Spice Advice and Food Stamps Cooking Club

May 9th, 2011 by admin Leave a reply »


Need Spice Advice? We have it here!

Greetings to all you precious Club Members and Guests!  A GINORMOUS magnifying glass has been pressed into service because your humble blogger has been aching to get back into the game.

Because we are gaining new club members in DROVES-thanks to all the new people who have submitted their names and email addies-it felt important to share with you the information we got today from Leanne Ely, The Dinner Diva from Saving Dinner.

As you  know, we are sending out a series of messages about cooking tips, including spices.  Because of that subject matter we want you to have THIS, too:

“The Ultimate Spice Cabinet Clean Out
by Leanne Ely, C.N.C

How many of us have professed to want to eat healthier, lose weight and get organized? It’s almost as if these three things are the ultimate trifecta! Believe it or not, one of the best ways to do all three of these things is to spice up your low calorie fare with herbs and spices.

But before you can organize your spices, you need to do a quick spice check. I’ve got this feeling we’ve got some OLD, ancient spices sitting in those cupboards! Let’s go on an archaeological dig and see what kind of fossils we can unearth. Here’s how you’re going to know you need some new spices–

You may need some new spices if:

*The date stamp on the bottom of the jar was from when you were in high school:

*The company who made the spice in the first place is out of business. Since 1980!

*The can is rusted and the label indistinguishable-you don’t know what’s in there.

*The label is missing so you smell it to identify it and can’t!

*The smell of the spice smells oddly like the garage on a rainy day.

*You mistakenly grab ground ginger for white pepper and it didn’t ruin what you were making because it had no flavor!

According to the website of McCormick Spice, if you still have spices in a tin can, you know the square and rectangular shaped cans with shaker and spoon out tops, they are seriously out of date-with the exception of black pepper-they have not manufactured the cans in over 15 years!!

The shelf life of spices is as follows:

Ground spices: 2 to 3 years

Whole spices: 3 to 4 years

Dried Herbs: 1 to 3 years

Great rule of thumb to figure out what to keep and what to pitch-if your spice is over a year old, it needs to be tossed. To keep your spices fresh and nice, you will want to buy only what you need and mark the bottom of the container with a Sharpie, indicating the date you purchased the spice.

I love buying my spices at the health food store (they are unbelievably fresh and cheap, because you buy what you need) and discount stores like Wal-Mart (2 for $1.00!). You can always have fresh spices when you get them this way.

Are you ready to spice up your life with some FRESH spices? Old Spice is cologne, not what should be hanging out in our spice drawers. Let’s get some fresh ones this week!

Now that you have all fresh and new spices, be sure and pick up a copy of our Ultimate Mix Ebook to create some spice, soup and sauce mixes of your own!

Copyright (C) 2011 www.savingdinner.com Leanne Ely, CNC All rights reserved.

This information will be helpful for everyone who has a kitchen.  It will be of particular interest to those who use SNAP or WIC; for those who get food from a food pantry or those who have food commodities.  Many of our Club Members are simply frugal and careful with their food budgets Users of Angel Food Ministries will benefit from this, too!

Your messages continue to delight the heart of your Webmaster…please keep them coming  at foodstampscookingclub@gmail.com !

Connie Baum

The FTC wants you to know there are links in this post.  Should they be clicked, resulting in sales, your humble blogger would be fairly compensated.  Please do your due diligence when conducting affairs online or offline.  Always do business with those you trust implicitly.




  1. mikemax says:

    If you don’t know where to buy bulk spices in your community, FIND OUT. Some stores have bulk foods sections. Health food stores are another good bet. Do NOT be put off by the fact that some of the spices will sell for $15-$20 a pound. You’re probably only going to buy an ounce or so! I do not think I have EVER spent over $1.75 for a bulk spice, and some herbs will be more in the neighborhood of .20. Yes, 20 cents!! You absolutely cannot beat the quality, freshness and price of bulk spices.

    Also, don’t overlook the ethnic foods aisle of large supermarkets. Here in the west, most carry and extensive selection of “Mexican” spices in little cellophane hang-up packages. You’ll find a lot more than just chili powder–bay leaves, oregano, cinnamon, etc., are used in Mexican cookery. These spices are also fresh and cheap. Like the bulk spices, just refill your empty spice jars.

  2. Webmaster says:

    GREAT POINTS, Mikemax! Thanks for the reminders!

    We should remind one another, too, that variety is the spice of life…if the EBT card is empty, use your imagination and creativity with whatever you have on hand. Spices are no exception.

    Mother Connie

  3. mikemax says:

    “If the EBT card is empty….”

    Well, mine is, because I don’t get EBT! Just because my income is too high does not mean that I don’t want or need to save on groceries. I’ve always been a cheap cook–it’s one of the ways we’ve been able to have and do as much as we have.

    I’ve been rebuilding my pantry for the last 3-4 weeks. The way I have financed this is by buying less meat. In fact, I haven’t bought any meat since those two hams for Easter. I’ve been eating out of the bottom of the freezer and using every scrap of food.

    Last night, I needed a quick dinner. We had “mixed grill,” which is not cat food, but the last little bit of ham, enough sausage for ONE patty, etc. and DH and I had different meats. I boiled a yam that has been lurking all winter, opened cans of applesauce and green beans. Yesterday I took a couple of wrinkly Fuji apples and made applesauce in the Crock Pot; it wasn’t very good, but I mixed it with the canned stuff, and it was great.

    My thirtysomething son came for Mother’s Day and we had brunch. Not wanting a big dinner after that, I made a pot of garbage soup…not that I call it that in front of my family! I found some beef bones in the bottom of the freezer and made stock. I save little dibs and dabs of whatever is left from dinner and throw it in a jar in the freezer. Mix the two together, a voila! Garbage soup. I added a can of diced tomatoes because there wasn’t much spaghetti sauce in the jar, and I chopped up a limp carrot because it needed carrots. Other than that, I got enough soup for dinner and a couple of lunches. It just happens to be the best soup I’ve ever made!!

    As far as pantry items go…peanut butter is $1 jar this week, limit 10. I’ll buy 10. This is one item that you really don’t want to use much after the date on the jar…peanut butter goes rancid. Ewwwww!

  4. Carol M says:

    Another affordable spice source is Penzeys. I am lucky that I have a store within driving distance, so no shipping charges. I tend to buy their spices in the plastic bags and transfer them to my own jars. High quality, good prices. I agree with Max-unless you’ve already been reading the fine print beneath the Spice Island and McCormick spice bottles, spices by the LB are pricey. Buying only what you need, in smaller quantities, is very affordable. Also, don’t forget to pot some seeds of common herbs this Summer: basil, oregano, dill, etc. You can dry them and preserve them for Winter.

  5. Connie Baum says:

    It is so good to see your comments, kids! I’m still a one eyed Jane but not for long. KEEP EM COMING, PLEASE…

    Mother Connie

  6. WritewhereUr says:

    Plain and simple…we miss you Connie!