Healthier Alternatives to Store Bought Spice Blends
When you cook as much as we do you’re always looking to try new things, whether it’s seasonings, marinades, or methods. You are always looking for ways to take a tried and true recipe and change it up a bit so things don’t get boring. I know we get in ruts sometimes and when this happens one of the first things we look at is the seasonings we are using.
Of course, you can just go to the store and grab a bottle of some massed produced seasoning, but then you are are at the mercy of that manufacturer when it comes to ingredients and quality. It could have MSG and who knows what else in there.
What we like to do is make our own spice blends using the best quality ingredients we can find and store them to use for the next few months.
Spicy SPG (Salt – Pepper – Garlic)
SPG is a fairly common seasoning mix. It forms the basis for a lot of the house spice or house seasonings out there. Our take is a little different because it’s quite spicy. It’s got the black pepper bite you usually see with SPG with a pronounced fiery hit from the toasted chilis.
- 2 TBSP Himalayan Salt
- 2 TBSP Dried Cayenne or Red Chilis
- 1.5 TBSP Cracked Black Pepper
- 1 TBSP Granulated Garlic
- 1 TBSP Coriander Seeds
- Toast the coriander seeds and the chilis over medium heat for about 2 minutes.
- Combine the toasted chilies and coriander in a mortar and pestle with the remaining ingredients. Grind until fine and uniform in appearance. A spice grinder works fine as well.
- Transfer to a spice container for storage.
2 Other Superstar Seasonings
One of our all-time favorite spice blends is Emeril’s Essence Creole Seasnoning. It’s the Cajun seasoning by which all others are judged. We use it on sautéed chicken and fish multiple times a week.
This is one that we’ve mentioned a few times before, but the Hot and Numbing Wing Spice from Kenji Lopez-Alt at Serious Eats is amazing. It’s the perfect wing spice. Put this on crispy wings and I can’t get enough.
If you are going to take the time and effort to make your own homemade spices then you are going to want to make sure they stay fresh as long as possible.
That is why we use these glass jars from Infinity Jars for proper storage. They are air proof, light proof, and will keep your spices fresh for many months.
Just look at this example they have on their website.
2 Month Chive Test
This is a lab test comparing effectiveness at storing chives in (from L to R) the Infinity Jar ultraviolet screwtop jar, an amber screwtop jar, and a clear glass jar. Infinity Jar clearly out-performed the other jars by keeping the chives green and fresh. Chives are among the most fragile and easily perishable herbs you can find at a grocery store. Much like your lotions, essential oils and other products, improper protection against visible light, as seen in the amber and clear glass, will lead to a fast decomposition and degradation.
What initially drew my attention to these screw top jars was the beautiful, dark violet glass and the sleek design. The deep violet color looks great and is the secret to the their impressive preservation capability. It blocks out harmful light rays that degrade organic matter, while allowing two beneficial light rays that are laboratory proven to preserve and extend shelf life for up to 2 years! You won’t find that at your grocery store!
What are your favorite spice blends and how do you like to store them?