A well-stocked kitchen should have a great selection of spices and herbs. You never know when a dish needs a dash of thyme or a sprinkle of basil! Herbs and spices do not just boost the flavor of your favorite dishes; they also add a shot of nutrients. Herbs and spices are affordable individually but collectively, they can be expensive. That’s why it’s important to learn ways to get the best deal out of purchasing these products. In today’s post, we are giving you tips to purchase high-quality herbs and spices at reasonable prices:
Do not Buy from the Grocery
Ever wonder why spices from your local supermarket are much cheaper than say, spices from the farmer’s or ethnic market? Sadly, spices and herbs from the local grocer are no longer fresh. The average shelf life of ground spices is about six months. By the time the products reach the supermarket, they are no longer fresh. Worse, some of these store-bought products contain impurities! If you want to get the most out of your money, do not buy stale spices and herbs.
Get Whole Spices
Getting grounded spices and herbs seem like a great idea. After all, you save more time on cooking because the spices are already processed, right? Wrong! Ground spices have even shorter shelf life than whole spices. To ensure the maximum flavor and potency, you should always get whole spices! Also, ground spices tend to have extenders and added flavorings such as salt, flour or rice. The US Food and Drug Administration do not require suppliers to list down any additional ingredients added to grounded spices and herbs. In addition, grounded spices and herbs are not required by the FDA to be 100% contaminants free.
Go for Reasonably Priced Herbs and Spices
When it comes to spices and herbs, you get exactly what you pay for. Cheap spices and herbs are cheap for a reason: they are low in quality. This means the cleanliness of the processing is questionable. The product is not 100% free from contaminants or natural defects. These “defects” could be anything from mold, dead insects to rat hair, feces or wire string! And here’s a shocker: 20% of spices and herbs sold in stores contain “defects” labeled as “foreign matter.” So the next time you need spices and herbs, go for quality. Get the best spices and herbs you can afford and never settle for cheap products.
Where to Get High-Quality Spices
You can get high-quality spices at your local farmer’s market, ethnic market, and spice merchants. Usually, these sources offer better quality spices and herbs at reasonable price points. The great thing about buying spices and herbs from these sources is that you get to smell and check the spices to see the quality. You can get spices from your local gourmet restaurant but the prices are usually inflated and quality is not always guaranteed.
Buy Small Amounts of Product
Unless you are a cook or a chef, do not buy in bulk to save costs when it comes to herbs and spices. If you do not use it all up, the products would go stale. This goes, especially if you want high-quality spices. High-quality spices are typically more pungent and potent. A little goes a long way. Too many spices and herbs could overpower your dish.
Grow Your Own Spices and Herbs
To ensure the best quality spices and herbs at affordable costs, consider growing your own. Herbs and spices are surprisingly easy to grow. You can get small pots of herbs, place it near the kitchen window and care for them. Just get bits of the plant as you cook.