Herb and Spice Resources—A Beginning List

Over the week of this posting, a couple of resources have come to my attention that might be helpful for an herb and spice adventure. In particular, these sites have recipes that are indexed by spice, making it easy to find new uses for those herbs and spices on your experimentation list.

For Information and Recipes: www.janespice.com

Born in Australia to a Lebanese family and now relocated to San Fransisco, Ursula Ayrout has created a site to help rescue your meals from the land of bland. “Don’t just make food. Make taste,” as Ursula (a/k/a Jane Spice) says. Her website is new and doesn’t have a full line-up of recipes yet, but there are still quite a number of interesting options, especially those for cumin. Plus, she’s busy adding more recipes and a FAQ section, so keep checking back.

For Information, Recipes and To Buy On-Line: www.thespicehouse.com

The Spice House has been in business for over 50 years, with stores in the Chicago and Milwaukee areas and now a complete online selection. I have no doubt that, with a 50-year history, they are “merchants of the highest quality, hand-selected and hand-prepared spices and herbs.” I’ve ordered several herbs just to see.

However, in addition to quality, I’m looking for no flavor enhancers, colorings, etc. in spice blends and this appears to be largely the case with Spice House products. There are a few blends that contain MSG, but every description includes a complete list of ingredients so you can check for yourself.

Here is what the owners say about MSG: “As the country’s concern for MSG became apparent we made a concerted effort to remove MSG from almost all of our blends. However, MSG is a flavor enhancer that does make things taste better. What we found is our old-time customers complained about the taste difference when we took out the MSG. These are also people who knew they did not have MSG allergies. Only an extremely small percentage of our blends still have MSG for these particular people. We try to be very upfront with our customers about ingredients in our blends. Even though the government requires us to identify only salt, sugar, MSG, garlic, onion and “spices”, we give you every spice ingredient in a blend at the bottom of the seasonings description in our catalogue.

Using Fresh Herbs:  Food Reflections Newsletter, April, 2003

Informative article by the experts at the University of Nebraska’s Cooperative Extension Service.  Filled with useful tips on using fresh herbs, I especially liked the instructions for freezing them, which is particularly apt advice right now.  If any herbs have survived the weather to date, freeze. them soon  In the dead of winter, they compare pretty nicely to fresh.

Others. . . .

Do you have any other good spice resources to share? The next rainy day we have, I’m going to take an outing to the newly opened Boulder Spice Shop and will report back. Could be a nice winter-type outing. . . .

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