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Herbs, Spices, Spice Mixes, Oils and Vinegars.

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So.. sneezing my brains out... why? 2am I decide - lets make taco seasoning... sure enough mix mix mix, double the recipe and grin. taco seasoning made.


But then I look and think... chili powder - what if I make my own?


So I look up a recipe. I find I have only one type of the three dried peppers - but when does not having ingredients stop me. I have other dried peppers, which names I forget, and I seed them, roast them - oh dried habanero? why not.. oh and piri piri peppers? toss in a few of those, along with some other hotties...


Fumes in my kitchen go from sane, to insane - sneezes happens, runny nose, dry roasting the peppers and cumin in my cast iron skillet, I then cool them, mix in garlic, oregano and smoked paprika (and a touch of chipotely pepper powder - I mean its not like its hot already) and a bit of spanish paprika (for colour) grind grind grind - disturbing my poor husband's sleep and now, I have a bag of home made chili powder... muahahahah I need to make a chili.


my eyes are itching...

That sounds like good way to cure a cold.

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That sounds good.


Have you ever made homemade garlic wine? Its for cooking, not for drinking. It is said to stink pretty bad while fermenting so not a winter thing, thinking about trying it this summer doing a batch in the garage. Wont the neighbors love us smile.gif

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I have never heard of garlic wine - but if it smells anything like the sauerkraut I am making with garlic in it....

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My favourite seasoning mix for roast lamb is ground cumin, ground coriander seeds, powdered garlic, powdered onion and salt. My mother hates a lot of herbs including rosemary, so a non-rosemary solution required some internet searching. The mix mentioned in the first sentence popped up, tastes absolutely amazing on slow roasted lamb. Makes the house smell great for the whole day too!

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Have you ever made chili jellies? the hotter the pepper the better.

No, I am considering it.I have a box of 125ml jars sitting on my desk and jellies would be perfect for that.

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Here in the south pepper jellies are a favorite for use with meats and as appetizers such as with cream cheese on crackers. I also like to use pic-a-peppa on cream cheese with crackers as a cocktail appetizer.


Christmas pepper jellies are a favored friendship gift at Christmas time.


Do you eat chutneys? Do you make your own, Starscream?




Garlic and pepper mixes are my two on top spices. I like to use ginger and nutmeg and horseradish too.




Italian friends make raosted lamb with garlic cloves enbedded under the surface of the meat before putting into the oven. They also sprinkled pepper on it. Mint jelly for the Americans was served and also a horseradish sauce.


Finances are a bit tight at the minutemaking my spice rack kind of bare, but mom always had a fairly wide selection of spices and used . They do die as they lose potency. Alcohol such as wines and bourbon/whiskey also help flavor basic food items.


I personally hate fresh rosemary.


Spices, herbs and mixes of them and liquids make food taste so much better and different from the plain variety of protein or vegetable. I like to eat. Sad but true.

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I am not too much into condiments, but I have made chutneys. I have a chuntney on my counter we made a year ago - I should pop that jar open and nom.


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Yeah pink salt.


My mum's made ginger candies.... we tend to gobble them down at Christmas. I don't really make a lot of sweets. For Interest sake, I actually have ginger growing right now.


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Sea salt is definitely preferred to regular salt...

Oh and cloves go well on honey-basted ham...mmmmmmm...



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Starscream, when can I come over to your place to eat? wink.gif


In my apartment, I liked to grow some of my own herbs (to varying levels of success). I'd either dry them or use them fresh. Lemon balm, mint, peppermint, chocolate mint, sweet basil, thai basil, cinnamon basil, oregano, perilla (purple), stevia, and rosemary.


I've also made my vanilla extract. I made quite a bit of it the first time and I'm still working on the jar I made. smile.gif


Since moving up to keep an eye on grandma, I haven't done much growing but I did bring my dashi-no-moto (think something like a fish bullion), Himalayan pink salt, Hawaiian red salt, homemade vanilla extract, and the bags of herbs I dried. I'm slowly introducing her to different cuisine. At 93 she isn't very adventurous but she's willing to let me cook sometimes.

Edited by ytak

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Wow Starscream , that are a LOT of spieces blink.gif


Besides the classic oil and salt, while cooking I usually use


Thyme, especially on meat

Oregano, on meat or on pizza

Curry powder mix, with chicken or rice

Garlic, usually in peeled cloves.

Basil, on canapé and of course making pesto

Parsley, with fish




Chives, on meat and vegetables

Cinnamon, in cakes


Saffron, in rice of course


I have most of them in little pots in my terrace so I can use them very fresh.

I don't really like pepper and chili, and I use vinegar mostly for the water of my gardenias then while cooking tongue.gif

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Pepper jellies are tasty on good home made bread or biscuits and so pretty. We usually use jalapeno's. Then add a little red, yellow or green food coloring.


I made an effort at growing some herbs this year that went pretty well. Unfortunately/fortunately. I got offered a new job this year and took it. But I had to uproot everything so the garden was a loss. I'll have to start over next year. I had basil, oregano, sage and cilantro. Though the cilantro all died for some reason.


I also had some super tiny tasty tomatoes. They were about the size of a garbanzo bean. And the bush grew like a weed :3 I'll will certainly be growing them again next year!


This is where I got my seeds from: http://www.rareseeds.com/store/vegetables/

And this the teeny tomato Tess's land race currant tomato

(warning, site is addictive. Ever seen blue tomatoes or purple carrots?)


I got 9 out of 11 of the spice questions right. The cumin seeds threw me, I was thinking Fennel. I've only seen Cumin ground. And I had no clue what number 3 was.


I tried one of those Aerogardens a couple years ago and failed abysmally. Bulk paper cups from Costco? Worked!

Paper Cup Garden


Raised Garden

Sadly, the cover on the raised garden was of limited use. Tiny grasshoppers, praying mantis, lady bugs etc all found their way in. Wretched grasshoppers ate all my carrots as they sprouted.

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If we ever have something that just isn't spicy enough, my mom loves adding a pinch of ground African bird pepper (piri piri) to dishes. I really like that it adds a really good kick without altering the flavor too much like chili powder and others will.


I don't really know too much about spices and things. I want to learn a bit more, though. My mom's a much better cook and knows a lot about that sort of stuff so I let her do the experimental mixing.

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Tess's land race currant tomato[/url]

(warning, site is addictive. Ever seen blue tomatoes or purple carrots?)

I really like that it adds a really good kick without altering the flavor too much like chili powder and others will.

Oooh, thanks both of you! Very interesting :D

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Coco beans? Sounds weird, but they are really more bittery then expected.

Had cinnamon chicken last night. The best.

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Coco beans? Sounds weird, but they are really more bittery then expected.

cocoa/cacao beans, you mean? I mean, they ARE used for making chocolate, but I'm sure you've seen the varying types of dark chocolate, where they have different percentages of cacao. The higher, the more bitter because they don't have as much sweetening things in them. They're more "pure" chocolate, in a sense. o3o

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I ate cocoa beans at school. bitter as the pit. Interesting though. Cocoa nibs are what I can get locally.

Edited by Starscream

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I don't cook and I don't know much about spices. However, there were a several recipes online that were so compelling that I did attempt some experiments in the kitchen. When I didn't have particular spices, I improvised using this chart as reference. (For the cooks out there, what are your comments on the chart? ^^)


Before my culinary experiments, I did an inventory of spices at home. The ones I remember that I had were: anise (star), basil, cayenne powder, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, paprika, rosemary, saffron, and thyme. Of course, there was the usual salt and pepper too.


Oh and I really like sesame oil. <3

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Some of you may be aware I am recently graduated from a culinary school and I am a chef. I enjoy cooking, but I enjoy flavours and spices.


I have been trying to reorganise my spice collection. Yes, I appear to collect spices amongst other things. I think there are only a couple I have yet to use.


Herbs and Spices in my hoard are


Exotic Spices

Allspice, Berries

Allspice, ground

Amchur, Powder (powdered mango)

Anise, Seed, Whole

Anise, Star Whole pod

Arawan, Seed

Cardamon, Green pods

Cardamon, black pods

Clove, Powder

Clove, Whole

Corriander, Seed

Corriander, Powder

Cumin, Seed

Cumin, Powder

Curry, spice mix

Curry, leaves

Fenugreek, Seed

Mace, Powder

Nutmeg, Whole

Nutmeg, Powder

Turmeric, Powder

Vanilla, Whole pods

Saffron, Whole


Cooking Chemicals

Citric Acid


Cream of tartar

Ammonium Bicarbonate


Common Spices

Basil, Leaves

Fennel, Seed

Garlic, powder

Ginger, Powder

Mint, Leaves

Mustard,  Powder, yellow

Mustard, Seed, Yellow

Mustard, Seed, Black

Mustard, Seed, Brown

Onion, Powder

Onion, Seed

Oregano, Leaves

Parsley, Leaves

Rosemary, Leaves

Thyme, Leaves


Unusual herbs, Spices

Juniper, berries

Senna, Pods

Sumac, Powder



Pepper, Black, whole

Pepper, Black, ground

Pepper, Mixed, whole

Pepper, White, ground



Salt, Black, Cyprus, flake

Salt, Pink, Himalayan, rock

Salt, White, kosher, flake

Salt, White, table

Salt, White, course sea

Salt, White, Pickling

Salt, Smoky


Hot Peppers and mixes

Birds Eye Peppers, whole, dry

Cayenne Pepper, Ground

Chili, Powder

Chili peppers, flake

Chipotle Pepper, Powder

Ghost peppers, chocolate, whole, dry

Ghost Peppers, red,  Whole, dry

Paprika, Spanish, mild

Paprika, smoky, hot

Paprika, smoke, hot

Piri piri Peppers, whole, dry

Trinidad scorpion Peppers, red, whole, dry

Trinidad scorpion peppers, yellow, whole, dry

Variegated fish peppers, whole, dry



Malt Vinegar

Apple Cider Vinegar

White Balsamic Vinegar

Red Balsamic Vinegar

Red Balsam Vinegar, 18 years aged

Red Wine Vinegar

White Wine Vinegar

Rice Vinegar Vinegar

White, Vinegar Vinegar


I have used all the spices except the sumac and senna pods. I frequently use them as part of other spice mixes, I find that mixing my own spices results in recipes that I can control the flavours. I also like to collect spices for different forms of cuisine. I enjoy Indian cuisine and Chinese cuisine, so a lot of my spices can be mixed on the fly. I also make my own curry pastes.


In order to utilise my spices, I have also collected a variety of mortar and pestles. I use them all, depending on what I want.


My knowledge of spices for some reason is greater than my knowledge of herbs. I find spices fascinating and I have whole books dedicated to them.


I am intrigued with salts, and I may end up collecting other salt types. there are many varieties and each have a use, much of it is for presentation. I use kosher salt the most in a pinch pot. It dissolves easily and is pretty much pure.


Recent additions to my collection are the ghost and scorpion peppers. These are not fully dry yet and are hanging off strings in my kitchen. I also have a yellow pepper, but the name eludes me. I grew it in my garden this summer along with the variegated fish pepper. I also enjoy peppers and I have a high heat tolerance. With that said, I would not dare eat a scorpion pepper. I have tasted the juices and they are incredibly powerful!! I have been known to eat whole Habanero peppers.


Spices are a lot of fun. What do you use and why?

I had no idea that someone else in the DC Forum shared my passion for cooking, herbs and spices!!

I've been cooking since I was 8 years old and was able to persuade the teachers of the culinary classes in boarding school that I was up to the challenge. I grow my own herbs and veggies, with the help of a couple of Aerogardens, once the seedlings are strong enough, I move them in my small (and cheap) greenhouses. I'm quite familiar with your list (I spend an obscene amount of money on Penzey's), but I use also a lot of cilantro leaves, chives, shishito (padron) peppers and my favorite salts are Maldon and Sel Gris! I love Balsamic vinegar (the original one, from Modena) but Sherry Vinegar is something I can't do without. That brings me to something else I MUST use while cooking: Port, Sherry (in particular Amontillado), Marsala, Cognac (or Armagnac) and brandy.


ETA: adding my favorite site for seeds, http://www.kitazawaseed.com/

Edited by NotBambi

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