Dinner, Staples

Frugal Food Series | Tip 4: Spices

At our wedding shower I received a box filled with 30, empty spice jars.  One of my family members remarked, “what on earth would you need 30 spice jars for?”  With a confused look, my response was, “yeah, 30 isn’t really enough, is it?”

I like spices you guys.  And in frugal cooking it can make all the difference between a very bland meal and a very fulfilling eating experience.  But when you have 30 empty spice jars to fill, herbs and spices can add up at the register.  Especially, if you like fancy things like I do (notice the 2 different kinds of fancy salts in the picture above from my collection of 8).

The reason I added empty spice jars to our registry is because I discovered the most economical way to buy spices.  In bulk.  If you are native to Grand Rapids, visiting your local, Harvest Health location, you will find an enormous variety of spices in bulk sized bags.  And they are cheap (like $1-3 a bag).  If you are native to Toronto, well then the bulk spice bag is not new to you.  I buy these bags, replenish my spice jars, and store them in the freezer to prolong their freshness.

Frugal Food Series | Tip 4: Spices // Keeping WillowFrugal Food Series | Tip 4: Spices // Keeping Willow

If you want to eat frugal and eat well, discover your spices.  Experiment and adapt.  Find them in bulk and rotate them frequently (once they’re a year old, they really lose their flavor).  It will change the way you eat and save you some dough at the market.

Below is a spice blend I use to make a lovely vegetable tagine.  Toss a couple tablespoons with a variety of veggies (eggplant, potatoes, onions, turnips, carrots, cauliflower, tomatoes).  Sauté in a dutch oven for a few minutes.  Add a cup of stock and bake covered in the oven at 350°F for an hour.  Garnish with fresh mint or parsely (raisins, olives and almonds are good too) and serve with couscous or quinoa. Eating frugal is eating better!

Tagine Spice Blend
1 1/2 Tbsp ground cumin
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 Tbsp ground ginger
1 Tbsp paprika
1 1/2 tsp ground corriander
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/8 tsp ground cardamom



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