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Old 07-01-2010, 07:34 AM   #1
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Suggestion of herbs and spices to purchase for the beginner cook?

Hey everyone! I'm pretty much just getting into cooking and was wondering which herbs and spices do you find to be essential on your spice rack?

Thanks! x

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Old 07-01-2010, 08:34 AM   #2
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In no particular order: Italian seasoning, oregano, rosemary, fennel, celery seed, paprika, cumin, chili powder, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, allspice, bay leaf, sage, garlic powder, onion powder...
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Old 07-01-2010, 10:07 AM   #3
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keep in mind, most people will have a different opinion on this....everyone has different tastes, and will therefore find some spices more important than others...wyogal gave a pretty decent list, though

one other thing to keep in mind is that the form spices/herbs come in makes a big difference...for instance, i think that most would agree that whole peppercorns in a mill is a must compared to the pre-ground stuff (which is basically black saw dust)....fresh herbs have a different taste, and are often (but not always) preferred over dried....freshly grated nutmeg has more flavor than pre-ground...i personally like granulated garlic and think it has many uses, while other may only prefer to use fresh

those are just some random examples...i guess the bottom line is that you should try as many things as possible, and find what you like....perhaps start with small quantities of the herbs/spices you aren't sure about to see if you like them....its the worst when you buy the large bottle of some spice, just to discover you dont like it, then it sits in the pantry for years
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Old 07-01-2010, 12:48 PM   #4
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Angelwings - first things first.

Number One is to keep in mind that dried herbs & spices have a definite shelf life, usually based at a year or less depending on where/how they are stored.

Number Two is to sit down & think about what you like to cook. For instance, I consider a jar of Penzey's "Hot Curry Powder" & "Vindaloo Powder" staples in my pantry, but if you don't like or cook a lot of hot Indian dishes, those would be a waste for you.

That said, if I were going to be on a desert island & were just granted the very bare basics (outside of salt & black peppercorns), I'd choose dried oregano, thyme, rosemary, granulated (not powdered) garlic, crushed red pepper flakes, & ground cayenne pepper. With these I could pretty much cook up quite a feast.

Now - depending on your cooking tastes, to these you could also add ground cumin, coriander, paprika (hot, sweet, smoked), Five-spice powder, granulated onion, celery seed, caraway seed, etc., etc. But again - it's all going to depend on the type of cooking you do.

If, as you say, you're just getting into cooking, I strongly suggest just buying what you need depending on the recipes you're making. No sense in wasting money on something that will be tasteless in 6 months & have to go into the trash.
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Old 07-01-2010, 01:03 PM   #5
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Herb Chart
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Old 07-03-2010, 04:02 PM   #6
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Kosher salt, blk pepper, garlic.
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Old 07-03-2010, 05:38 PM   #7
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What? No one said cardamom yet? Cardamom!

Also, dill, thyme, lavender if you can find it, tumuric, coriander, clove, cinnimon.
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Old 07-03-2010, 06:28 PM   #8
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Actually, cardamom wouldn't be considered a basic & necessary herb for a beginner cook unless that cook already knew that he/she enjoyed recipes using it. Remember that none of these spices remain fresh for very long, so it doesn't make sense to buy something unless you know you're going to use it.

That's why most folks are suggesting the basic herbs found in basic recipes. Once the OP starts trying & cooking different cuisines, that will be the time to start investing in things like cardamom, tumeric, etc., etc.
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Old 07-03-2010, 07:19 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BreezyCooking View Post
Angelwings - first things first.

Number One is to keep in mind that dried herbs & spices have a definite shelf life, usually based at a year or less depending on where/how they are stored.

Number Two is to sit down & think about what you like to cook. For instance, I consider a jar of Penzey's "Hot Curry Powder" & "Vindaloo Powder" staples in my pantry, but if you don't like or cook a lot of hot Indian dishes, those would be a waste for you.

That said, if I were going to be on a desert island & were just granted the very bare basics (outside of salt & black peppercorns), I'd choose dried oregano, thyme, rosemary, granulated (not powdered) garlic, crushed red pepper flakes, & ground cayenne pepper. With these I could pretty much cook up quite a feast.

Now - depending on your cooking tastes, to these you could also add ground cumin, coriander, paprika (hot, sweet, smoked), Five-spice powder, granulated onion, celery seed, caraway seed, etc., etc. But again - it's all going to depend on the type of cooking you do.

If, as you say, you're just getting into cooking, I strongly suggest just buying what you need depending on the recipes you're making. No sense in wasting money on something that will be tasteless in 6 months & have to go into the trash.
I would agree with your basic list. Past that I would purchase spices and herbs as needed. If you find a recipe that needs another spice, your choices are to purchase it when purchasing the other ingredients, or substitute. In any case, I would buy the smallest quantity from the highest turnover store I could find. Old spices are not worth using.
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Old 07-20-2010, 07:19 AM   #10
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Thyme, Oregano, Basil, Garlic powder, Onion Powder, Dill, and bay leaves. I mention Thyme because I make lots of soup. Thyme is used in many cream soups.
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