Thursday, April 15, 2010

Frugal Tip: Spices

One of the great things about moving is the opportunity to purge. We've moved 3 times in 3 years. We've managed to weed out a lot of stuff and learn to part with what isn't necessary. I love being able to do that. I'm looking at this as a fresh start.

As a fresh start in the kitchen is starting with my spice rack. It's easy to let the contents of those little jars get old and before you know it, there is a bunch of flavorless powder or flakes inside. It goes against everything I was taught growing up - but I'm throwing out what I have and getting new. (We found some spices of my mom's from the 80's when we moved her a few years ago).

Spices can be really expensive and you don't necessarily get a lot for your money. I grow a lot of my own herbs, but winter/spring in ND isn't exactly a great growing season. Until I can, I found a bulk herb rack in the organic section of the supermarket. Yeehaw did I have fun. I'm rationing myself to a few each week so that I work on developing recipes with what I did get...

Seriously - scored enough basil to last for quite a while for $.10 and Italian spices for $.16. I think I got 3 or 4 T of nutmeg for $1.16 and a big batch of sea salt for $1.18. Lastly, I was thrilled to find good coconut in bulk. I'm talking the unsweetened finely shredded stuff that doesn't taste like sweet plastic. I got almost 4 cups for $1.56.

The sweet deal on the spices is definitely anything flaky/lightweight. The best part of the deal is that they are all organic and VERY fresh (as fresh as dried herbs get). Next up is oregano (my fav herb), garlic powder, ginger (I bought fresh ginger too - sm root for $.75), cinnamon (my fav spice), and some seeds.

In MI there were several stores that specialized in bulk spices. Kicking myself that I never made it there, but this isn't bad. You can also check you local health/organic stores often sell bulk or in small packets rather than larger jars. It's a lot cheaper that way, and often a lot fresher (due to demand/turnover).

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