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Aug 28, 2014 09:08 AM

Are you a herb, spice and seasoning junkie?

On my recent visit to a Persian market in NY, I walked out with a bottle of pomegranate syrup(I assume it's the same as molasses), a bottle of rose water, a bottle of za'atar and smoked Hungarian paprika. I also wanted to pick up dried limes they had but decided not to.
On my recent trip to Whole food, I picked up a jar of cardomom. At home, I must have at least 2-3 different bottles of thyme and rosemary. I have bottles and packages of seasonings and spices in my pantry, in my kitchen cabinet...and other places. I have 10 yrs old jerk seasonings from Caribbean, packets of various Greek spices from Greece....and old spices from trips from places. I have some Chinese spices like star anise and 5 spice powders for bbq.
I fell in love with za'atar and have been using it a lot...i especially love it in sauteed onion. There are other spices I'd love to purchase like dukkah. I just get so greedy!

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  1. The flavor of spices tend to diminish over time, so that is pretty much stopping me from hoarding them. I try to limit my purchases to whole spices and toast/grind them in my mortar and pestle as I need them. Doing this lengthens their shelf life but after 3-4 years, I throw them away. Quality over quantity is much more important to me.

    3 Replies
    1. re: GOJIRA

      I agree with Gojira. I try to only buy what I can use in a reasonable amount of time.

      I love visiting Penzy's, since I can get a small bottle of an herb or spice to "try it out" and then if I find I'm using it a lot, I can buy a larger quantity.

      1. re: GOJIRA

        I'm with you on this - it also helps in terms of working through different cuisines/recipes at a time. I have a fairly standard Middle Eastern selection of spices around - but I recently bought nutmeg for a recipe, and now I'm trying to find other recipes that use nutmeg (and other spices I already have) so I make the most of it. I would much rather buy spices in as small a quantity as possible.

        1. re: cresyd

          Check out Armenian Nutmeg Cake. There are sundry recipes out there, some more complicated than others. I made this one recently and it worked out well.

      2. Who me? I wondered about the flavor in some saffron I used the other night since it was several years old. A friend gave it to me, something her brother had picked up in his travels. It was in a plastic case inside a very nice cardboard box. I'm trying to use up what I have and just replenish the essentials from the bulk containers at the food coop. But, I also made a visit to Penzey's where I thought a friend was going to share my purchases so I bought larger sizes than I should have. What is worse, is the numerous condiments I have. Got you beat on the Caribbean jerk seasoning, I think I have a bottle of maubi syrup that's about 25 years old. I know, it needs to be tossed. I just keep forgetting it's there.

        1. there are so many good different herbs and spices to try

          they are the best

          1 Reply
          1. re: jpr54_1

            I have one shelf in kitchen cabinet filled with spices, etc.
            I buy sample sizes most of the time-
            I keep some spices in refrigerator- chillies, paprika, garlic powder.

          2. I wouldn't say junkie, but I cook a fair amount of South Asian and Middle Eastern food which means I have an entire cabinet dedicated to spices and herbs. Now maybe I don't *need* to have Aleppo, Isot, Sichuan, whole red, ground red, black and white pepper, but it certainly does help to ensure I never have a dull meal at home.

            1 Reply
            1. re: JungMann

              The more middle eastern food I know, the more curious I get and more I love the cuisine.
              I'd love to be invited to your house over dinner. =) or at least share your 10 favorite recipes here! You seem to be a true foodie.

            2. Nope, not a junkie at all.

              I have the herbs and spices that I need for things I cook regularly. Occasionally, I'm obliged to buy something new for a recipe and it irritates that it gets used once and then gets thrown out two years later when it hits its "use by" date.