Friday, September 7, 2012

Spice it up.

I have been on a journey to eat real food. Going from already spiced prepared foods to real food was a challenge. One of the troubles I have had is spicing things up. I started noticing that all my food was tasting the same. I was using the same 5 or 6 flavors in all my food.   I needed help! 

How does one know what spices to use? I was given the advice to let your nose guide the way. Smell the spices together and see what your nose thinks, start experimenting. It was all good advice, but what came in helpful was the spice guide that I have put below.

A word of advice do not start with those spices that have been sitting for years and years, throw them out and start over. Many of the spices lose their flavor after a while. Some say to replace all the spices every six months. For many that is not practical advice. I would say pick a spice to replace every week or two until you get them all replaced.  It worked for me. I am using them more often now, so I am rotating through them.
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For spanish food try some things like
basil, bay leaf, garlic, onion, mild paprika, parsley, peppers (sweet and hot), saffron, lemon, wine, butter, olive oil, mild white cheese.

For French food try things like
basil, bay leaf, celery seed, cardomom, cloves, dill weed, garlic, horseradish, marjorom, mushrooms, mustard, nutmeg, nuts (almonds, walnuts), onion, paprika, parsley, pepper, rosemary, sage, savory, tarragon, thyme, lemon, wine vinegar, wines, sherry, vermouth, butter, olive oil, cheddar cheese, cream cheese, swiss cheese

For Mexican food try
cumin, basil, chili powder, cilantro, lime, garlic, onion, oregano, peppers (sweet and hot), tamarind, tomato dry red wine, lemon, olive oil, cream cheese, mild white cheese, sour cream.

For East European food try
caraway, dill (seed and weed), horseradish, mushroom, onion, paprika hot, parsley, poppyseed, lemon, cider vinegar, dry red wine, sherry, butter, cream cheese, cottage cheese, sour cream, yougurt

For Italian food you could try
basil, bay leaf, garlic, marjarom, mushroom, corriander, onion, oregano, parsley, peppers (sweet and hot), rosemary, saffron, thyme, tomato, wine vinegar, marsala wine, butter, olive oil, hard sharp cheeses, mozzarella, ricotta

For Chinese food try
Anise,cinnamon, cilantro, cloves, garlic, ginger, fennel, five spice powder, mushrooms, mustard, nuts (peanuts, almonds cachews), onion, peppers (hot), sesame seed, soy sauce, vinegar, rice wine vinegar, peanut or soy oil, sesame oil, tofu

Good luck and Happy cooking.

As an added note: I found another page to my notes that includes spices for Indian and Medditeranean dishes. I added that info to a new post and have included the link below here

link to updated spice chart

shared at thrifty home


  1. Thanks for this. I've long wished I understood spices better. And I also wish I hadn't "stocked up" on spices so much. I bought years worth of spices before learning that they lose their flavor! lol I have to double or more some of my spices in recipes now because they're flavor is nearly gone. :p Well, you live and learn.

    I found you on the Morris Tribe blog hop.

  2. Great list, I'm always trying to figure out what spice to use with each dish.

    Chic Shades of Green

  3. Fabulous! Great list for reference and I will pass it along to my daughter who just started cooking for herself in her new place. Thanks for sharing on Hearth & Soul Hop. :)

  4. This post was chosen at one of the top 3 from last Healthy 2day Wednesdays! Thank you for linking up, hope to see ya this week!