Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Sugar and Spice
Here's the thing. Over the years I have moved towards using fresh herbs more dried herbs less. Why then did I have not one but two jars of dried basil? I cannot recall the last time I used that particular herb in its dried form. Same with tarragon. And parsley. Who uses dried parsley anyway and what compelled me to buy it in the first place?
Before I started this little project I did a little online research. Dried herbs and spices last about a year, except for seeds, which last a little longer. Further, if the herbs and spices don't smell like whatever they are, they're past their prime as well. This information made my task a whole lot easier because I am sure that more of the contents of that drawer were at least five years old.
So, it was out with the old and in with the new. The nice thing about starting fresh is that I only had to buy those herbs and spices that I actually use. There was no need to replace said basil and parsley. In fact, the only herb I ever use dried is oregano because I think fresh oregano is too strong. As far as spices go, that too was a pretty limited list. I figure if I am going to make a recipe that calls for garam marsala, then I can go out and buy it. I don't need to have it on hand just in case.
So, off I went to Penzeys Spices (Penzeys), which conveniently has a store in the Strip District. I was able to pick up nice wide mouth jars that I could label using my label maker and a fresh supply of the spices I use most often. Since the bags of spices, which are far more economical than buying them in printed jars, hold more than the jars, I popped the leftovers into the freezer where they will stay nice and fresh until I need to refill the jars.
Now my spice drawer is picture perfect. That is, until I start accumulating again .