Spice Mix: Make Your Own by Don R
Making your own spice combination is a good way to save money. We will share simple recipes that are not only easy on your budget, they will replace many of the 30 or so spice jars taking up space on your shelves. But there are other reasons for devoting a little time and energy to assemble your own.
Always Fresh If you mix only what you need for the month, your spices will always be fresh. I often wonder how many of us have oodles of spices on our shelves that are old and flavorless? To that, I plead guilty. You can tell if yours are old by putting a little in a saucer and mashing it with the back of a spoon. Does it smell rich and flavorful or is it lifeless and boring? I am always amazed when I go to the bulk spice section of the food co-op and open their the jars revealing how fresh herbs and spices should really smell.
SIMPLICITY Some recipes may call for several different spices and herbs. I find it simpler to just substitute one of the five or so spice mixes Gabriel Claycamp has put together. The final outcome may differ from the recipe but it usually tastes just fine.
FLEXIBLE When you mix it yourself, you can adjust the ingredients to fit your preference. The Bellingham Food Co-op and Haggens have bulk spice mixes that are reasonably priced but I find that some use hotter peppers than we like. So, it makes sense to mix our own with less chili pepper.
ONLY 6 You can meet the needs of most recipes with just six mixes: Tex-Mex (Southwest), Italian (Mediterranean), Cajun (similar to Creole), Indian (curry powder), Asian (5 spice), and Herb Bouquet (multipurpose)
Stay tuned as we post recipes for these simple mixes over the next 6 days. Be sure to print the recipes and record any changes made to the basic recipe.
OTHERS Meat rubs will be covered in 0ther posts. All spice, actually a dried immature berry from Central America, has the flavors of cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. It can be made by mixing equal amounts of the above 3 flavors, but it is easier to just buy all spice for meats, cruciferous veggies and squash.