Some recipes will undoubtedly call for some obscure spices that you’ve never heard of…but, most will stick to a pretty common assortment.
It can be annoying to make a trip to the grocery and buy new spices that you may never use again. So, keeping some spices on hand in bulk, will save you time and money in all of your cooking endeavors.
There are a few essential spices that are worth buying ahead of time, even if you don’t have a recipe that requires them yet.
Salt and Pepper
The salt and pepper combo is a basic necessity for the table; but, they are also important to have for most food preparation.
You can get your salt and pepper in pre-ground form. Some prefer their pepper in whole peppercorn form, grinding it as needed.
Adding salt and pepper during the cooking process brings out the flavors of the other ingredients and spices you may use.
Whether Vanilla Extract and Cocoa Powder are considered spices or just ingredients is debatable. Either way, they are vital to any successful kitchen.
They are not just used for baking. You will find both of these ingredients hidden in many savory recipes. So, be sure to keep them on hand.
Another spice that shows up in baking and general cooking is Ground Cinnamon.
It’s used in cakes and many other baked goods...but, it also shows up in dishes like stews and chili. Plus, it makes a great garnish on a cup of hot chocolate or eggnog, giving it a little spice!
The Spicy Spices
Different dishes will call for different types of heat. So, you will want to keep Crushed Red Pepper, Chili Powder and Cayenne Pepper on hand. Each is a different type of spicy.
Crushed Red Pepper shakers have become a standard on the tables of Italian style restaurants and pizza parlors.
Chili Peppers originated in Mexico, but can be found in many different types of cuisine.
Cayenne Pepper is widely used in Mexican dishes, Cajun cooking and has now become a staple of various Asian cuisines.
Keeping all three on hand will ensure you’re prepared for whatever new recipe you want to try.
Fresh herbs make a great addition to any dish, but they’re not always available. Keep backups in the form of dried Oregano, Parsley and any other herbs you commonly use.
Also, keep Bay Leaves on hand. They are often used to flavor soups and stews.
One of my personal favorites…Spike is an all-purpose, natural gourmet seasoning. This spice can be used to season any meat type.
I also use this spice to prepare vegetarian beans and even eggs. It’s just a great general cooking spice!
Most spices/seasonings can be found inexpensively in various grocery stores or even discount shops.
Another way to find them at an even more reduced price is through global food markets, where they tend to have a wide variety.