Every cook should have a well-stocked grocery list. You can use spices in your cooking to make it taste fantastic. Here are the best spices for your grocery list:
A well-stocked spice cupboard is indispensable for weeknight cooking. It’s a relatively small investment that makes all the difference in transforming simple pantry staples into delicious, flavor-packed dishes. When I shop the spice aisle, I look for the best quality and most versatile options possible. Here are my favorites:
Black pepper: Whether you like it coarse or finely ground, black pepper is one of my favorite spices because it goes with so many things. I use it to season simple vegetable sautés as well as fresh salads and slow-roasted meats. Store in a cool dark place and replace every six months or so.
Cinnamon: Ground cinnamon has a warm, sweet aroma that can instantly transport me back to childhood afternoons spent eating cookies and drinking hot chocolate. I use cinnamon in both sweet and savory dishes, from roasted root vegetables and Moroccan tagines to desserts like apple pie, puddings and ice cream. Store in a cool dark place and replace every six months or so.
Cumin: Cumin seeds are small and brown, with a crunchy texture but not much flavor on their own. When you toast them in a skillet, they release an earthy aroma that is distinctly cumin-like (think of taco
Spices add flavor to food and can help you create delicious meals. I’ve had my fair share of bland meals, and I don’t like them one bit! Here’s a list of spices that you should have on hand.
Paprika– Sweet or smoked paprika works well here. Add it to everything from deviled eggs to grilled chicken. Paprika is a good source of vitamin B6 and potassium.
Salt– Kosher salt is good for cooking because it is flaky and dissolves easily. A little salt goes a long way, so start with less than you think you need. You can always add more later! Salt is a good source of iodine, which your body needs to make thyroid hormones that help control metabolism, growth, and function of key organs.
Chili Powder– This little spice packs a punch when it comes to flavor! Chili powder can be used in chili, tacos, eggs, and more. Add some to your favorite salsa recipe too! Chili powder is a good source of vitamins A and E as well as potassium and magnesium.
Cinnamon– Cinnamon’s sweet flavor makes it great for desserts or cereal but also works in savory dishes such as chili or even coffee rubs for meat. Cinnamon is high in antioxidants
Peppercorn is a spice. It is the most common spice in the world and can be found in nearly every kitchen.
Peppercorn comes from the dried berry of the pepper vine. The berries grow on tall vines (called lianas) that are closely related to poison ivy.
Peppercorns are usually dried just before use and crushed or ground right into food. Whole peppercorns last longer than ground peppercorns but they also take longer to flavor food.
Peppercorns can be used in a wide variety of dishes, including soups, sauces, meats, and vegetables. They are often combined with other spices, such as garlic and onion powder, for additional flavor.
For an extra kick of heat, add red pepper flakes to your food before serving it hot from the oven or grill.
Peppercorns are actually the fruit of a flowering vine that is a member of the family Piperaceae. It is native to India and picked before it is fully ripened but once it has turned red. At this point, it’s dried in the sun where it shrivels and darkens. The peppercorn sheath has a hollow interior with many little capsules containing one seed each.
Peppercorns have a pungent, earthy aroma and flavor that compliments most savory dishes. Most people are familiar with the black pepper you find in shakers on restaurant tables and in grocery stores around the world. There are also three other varieties you should know about: white, green and pink peppercorns.
Black Pepper: Black pepper is what we most commonly think of when someone says “pepper” or even “black pepper.” These peppercorns are picked fully ripe, which is why they have a wrinkled appearance. They are then dried in the sun until they shrivel and darken to a brownish-black color.
White Pepper: White peppercorns are picked as soon as they ripen, but before they start to turn red. They’re soaked in water for about a week so
Peppercorns are the most widely traded spice in the world. It is one of the most common spices added to European cuisine and has been a staple in the United States since before colonial times. The spiciness of black pepper is caused by piperine, not by capsaicin, the chemical that makes chile peppers hot. Peppercorns can range from yellow to red to green to black, depending on when they are picked and how they are processed.
Black peppercorns are picked when almost ripe and sun-dried, turning the outer layer black. Black peppercorns have the strongest flavor and are often used in pickling. White peppercorns are picked fully ripe and soaked in water to remove their dark outer shell before being dried. They have a milder flavor than black peppercorns. Green peppercorns are picked when underripe and preserved in brine or vinegar; they have a lighter flavor than both black and white pepper.
Ground pepper can also be made from long pepper, ground with its dried flower cluster intact. Long pepper has a similar pungency to that of black pepper, but it has a different aroma and is often used in Indonesian cuisine for this reason.
Peppercorns are native to India and have been used for medicinal purposes for many centuries. The most common variety available is black peppercorns, which are picked before fully ripened. The peppercorns are left to ferment and then dried, turning the outer layer black. White pepper is the same fruit with the outer layer removed before drying.
Peppercorns were commonly used as currency in ancient Greece and Rome. Peppercorns were sold by weight, so a merchant would often “pepper” his product by adding small rocks to increase the weight of his product. That’s where we get the word “salting” or “peppering,” as in “the accountant peppered the company books with false profits.”
Look for whole peppercorns, which will retain their flavor longer than cracked peppercorns. If you do not have a peppermill that grinds your peppercorns, simply crack them by placing them on a flat surface and crushing them with a heavy skillet or rolling pin.