Diversify your cooking with herbs and spices to get the most from your food storage, the best of scratch cooked meals, and enjoy cooking with new and interesting flavors.
How to use spices and herbs in your scratch cooking
Turmeric, curry, and hot peppers are the hallmark of Indian cooking. Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme signal our tastebuds for French and English cuisine. Garlic, oregano, and basil remind us of Greek and Italian dishes. Add some flavorful cheese and aromatic sauces and you have an ethnic cuisine on the table in minutes. Spices and herbs are the hallmark of flavorful scratch cooking.
Be sure to have you family’s favorite spices on hand at all times. Buy them in bulk from a store that has a strong turn over to ensure that they are always fresh. Store in glass mason jars in your freezer, and refill smaller spice bottles that you keep near your cooking area for handy use. This is the most economical way to purchase spices. Plastics do not preserve the antioxidants in spices as well as glass. Plastic breaths and is reactive, whereas glass is stable and air tight.
Don’t just buy a spice cabinet full of spices in little spice bottles because everyone else does. Instead focus on the flavors and herbs that your family loves and that you use all the time and buy them in bulk. Store them well and they will last for a year or two without loss of flavor or antioxidants.
If you can grow some of your own spices and herbs you are ahead of the game because your own homegrown spices will always be more flavorful than what you can purchase in the store. Think of thyme, garlic, oregano, basil, chives, onions, ginger, mint, hot peppers, and coriander as a good starting place.
Here’s my signature chart to get you comfortable mixing and matching different flavors in your own kitchen. Always choose from the things you already have on-hand using the Pantry Method of Menu Planning.
Print this chart and put it on your fridge to be a handy reference for your own menu planning to keep your menus fresh and appetizing.
Back to You:
If you are new to cooking from scratch and could use a little more support, come over and join my Facebook group. We’ve got a series in the Unit Section focused on easy step by step recipes to help you master basic cooking skills, so that you feel confident in the kitchen. You can learn more about the group here and see if its a good fit for you.