When walking through the grocery store, spice blends are taking up more and more shelf space. Why is that?
According to the marketers, pre-made spice blends will save you time and money.
I agree with them on one count: spice blends save you so much time. Especially when you cook with a specific blend of spices a lot.
When they say it saves you money, I must disagree. Buying THEIR spice blends will not save you money. Making your own spice blends will save you a lot of money.
Buying a pre-made spice blend usually costs a lot more than the individual spices it contains. There are a few reasons for this:
- Marketing costs
- Packaging costs
- Distribution costs
When buying the individual spices, you will soon see that it is much cheaper than buying the blend.
A small bottle of Apple Pie Spice can be as much as $5. Our Apple Pie Spice Blend is a fraction of the cost, even with the addition of cardamom and ginger. Ours is not only more economical, it tastes much better.
Allergens and Health Conditions
Those of us with health conditions or allergies may easily assume that spice blends only contain spices. Hmmm, sadly no.
Many companies add preservatives/additives to either increase shelf life or improve the taste. Unfortunately, this can cause big problems for those that must avoid them. Common added ingredients include:
- MSG (monosodium glutamate)
- Modified Food Starches
- Hidden Gluten
- Silicone Dioxide
- Spices (which spices?)
- Natural Flavouring (which flavouring?)
Its All About Taste
Most spice blends found in stores are developed to please the majority of palates. But many people find that they must add additional spices to make it just right. What’s the point of a pre-made blend if more spices need to be added?
I might as well make it myself.
Now back to the marketers claim that I wholeheartedly agree with: using a spice blend saves time. You bet it does!
Consider our Moroccan Chicken recipe. It is just two ingredients. Yup … chicken and Moroccan Spice Blend. That’s it. If we were to have to gather every spice and the chicken, it would be more than 10 ingredients. That’s a lot of measuring.
Since the Moroccan Spice Blend can be used with so many other foods (rice, vegetables, etc.), I opted to make it a spice blend that I keep on hand.
When you think about it, most recipes are just a few ingredients and additional spices. The spices make the flavour. I have saved so much time by just having my favourite blends on hand so I can avoid all that measuring.
What Tools Are Needed
Most of the tools you need to make spice blends are already in your cupboard.
- Left over spice jars. I now have a Spice Drawer
- Small jars (even from other foods like baby food, jams, etc)
- Sharpie marker or paper with wide box tape (write the label and tape over the entire label)
- Printable labels to make everything nice and tidey
- Spices. Dig through your cupboard of spices and throw out what is old and stale and see what you already have on hand to make your blends. This is a great time to go out and get some beautiful fresh spices
All in all, spice blends are an excellent option to help control the cost, and create amazing flavour that is just the way you like it.
Create and Use Your Own Spice Blends
Let’s say that you have a favourite recipe that requires a number of spices. The recipe is delicious but it would save so much time if the spices did not have to be measured individually each time.
This is a great time to make a spice blend for that recipe. The next time you want to make this much loved recipe, measuring out the spices is now much easier and quicker.
The process is quite simple:
- Review the recipe you want to use, focusing just on the spices
- Measure out the spices used in the recipe
- Mix all the spices together and then measure it or weigh it. Write this down so you can add it to the spice jar label
- Make a large batch of the spice blend (make enough that it will fill your jar)
- Get a clean dry spice jar and put the spice blend into the jar
- Label the jar with the name of the spice mixture and the amount to use for your recipe
BONUS: Many spice blends can be used for other dishes, such as roasted vegetables. I do this all the time with my Beef Stew Spice Blend.
We have created a graphic to help demonstrate the process.
Do you use spice blends? Let us know about your favourites.