Spices can be intimidating. Most people like to stick with the same seasonings in every dish instead of adventuring off into the world of countless herbs and spices. Every region of the world has their own unique flavors. I have said this a million times before but I absolutely positively hate picky eaters or people that won’t try something if it “looks” nasty. One of the most exciting things to me is trying new flavors unfamiliar to me. I grew up surrounded by great cooks and was constantly introduced to exotic spices and although I know not everyone is raised that way, it is never too late to change it. Step outside your comfort zone people! The worst that could happen is you don’t like it so you spit it out. BIG DEAL.
When I first started cooking (really cooking) I had to put the sazon and adobo away. Of course they are yummy but there is soooooo much more than the finger staining orange seasoning in a little packet. SO much more. I was reminded of how beautiful and unique each spice is when I took these pictures. I broke them down and included a little information about each (taste, origin, what it goes good with etc) so get a little crazy this new year and expand your horizons!
- regular salt works and ll but sea salt is just a major improvement. You use less to get the same flavor and it is A LOT better. I only cook with sea salt OR kosher salt, none of that man made iodized stuff. This is obviously the most basic and easiest spice to get your hands on.
Dry Italian Seasoning
- I know I always say that fresh is better and I still do, but sometimes you need to take shortcuts in order to get dinner on the table at a decent time. Fresh herbs are always available and fairly cheap but a dry Italian seasoning is clutch to have in the pantry. When you are making any Italian dish, this mixture of rosemary, oregano, marjoram, parsley, garlic powder and salt is an inexpensive time-save.
- Also known as cilantro or “chinese parsley”, this dry seed is what the herb starts off as. I love me some cilantro and it is found in a lot of Asian and Hispanic cuisine for it’s earthly flavor. It’s refreshing taste is more pungent than the refreshing leaf so you don’t have to use much to get the flavor.
- This is hands down one of my favorite spices. This is what makes a taco taste like a taco a who doesn’t love tacos?! Cumin is a brown earthy spice used in a lot of Middle Eastern and Indian food and has a strong, unmistakable flavor. The smokey and earthy flavor originates in the Mediterranean and Asia.
- This is one of the most underrated flavors ever! The smokey and sweet flavor can be used on just about everything. I use it in a majority of my rubs like a pork rub. I also use it as a base seasoning for chicken or pork when i am making a sauce. It is incredible with BBQ food and I sometimes use it in soup to add another layer of flavor. It originates from Hungary and that European region so you can see it in a alot of that cuisine.
- Doesn’t it seem like turmeric came out of nowhere? All of a sudden it is all the craze but I have been eating it for years in Indian and Asian dishes. My mother always used some of the bright yellow/orange spice in her deliciousssss curry so I always liked the flavor. It is a relative of ginger so there is a slight spice to it. I always say it has a mild pepper taste that can be sometimes sweet tasting if it is paired with certain things. It is SUPER good for you and full of antioxidants. I even use a tablespoon in my smoothies for additional nutrients.
- `These crispy white spices are something my kitchen never misses. My spice pantry usually has 2 or 3 on deck. Let’s be real, no one wants to cut an onion or smash garlic all the time so why not take the lovely substitution of their flavors in a cheap and simple way?? Of course the real things will always be better but sometimes quick meals can be made without all the extra chopping and dicing. I use them both on just about everything.
Crushed Red Pepper
- If you’ve read my blog at all, than you know I love spicy! Not sweating profusely spicy, but just enough spice to clear my nose and still taste my food. I use it on everything from pizza to pasta to soups. The heat and spice is great when you are feeling a little under the weather and can help eliminate inflammation. A little goes a long way with these bad boys so always use sparingly.
- Need I say more? Chili wouldn’t be possible without this spice so I absolutely love it and all it has to offer to the food world. It has a major smokey flavor and very little heat but it adds a nice deep red color to every dish. I also use this in all taco and fajita seasoning mixtures.