Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Your spice cabinet


SobaAddict70
 Share

Recommended Posts

...your collection can never be big enough.

I like to go out to Astoria and Jackson Heights to get all my Indian spices cheaply and in bulk. When I was living in Astoria, there was a store two blocks from my apartment, on the corner of Broadway and 36th Street that sold stuff like black mustard seeds, turmeric and cardamom powder in bulk, and really cheaply too. I sort of miss living in that neighborhood, and also the store as well.

Now, whenever my supplies run low, I just hop on the subway and jet over to JH and stock up. Anything non-Indian, I get from the local supermarkets -- but if its zataar or sumac, then its a trip to Sahadi's (I tend to visit Queens more often than Brooklyn, just because of distance and travel time). A food emporium run by an ex-boyfriend of mine, located in the Upper East Side in the low 80s gets me stuff like imported Hungarian paprika (both powder and peppers).

Do you let your spices sit in your cabinet, or do you replenish your stock with new sources? Do you have an extensive spice pantry? (This applies to herbs too.) Raise your hand if you grow or have your own personal windowsill herb garden. (Our window space is extremely limited, but that's one of my dreams -- nothing like freshly torn basil or just-snipped watercress/mint gracing your table.) Where do you go for spices and herbs?

Discuss.

SA

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I buy almost everything from Penzey's. I try not to let them go for more than a year, but I am cheap and occasionally will hang on to them a little longer.

I have stopped buying in bulk, except for those I use alot (peppercorns, cumin ground and seed, coriander ground and seed). Penzey's offers various sizes, so those that I am experimenting with or use very infrequently I buy the smallest size.

I do grow my own herbs , but I don't have a very good green thumb. Sometimes they do well sometimes they don't.

Mint is all over the backyard, planted by a previous tenant, and can be used all year round. Come spring I will purchase seedlings of basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary, tarragon, shiso and lemongrass.

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

...your collection can never be big enough.

I agree!

I enjoy having lots of spices & herbs in my kitchen - you never know when a recipe might require amchoor - but of course half of them are for show. I can't remember the last time I actually reached for the barberries, angelica seeds, nigella, ajwain, or lime powder. It's just that it's so comforting to see dozens of spices lined up in alphabetical order; I like to imagine I can cook anything in the world. :raz:

I buy my spices in bulk from several reputable spice stores in Kensington Market (Toronto). Anything I can't find there, I go to Nasr's (a Middle Eastern mega-supermarket in the 'burbs). If I don't use the ground spices within a year, hell, they're cheap enough to replace.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I also get a lot of stuff from Penzeys - either mail order or I go the the store in Houston. In summer, I grow basil (it grows great from seeds, and I can't grow much of anything!!) and I have some chives, which survive our mild southern winters, that I've had for several years.

Definitly - MORE IS BETTER.

I try not to get more than I can use in a year, and I try to write the purchase date on the label, but I don't always.

Stop Family Violence

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Do you let your spices sit in your cabinet, or do you replenish your stock with new sources?  Do you have an extensive spice pantry?  (This applies to herbs too.)  Raise your hand if you grow or have your own personal windowsill herb garden.  (Our window space is extremely limited, but that's one of my dreams -- nothing like freshly torn basil or just-snipped watercress/mint gracing your table.)  Where do you go for spices and herbs?

I throw out old batches periodically. But I prefer gifting portions of what I have with me away as friends marvel at them. I know I will be happier for having shared what I had.. for then I can go buy a fresher batch when it is running low.

My spice and ingredient pantry is 10 feet by 5 feet. It has many shelves and curiously a crystal chandelier that was left behind by the previous owner. It was soo not in our taste that it was hung in the pantry. Makes for lots of light in that small room. This room that is a walk in closet entered to from the kitchen, houses spices, dried herbs, seeds, stalks, leaves, barks, stems et al.... and also stuff like mango puree and coconut milk, condensed milk, milk powder and canned tomatoes.

In the summer the deck and window sill have a wide assortment of herbs, fruits and vegetables growing. In these wintry days I can still find some mint, basil, jalapenos, curry leaves, salad greens growing in the bases of the jasmine and hibiscus standards, bay leaf, ginger, galangal, serranos and meyer lemons. They come indoors and take over half the bedroom where they are arranged on shelves as they winter indoors. It is a chore that takes up a great deal of time, but is well worth it. I am glad my SO is passionate about plants. They end up doing most of the care. I decided long ago that I would let this passion of mine get dormant. One needs only a single green thumb in one garden. Too many cooks spoil the broth, and too many green thumbs can over fertilize a patch.

I find most all my herbs in the deck in the summer. In the winter we make do with what we have at home.. and for those special dinners, Balduccis has always been convenient.

For Spices I will only ever use Foods Of India. It is the cleanest spice market I have even been to. The spices are of a quality much higher than what finds through mail order or at Kalustyans. I have no qualms about paying a few pennies extra per pound as I get the best I can get anywhere. My mother and other friends of the family and some relatives take back some spices from this store to India. That is how good the quality is. The spices come from Guatemala.

Foods of India

121 Lexington Avenue

New York City, NY

Tel: (212) 683 4419

They ship around the country.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My spice and ingredient pantry is 10 feet by 5 feet. It has many shelves and curiously a crystal chandelier that was left behind by the previous owner. It was soo not in our taste that it was hung in the pantry. Makes for lots of light in that small room. This room that is a walk in closet entered to from the kitchen, houses spices, dried herbs, seeds, stalks, leaves, barks, stems et al.... and also stuff like mango puree and coconut milk, condensed milk, milk powder and canned tomatoes.

In the summer the deck and window sill have a wide assortment of herbs, fruits and vegetables growing. In these wintry days I can still find some mint, basil, jalapenos, curry leaves, salad greens growing in the bases of the jasmine and hibiscus standards, bay leaf, ginger, galangal, serranos and meyer lemons. They come indoors and take over half the bedroom where they are arranged on shelves as they winter indoors.

Oh, my, my. My. I am so jealous. My whole kitchen is 10 feet by 5 feet, maybe. And now I'm too depressed to get the measuring tape and find out. I have room on my tiny balcony for a tiny herb box in the short MI summer--last year all that grew were chives and thyme, they choked out almost all else. I can't imagine being able to find my microscopic-on-a-good-day basil in the winter--right now, the herb box is under 2+ feet of snow. :sad:

Noise is music. All else is food.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have room on my tiny balcony for a tiny herb box in the short MI summer--last year all that grew were chives and thyme, they choked out almost all else.  I can't imagine being able to find my microscopic-on-a-good-day basil in the winter--right now, the herb box is under 2+ feet of snow. :sad:

Chives, nice... never grown them. Maybe this spring... Are they difficult to grow? What did you do with all that you had?

Thyme is a great herb.... it is also very pretty.

We have very little sun in our deck, so the plants need a lot of extra love and tender care. Many friends of ours have far more sun and thus many more beautiful flowers... We do the best we can with the part shade conditions.

Guerilla gardening on our buildings terrace makes for some great fun and tasty fruit (or vegetables). And also for great stories and experiences.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My cat seemed to enjoy eating the chives straight out of the dirt. He kept them pretty well trimmed. Had little energy this summer in the kitchen, so put them into eggs mostly, at least what the cat didn't eat. I will grow them again, but in a separate box, and no, they weren't hard to grow. They grew like mad with no special care at all.

Noise is music. All else is food.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

For Spices I will only ever use Foods Of India.  It is the cleanest spice market I have even been to.  The spices are of a quality much higher than what finds through mail order or at Kalustyans.  I have no qualms about paying a few pennies extra per pound as I get the best I can get anywhere. My mother and other friends of the family and some relatives take back some spices from this store to India.  That is how good the quality is.  The spices come from Guatemala.

Foods of India

121 Lexington Avenue

New York City, NY

Tel: (212) 683 4419

They ship around the country.

Now That's an endorsement I can trust. Thank you so much, Suvir, for the address.

I too am fantasizing about a huge spice pantry with chandelier! Wow.

Edited by maggiethecat (log)

Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."

Studs Terkel

1912-2008

A sensational tennis blog from freakyfrites

margaretmcarthur.com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My cat seemed to enjoy eating the chives straight out of the dirt.  He kept them pretty well trimmed.  Had little energy this summer in the kitchen, so put them into eggs mostly, at least what the cat didn't eat.  I will grow them again, but in a separate box, and no, they weren't hard to grow.  They grew like mad with no special care at all.

We grow Catnip and the cats get a few leaves every few weeks. Cheap that we are, even wildly growing Catnip is rationed. :shock:

Your cat ate Chives??? Wow! Gourmand Cat.... I shall see if our cats will go after chives... They are very fussy... One of them loves all herbs of the mint family (since Catnip is from this same family) and the other loves chocolate. Just the smell.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Your cat ate Chives??? Wow! Gourmand Cat.... I shall see if our cats will go after chives... They are very fussy... One of them loves all herbs of the mint family (since Catnip is from this same family) and the other loves chocolate. Just the smell.

He certainly did. I also tried mint with him because he would sometimes eat catnip, but to no avail . . . he avoided all other herbs except chives. He would have chewed them all day, right down to the dirt, if I'd let him.

Noise is music. All else is food.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have just finished putting all my spices into Tupperware spice containers. Right now they are on the shelf in my pantry, but my new kitchen (contruction starts beginning of Feb) will include a floor to ceiling pull out spice rack as part of the cupboard layer (mirroring the floor to ceiling pull out bar cupboard :biggrin: )

I usually through spices out after a year. I like the Tupperware, because they do keep the spices nicely fresh. For example, it takes parsley much longer to get that dull gray look :biggrin:

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I built a spice and ingredient closet under a flight of stairs. It is six feet high by about four deep. There are six shelves and on the door, I built a spice rack with seven shelves. Each shelf has a thin wooden strip hinged on one end and held by a magnet on the other to prevent the containers rom falling out.

I thought this would be enough space, but the whole shebang is filled. I have to go through it this winter and weed out the old stuff and the things I bought with grand plans that never materialized. There are at least two other cabinets with baking materials, dry goods, and several large crocks with dried fruits and nuts.

I found a tin vented baking cabinet from the 1920s, upright with three shelves and a hammered design in the metal which I use as for crackers and other ingredients. It looks very nice on the counter, holds a lot, and keeps things fresh.

I buy my dried spices from Penzies and some from Dean & Deluca. I love those little aluminum round boxes they come it and use them over and over. I can't seem to keep enough pepper corns on hand (white, black, green, pink, sechuan).

In the summer I grow parsley, tarragon, lemon thyme, thyme, chervil, basil, chives, mint, oregano, sage in large pots on our deck and I have a rosemary "tree" going all year round.

I am thinking of putting in a greenhouse window in the kitchen so I can grow fresh herbs all year round.

Edited by jaybee (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

For Spices I will only ever use Foods Of India.  It is the cleanest spice market I have even been to.  The spices are of a quality much higher than what finds through mail order or at Kalustyans.  I have no qualms about paying a few pennies extra per pound as I get the best I can get anywhere. My mother and other friends of the family and some relatives take back some spices from this store to India.  That is how good the quality is.  The spices come from Guatemala.

Foods of India

121 Lexington Avenue

New York City, NY

Tel: (212) 683 4419

They ship around the country.

Suvir -

thank you for the recommendation.

may I ask if you've tried the International Spice Market on 9th avenue, at 40th, just below the bus terminal? Their spice products seem very fresh, and I've noticed chefs buying cayenne, comino, etc in multi-pound quantities.

They also sell semolina flour, several grinds of whole wheat and corn, etc for baking. Nice when you don't need a five pounds of something...

Paul

Apparently it's easier still to dictate the conversation and in effect, kill the conversation.

rancho gordo

Link to comment
Share on other sites

For Spices I will only ever use Foods Of India.  It is the cleanest spice market I have even been to.  The spices are of a quality much higher than what finds through mail order or at Kalustyans.  I have no qualms about paying a few pennies extra per pound as I get the best I can get anywhere. My mother and other friends of the family and some relatives take back some spices from this store to India.  That is how good the quality is.  The spices come from Guatemala.

Foods of India

121 Lexington Avenue

New York City, NY

Tel: (212) 683 4419

They ship around the country.

Suvir -

thank you for the recommendation.

may I ask if you've tried the International Spice Market on 9th avenue, at 40th, just below the bus terminal? Their spice products seem very fresh, and I've noticed chefs buying cayenne, comino, etc in multi-pound quantities.

They also sell semolina flour, several grinds of whole wheat and corn, etc for baking. Nice when you don't need a five pounds of something...

Paul

I have not tried them. I shall sometime later this year. After a few months. Always wanted to try it. Another friend had told me about some of their flours.

But I am told by trusted friends that the spices are no match to the quality at Foods of India. They are superb. It is thus no surprise that friends and family from India take stuff back home. :shock:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

With a very limited kitchen space in a tiny NYC apartment, my spice cabinet is about the scariest place around. Friends are always afraid to open it for fear of being injured by fallouts. I have a set of spice containers from Dean and Deluca, which stacks up nicely. I just keep on refilling them with huge batches I buy in Jackson Heights. I go to Patel Brothers and come back with huge bags of things like Garam Marsala, Sumac, Tumeric, Cumin and Chilli Powder. Still trying to find a cheap source for Fleur de sel and Hawaiian sea salt.

In the summer time, I have basil, mint, rosemary, thyme, majoram, oregano and Verbena growing on the window sill, but now it's just dwindled down to the thyme and the verbena.

Ya-Roo Yang aka "Bond Girl"

The Adventures of Bond Girl

I don't ask for much, but whatever you do give me, make it of the highest quality.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Chives, nice... never grown them.  Maybe this spring... Are they difficult to grow?

Chives are a perennial so once you plant them you'll get them year after year. I think they need a lot of sun though. I love to use the flowers in a salad.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In the summer time, I have basil, mint, rosemary, thyme, majoram, oregano and Verbena growing on the window sill, but now it's just dwindled down to the thyme and the verbena.

I had forgotten that we always have lemon verbena in the deck. It makes for great tea.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I recently gave my spice collection a complete overhaul. I was inspired by an article in Real Simple magazine and actually ordered the stainless steel watchmaker kits, shown in the article, from Lee Valley tools and ordered new spice from Penzey's. When the order arrived I opened all the hermetically sealed packages and sniffed deeply. It was positively intoxicating :biggrin:.

It's one of the first times I actually followed through when I saw something that looked neat. And neat it is: the cases are very sleek and take up much less space than all the jumbled bottles. I store the excess spices and dried herbs in our extra fridge downstairs.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have a question--has anyone used purslane (sp??) or lamb's quarters in anything? My friend had a ton in her garden last year and she said it was weeds, but I thought perhaps it was edible? What is the flavor?

Noise is music. All else is food.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Bushey, I noted that the watchmaker cases had clear tops - do you have any concern about light? Or are yours all packed away in a closed cabinet? My jars are brown glass bottles scavenged from several years of vitamins and supplements - since I keep them in a rack above my stainless steel workstation, I might have to make some sort of opaque cover to keep the light out....I've also used small [about 1.5 inch high, 1 inch square] metal containers that I've received tea samples in.

memesuze

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have a question--has anyone used purslane (sp??) or lamb's quarters in anything? My friend had a ton in her garden last year and she said it was weeds, but I thought perhaps it was edible?  What is the flavor?

I love purslane!

My grandmother had it growing wild all around her house and it was thrown into salads almost every night.

According to Elizabeth Schneider in her book Vegetables from Amaranth to Zucchini is is best used in salads and soups (added att the last minute) or even steamed or sauteed for just a minute or two, good as a bed for fish. It can even be used in a frittata.

As for Lamb's quarters, I have never used it but according to Elizabeth,

The small tender leaves can be used in salads and then otherwise treat similar to spinach, either boil, steaming or sautee-braising, recipes she includes are for creamed lamb's quarters, lamb's quarters soup, and even a gazpacho of lamb's quarters with shrimp.

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I love purslane!

My grandmother had it growing wild all around her house and it was thrown into salads almost every night.

According to Elizabeth Schneider in her book Vegetables from Amaranth to Zucchini is is best used in salads and soups (added att the last minute) or even steamed or sauteed for just a minute or two, good as a bed for fish. It can even be used in a frittata.

Thanks Torakis! I like and will prob. use the fish idea once the stuff starts running wild again.

Noise is music. All else is food.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Gourmand Cat.... I shall see if our cats will go after chives... They are very fussy... One of them loves all herbs of the mint family (since Catnip is from this same family) and the other loves chocolate.  Just the smell.

Try getting some chocolate mint next time you pick up seedlings. One year we got all sorts of mints: chocolate, pineapple, ginger, etc. in addition to spearmint and peppermint. The aromas were great for iced tea.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...