Spice Up Your Meals!

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Are you constantly reaching for the salt shaker trying to give your bland meal some flavor? Most likely it is NOT more salt you need, but just a little extra spice. You can try adding garlic powder, onion powder, basil, oregano, chili powder, Italian seasoning or some other spice or herb to your dish while it is cooking. This is an easy, inexpensive way to add a lot of flavor to your dishes.

How long have you had your dried herbs and spices in the kitchen? Has it been several years? You might be surprise to know that herbs and spices do have a “Best by”, “Best if Used by” or “Best Before” date on them. Although this does not indicate a safety concern, it does mean that the quality (color, flavor and strength) might not be the best.

If you cannot remember when you bought your spices, you can test them to see if they are still worth using. A simple test you can do is by rubbing a little on your hand and smelling them. If the smell is not strong, you can either replace it or double the amount the recipe calls for.

The lifespan of spices and herbs can vary depending on how you store them or use them. In order to increase the lifespan:

  • You should store your spices in a cool, dark and dry place (right next to the stove might not be the best place).
  • Do not sprinkle or use right over a steaming pot
  • Use a completely dry measuring spoon (keeping out the moisture) the flavor will last longer.
  • Avoid buying large amounts of spices you do not use often.
Spice Rack

Organizing spices in alphabetical order makes it easier to find the one you need.

So avoid reaching for the salt shaker, be adventurous and spice up your life by spicing up your next dish.

Written By

Seydel Cropps, N.C. Cooperative ExtensionSeydel CroppsEFNEP Educator, Extension Program Associate Call Seydel Email Seydel N.C. Cooperative Extension, Surry County Center
Updated on May 7, 2020
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