The Spices of Life

Spices The picture above is my spice cabinet.  Please don’t look at the dust.  🙂  Spices play an important role in the kitchen.  They bring flavor to your food and often add a touch of color.  It is not hard to build up a spice cabinet.  I want to share some “spicy” things from our house. 

First of all, many spices are easy to grow. Some that are perennials will provide for you year after year.  I have a sage plant that comes up faithfully every year and gets huge.  Chives will come up each year for you.  Basil is an annual (at least in these parts), but comes up easily from seed.  You can also grow spices on your window sill.  I like to fill my spice jars with herbs from my garden.  I dry they by putting them in my dehydrator or most often, I hang them from the ceiling in bunches.  

IMG_6877 I take them down one kind at a time and put them over a large bowl and start crunching and pulling off leaves, etc.   Then crush them to the right size (I normally do this with my hands) and put in a jar and label.  If you open and smell or taste a jar of freshly dried herbs vs. what you get in the store, you will be amazed.  There is so much more flavor and aroma.  Then each year if you dry more, you can put any left from last year in the compost and fill your jars again.  I want to do a “gift idea” post soon, and herbs and spices will play a part in that post as well.

Another way to build your spice cabinet is to order herbs and spices in bulk.  There are several spices that I use regularly and I can’t or choose not to grow.  Some that come to mind right off are Cinnamon, Cumin and Chili Powder.  I buy these by the pound.  I normally buy through Frontier (I order from them with the co-op I run), but Amazon carries a lot of Frontier products by the pound.  If you click on the links above, it will take you to that product at Amazon (my affiliate partner).  There are other herbs and spices you can buy by the pound. On those you can buy a pound for what a little jar in the store costs, but you will probably never use them all.  This is where friends come in handy.  One of those that comes to mind is Bay Leaves.  Bay Leaves add flavor to a lot of foods, but they are also great to help keep bugs out.  You can put several leaves in the top of your grains or spices to keep bugs out.  You can also put some on your cabinet shelves or pantry shelves to help in this way.  When you buy a pound of Bay Leaves they fill close to a 2 gallon container.  🙂  You would be hard pressed to use all of them.  So, you ask friends to go in with you to buy your Bay Leaves and then you split them up.  Everyone gets plenty, but pays very little.  I keep my bulk herbs and spices in big jars in my pantry.  Then when my smaller jar in the spice cabinet gets empty, I fill it up again.  This saves me money and I rarely run out of anything.  

share I am resource for people both online and locally.  I have people who bring me things they want to sell and also things they want to share.  I had a woman bring me a whole bunch of jars she had saved.  They were all Polaner All Fruit jars.  I decided to make those my spice jars.  I got out my Canning Labels and wrote the name of the herbs on them.  Then my son made me a little stair step shelf so that I could see all 3 rows of them as you see in the picture below.

Spicesa I put the ones I use most often on the front row and they are in alphabetical order. 🙂  This has saved me time and I can almost reach blindfolded in my spice cabinet and grab exactly what I need.  I make my own Italian Salad Dressing and also many of my own spice mixes.  It is very handy to have my cabinet set up this way.  I will share a couple of those recipes below. 

Taco Seasoning

  • 1 Tbsp Dried Onion                                                                             
  • 1 tsp Granulated Garlic
  • 1 tsp Chili Powder                                                  
  • ½  tsp Cumin                                                           
  • ½  tsp Oregano                                                         
  • 1 tsp Salt                                                                  
  • ½ tsp Arrowroot Powder (optional)                                                  
  • ½ tsp Cayenne Pepper                                                                   

 Put all of the above on a pound of ground beef or chicken.  Add 1/2 cup of water and let simmer for at least 10 mins.

Chili Seasoning

 Put all of the above on the ground beef or chicken.  This is also good sprinkled over popcorn.


Once you have your supply built up, it is easy to keep it up.  Spices really do add to the food you make for your family.  If you have any questions, please ask them in the comments below. 

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