The Spice Of Life


“Variety’s the very spice of life that gives it all its flavor.”
William Cowper

Less familiar spices.

Spice It Up!


Creating a less expensive meal should never mean eating a tasteless one.  One way to guarantee you get the most from your food is to add a little spice.  Most of us are familiar with the old standbys, like garlic, paprika, cinnamon or ginger, but when you’re in the mood to experiment, how do you know when to use a spice like saffron, coriander or cumin?  What’s the difference in all these spices, anyway? Thankfully, the people at have come up with a great list that describes both common and uncommon spices, and where they’re frequently used.



I don’t know about you, but sometimes I wonder how long those old spice bottles in my cupboard are good for.  It turns out that spices don’t spoil as much as lose strength.  This short post at gives some excellent and practical advice about how long to keep spices.  Two important takeaways:  1) the way you keep and store spices extends their shelf life, and 2) if you do a sniff test and can’t discern a smell, your spice should be tossed.


Do you avoid buying an unfamiliar spice.Have you ever wanted to try a spice, but the price of it changed your mind?  Or maybe you’re afraid you won’t like it and it will end lost in your cupboard.  In times past, our spice choices were limited to those bottles in the grocery store.  Now, some grocery stores offer spices in their bulk food section, which allows you to buy as little or much of a spice as you like.  Other sources for bulk food spices include local Asian markets and health food stores.

Don't let moisture into your spice bottle

Here are some helpful tips for buying and storing spices:


* Buying less spice is more expensive up front, but if it’s a spice you rarely use you save money in the long run because you won’t have to throw the rest out.


* If you don’t have a bulk food section at your favorite store, check the Asian and Mexican food aisles for racks of inexpensive spices packed in plastic bags instead of jars.


* If you need extra spice bottles to store your bulk spice, check garage and estate sales or your local thrift store. Be sure to run them through the dishwasher and make sure they’re completely dry before using them.


* If you’re ready to throw out a spice, save the old bottle and reuse it the next time you buy in bulk. You can find perfectly good bottles of spice at estate sales and save a ton of money in the process.  Do the sniff test—if you can smell the spice there’s probably still some life in it.


Save when you buy bulk spice.

Costco sells larger quantities which you can share with a friend.

* You can find some good deals of larger quantities of spice at stores like Costco. Check with your friends first as you can often split the cost this way.


* If you have a friend or neighbor who likes to cook, why not suggest a trade. That way you can try a spice you wouldn’t normally use and see how you like it.


* Your spices will stay fresher if you keep them dry.  This means pour them into your hand or a small bowl before pouring them into a boiling pot.  In all cases, avoid letting the steam get inside the bottle as the moisture shortens the shelf life.


For great recipe ideas click here.


One Response to The Spice Of Life


Favorite Pages