental

      Thank you so much! Will check it out!

      1. re: SeekingBeauty

        Sure. It is extremely flavorful for a no salt and non enhanced spice. I use it on many different things. Elana's from Elana's pantry recommends it. Really good in savory crusts and baked goods too.

    2. Why no salt?

      1 Reply
      1. re: C. Hamster

        Limit sodium. I have been trying to use just nature fresh herbs for cooking. And use avocado for recipes calling for anything cream or cheese related. Also try my best spooned out and separate fat and extra oil on top of my stew etc. Actually I tried not to use any kinds of oil, just use a non stick cookware, it works.
        I know this sounds extreme and does not feel appealing, but it is the diet I'm on currently.

      2. are you near a Whole Foods?
        if so, they have a broad array of organic spices available in the spice aisle, and, in addition, you can buy just the amount you want/need of the organic spices they carry in the bulk food dept. (not all the spices in the bulk food area, are organic, so you need to read the lables.

        for me, it's nice to get the organic spices that i use in indian dishes from the bulk department because i would never be able to use up anywhere near a whole jar in any reasonable amount of time--they'd just go bad.

        7 Replies
        1. re: westsidegal

          Yes! I'm literally just cross the street of whole foods and do all my food shopping there. Never checked the bulk department for spices somehow. Never noticed them. It would be so great, if I could buy any amount I want! I only saw nuts, dried fruits etc at the bulk department. Need to check it out tomorrow. Thanks

          1. re: SeekingBeauty

            The bulk spices are sometimes in a different area than the regular bulk foods, so be sure to ask if you don't see them there.

            1. re: juster

              Just came back from WF. There is no bulk spice section at my store here in NYC (at least the one close to me). :-(
              I did take a look at the bottled spices and found that they carry frontier, simply organic and Morton&Bassett(which says salt free and MSG free on the label). Quite some choices. Anyone has tried these brand? Tastes good?

              1. re: SeekingBeauty

                I have used all three and believe them to be trustworthy in their labeling. Frontier and Simply Organic (and Aura Cacia) are part of the same long-established Frontier Co-op product family. I would tend to favor Frontier/Simply Organic because they're cheaper and also I like supporting a co-op.

                1. re: SeekingBeauty

                  Hey, not sure where you are in nyc but over on 9th ave the international market has an awesome selection of bulk spices:
                  http://internationalgrocerynyc.com

                  And i'm pretty sure sahadi's in brooklyn does as well
                  http://www.sahadis.com
                  Call ahead about what organic selections they have

                  Kalustyan's sells damn near every spice on earth, but no bulk option
                  http://www.kalustyans.com

                  1. re: SeekingBeauty

                    I use Simply Organic, and Frontier, often. The key is to shop at a busy store, so that inventory turns over frequently.

                    1. re: KarenDW

                      Thank you so much for all your replies!

            2. Buy small quantities of these spices, which all very versatile, and wallet-friendly.

              - ground pepper (black or white)
              - cumin
              - coriander
              - crushed red pepper
              - garlic powder
              - cinnamon
              - bay leaves

              1 Reply
              1. re: ipsedixit

                These are all good. I would recommend granulated garlic over garlic powder - it's a coarser texture, and I find the taste is nicer than the fine powder. For black pepper, buy peppercorns and a grinder, as a bit of fresh ground pepper peps up a lot of things.

              2. Braggs liquid aminos come in a spray bottle, so you only end up using a tinytiny amount. Its much lower sodium than soy sauce yet nearly the same flavor.
                They also suggest to dilute the aminos with water for even lower sodium. Available at any health food store or whole foods
                http://bragg.com/products/bragg-liqui...

                5 Replies
                1. re: Ttrockwood

                  I bought Bragg's aminos because I had read that it's a lot lower in sodium than soy sauce but I compared labels. It's not, unless you mean diluted.

                  1. re: greygarious

                    I agree. I read this as well and keep both Bragg's and soy sauce stocked but it's definitely not lower sodium.

                    1. re: greygarious

                      My point was both that the spray bottle lets you use a tiny bit (and therefore less sodium) as well as the option of diluting it and then using the spray.
                      Its more that a tiny bit can go a long ways vs the soy sauce pour it out way which might be impossible to distribute the flavor the same way with so little......

                      1. re: Ttrockwood

                        I love that spray bottle btw.

                    2. re: Ttrockwood

                      Bragg's will contain a significant amount of glutamate, something the OP specifically wanted to avoid.

                    3. Some classic spice-based seasoning mixtures have been in the US for many decades and available in supermarket spice sections. Vege-Sal™ and the salt-free versions of Spike™ are the ones I remember, but any good US grocer will have some variations of this theme in its spice section.

                      Some of them are based just on spices, some have natural umami components like yeast extract.

                      Be aware also (I too watch my sodium intake, and am an avid home cook) mainstream salt substitutes are available, also in supermarkets, based on potassium chloride rather than sodium chloride. (Potassium is, by the way, about the #1 daily mineral requirement and although many people get enough of it naturally, from vegetables and fruits, public-health nutrition guidelines (WHO, etc.) have been saying that the average person needs more potassium.) NoSalt™ is a retail brand of 100% potassium chloride (or KCl).

                      I find that pure KCl is a weaker seasoning than regular salt (NaCl), sort of shy. But this can be dealt with while still greatly reducing sodium use by mixing a fraction of regular salt in with the KCl. I find about 1:4 or 1:3 tastes much like pure salt. A commercial brand, LoSalt™, is a 1:2 mix, meaning that a given amount of it still has only one-third the sodium of the same quantity of regular salt.

                      Human nutritional _need_ for potassium is much greater than for sodium (by a ratio around 10:1), yet people who eat a lot of convenience foods get radically the opposite balance, as much as 100 times the _necessary_ nutritional sodium, while yet less than the necessary level of potassium. Humans seem to have a hereditary craving for sodium, maybe because unlike potassium, sodium does not occur automatically in all natural foods, and traditionally had to be sought out. But its daily _need_ is modest, around 200mg (0.2 gram). Current recommended maximum limits of around 1.5 to 2 grams daily are still far above actual need, and people who eat a lot of prepared food or junk food can get 20 grams of sodium daily.

                      Simplistically speaking, for the average person sodium tends to increase blood pressure, potassium to decrease it. (Individual sensitivities vary, but that's the main upshot.)

                      1. Plain herbs and spices have no salt. Go to Kalyustan's and knock yourself out.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: magiesmom

                          I love Kalyustan's too, but not much there is organic, would be my guess. If they don't label it as such, it isn't.

                        2. neither salt free or msg free..BUT...use d sparingly...http://www.amazon.com/Badia-Complete-...

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Raffles

                            That's called crack!

                          2. "the food I cooked do not taste that great"

                            Not using salt or fat will result in less flavor. The old saw about fat and salt = flavor is true. Sure you can cook ok without salt and fat, but don't expect the same flavor that you would get using them. I would use a lot more spices than herbs to make up for the lack of salt.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: Bkeats

                              This is a good point - a small amount of fat helps carry the other flavours, while a bit of salt can go a long way. Cutting them out completely does make food taste worse, and compensating takes skilled cooking.

                              If you're trying to cut down on salt and want more flavour, acid can help compensate. A squeeze of fresh lemon juice, a dash of wine vinegar, etc. Strongly flavoured ingredients can help - hot peppers, fresh garlic and ginger, lemon or lime zest, and so on.

                              If you're switching from processed food to home-made, you can cook with moderate amounts of fat and salt and still be way ahead of where you were before, nutritionally.

                              To minimize the amount of salt, add it right at the end, where it's more noticeable.

                              1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit

                                You can also eliminate or minimize salt, without sacrificing its seasoning effect, via the substitution of potassium chloride, practical details upthread.

                                I predict that this substitution will soon become more mainstream, given some pending public-health campaigns both to limit sodium intake and to deliberately increase potassium. Strangely (in view of this larger picture and the trends in gov't nutritional guidance), pop-culture writing I've seen by nutritionists in recent years has tended to focus exclusively on cutting down sodium, and ignored the long-established use of potassium as a substitute.

                            2. You can freeze your fresh herbs if you're going to use them for cooking - chop them and freeze them in ice cube trays mixed with a little water to drop into a stew, or put them into ziplock bags.

                              Adding acid (lemon juice or vinegar) to your cooking helps to give it a little 'zip' that makes up for not using salt. Heat (pepper, chilli, etc) helps too. Celery is a natural source of salt that makes a big difference to the flavour of a stew - there's a reason it's one of the ingredients of a traditional mirepois that's used in almost everything you cook! Once your palatte gets used to the flavours of salt-free/low-sodium cooking, you won't even miss it.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Kajikit

                                Yes, I have relied on lemon! Really makes a difference. Will add celery from now on.

                              2. Just an update and thanks again for all your great advice! I brought some spices from Simply Organic, and add broth made from beef/chicken/lamb with celery, lemon etc. It makes a big difference. Really makes the food I cook more flavorful. I am now very motivated and plan to try different things and cook more. :-)

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: SeekingBeauty

                                  Congratulations. Isn't it exciting to see how all this cooking mumbo jumbo actually does work when you do it in real life? The best part is that it never stops being exciting.

                                2. Spike tastes great, and they have a no-salt version. No added msg, but the ingredient list has "nutritional yeast" up high, and we all know what that contains *cough* msg *cough*