If you’re a savvy cook or a cooking enthusiast then you know how important it is that you spice things properly. Because of that important note, you may find that you have every spice under the sun. Good for you, but have you ever noticed how much they cost? The world’s most expensive spice, saffron, can cost around about $20, and that’s for a one time use, practically. While the stuff like that will take some hard earned cash to get, there are spice mixes and substitutes that you can make on your own with your plethora of spices that won’t break the bank. Obviously you’re going to be using this sort of thing fairly often, so the money that you save with your spices can let you splurge a bit and get those beautiful saffron strands.
Spice mixes are made for convenience and oftentimes have way too much salt in them. This throws off the balance of your food, and if you’re seasoning your food you already know that you love the stuff. So spend the extra time and skip the convenience, mix your own things. Apple pie spice mix is pretty popular in a lot of fall time recipes. Instead of buying a bottle with fillers mix your own two tablespoons of cinnamon, half a tablespoon of allspice, one teaspoon each of nutmeg and ground ginger. That’s it, seriously. Another popular mix is Cajun seasoning mix. This seems like it’s hard to replicate because of the specific flavor that it gives, but you’ll see that making your own is just as good, even though it may look slightly different than what you’re used to. Two teaspoons of paprika, one teaspoon of chili powder, cayenne pepper to taste, a dash of pepper and oregano mixed with a dash and a half of thyme and you’ve got a Cajun seasoning. Just make sure that you taste the final product for salt since this is a salt free version. Feel free to experiment with amounts and get what you really love. You can always pour your mixes into a jar and use it again at a later date.
You may not always have the spice that you need at the time that you need it. That’s where substitutions come in handy. While not all spices taste the same, they taste similar enough to pass off as one another. This is especially true when you’re doing mixes or have a dish that has a lot of seasoning in it. Cilantro and parsley switch teams pretty well, as do basil, oregano, and thyme. If you’re missing some allspice for that apple pie mixture, just use extra cinnamon, nutmeg, or some ground cloves. Using simple substitutions like this, especially for something that you don’t make often, will save you from buying a whole new jar of that spice and letting it go to waste. Spice doesn’t last forever, no seasoning does. After a year or so they start to go downhill and lose their flavors. The only thing that stands up to this is a whole nutmeg. So don’t waste money by buying what you don’t need, instead just use a substitute and call it a day.