Maybe you are moving? Maybe you need to buy a house warming gift? Or a grad gift?
Spices are a staple in the pantry and make flavouring dishes easy and delicious when you know how to use them. BUT walking down the spice aisle at your local food store can be intimidating!
What spices will you actually use in your pantry?
1. Cinnamon - It can sprinkled on fresh apple slices, into your morning cup of joe, and into any sweet or even savory dish to add depth and flavour. Cinnamon is a definite staple in the pantry and is the foundation for many spice blends.
2. Chili Powder - Yes! You can use it in chili, but it can also be used to season homemade fries baked in the oven, on popcorn, for fajita’s, or mixed with cornmeal to coat fish before frying. Chili powder is a blend of many spices, so not all chili powders are created equal!
3. Smoked Paprika - First of all, just open the jar and smell it! This spice can be used in many spice rubs, but also by itself. Chop some onion, sweet potato, and red bell peppers. Then coat with extra virgin olive oil, a bit of salt and pepper and generous sprinkling of smoked paprika. Transfer to a baking sheet and bake at 350 until crispy. Guaranteed favourite!
4. Black Peppercorns - If you are still buying your pepper ground it’s time to invest in a quality pepper grinder. Freshly ground pepper has much more flavour the stuff you buy ground. Typically ground pepper will only stay fresh for half as long as whole peppercorns. Be sure you are not storing any of your spices on your counter or above your stove exposed to heat and humidity! This reduces their potency and degrades the flavours.
5. Garlic Granules - Yes, fresh is best but on those days you forget to pick up fresh garlic you can reach for your handy garlic granules. You can use garlic granules for seasoning homemade salad dressing, tuna salad, or homemade hummus. When using dried garlic there is a huge variance in quality so buy a couple different brands and use them simultaneously and you will find some brands you will have to use twice as much product to get the same flavour. Organic options will usually be even more flavourful, so a little goes a long way!
6. Onion Granules - Similar to garlic there is a big variance in the quality of your onion granules. Also don’t be afraid to use both fresh onion with onion granules. Although they are both onion they provide different flavour profiles. Raw onion provides a lot more bite, versus the dried granules which is a bit more mellow. If you are considering mixing your own spice blends you will find both garlic granules and onion granules are the staple ingredients.
7. Lemon Pepper Seasoning - This is such a versatile blend. It can be used to season popcorn, chicken breasts, and roasted potatoes. It is the secret ingredient to getting fantastic flavour for the spice coating of fish. Nothing beats a shore lunch feast of freshly caught pike and pickerel coated with lemon pepper seasoning and fried in butter. A guilty pleasure best enjoyed outdoors!
8. Turmeric - This is the spice that really adds colour to curry powder. It is bright orange/yellow in colour and is extremely healthy and good for your body. It has even to be touted as the holy grail of spice because of potential anti-inflammatory properties. It is really good sprinkled on fried eggs with a bit of salt, pepper, and garlic granules. It can also be mixed into steamed milk with a bit of maple syrup to make a healthy turmeric latte.
9. Italian Seasoning - You can add it to your marinara sauce, your pizza, or on plain pasta with a touch of extra virgin olive oil. It isn’t just for the standard Italian dishes it can be used on roasts, chicken breasts, and roasted veggies as well. It is a blend of dried oregano, basil, and rosemary. The best part? It typically does not contain sodium so you are just getting flavour without adding any additional sodium.
10. Ginger - This again is such a versatile spice that can be used in both savory and sweet dishes. It can be used in marinades, homemade BBQ sauces, and in ginger snaps. Ginger is great and provides a ton of flavour, but so many times you only use half of the ginger root and rest dries up or goes bad before you can use it all. Having dried ginger in your pantry ensures you will always have ginger when you need it most.