6 Healthy (And Delicious) Homemade Spice Blends

September 20, 2013

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Using common ingredients and a few special ones, you can create seasoning mixes for flavoring a wide variety of foods.

Having these spice mixes on hand can make cooking easier after a long day’s work .

These seasoning mixes let you experience a weekly trip through the world’s cuisines in the comfort of your own home.

Store-bought seasonings are often packed with salt, anti-caking additives, and preservatives.They’re expensive, too.

You can save money and enjoy better, fresher flavors if you create your own spice and herb blends. The recipes below are loose guidelines to get you started.

Adjust them to meet your family’s tastes.You can give spice mixes to friends in decorative jars for holidays and special events.

For best results, buy small quantities of dried herbs and spices. They keep best in airtight jars stored in a cool, dry dark area. They’re best used (or frozen) within about six months.I label my jars with the ingredients and proportions so I can make more later.

1 – Basic Italian Spice Mix

Mild in flavor, this versatile mixture is good on pizza, eggs, fish, vegetables, or pasta. You can add it to food as you cook or sprinkle it on at the table.

1 tsp. thyme
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. onion powder (milder, adds sweetness) or garlic powder (stronger flavor)
1 tsp. parsley

Optional additions include:

1/4 tsp. fresh ground pepper or crushed cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. basil or chives
1/2 tsp. celery seed
1 to 2 tsp. grated cheese or fat-free feta cheese immediately before serving

2 – Basic Meat Seasoning Mix

Meat calls for stronger flavors. Try this seasoning mix in stews, on roasts, or as a dry rub.

1 tsp. rosemary
1/2 tsp. sage
1/2 tsp. ground peppercorns
1 tsp. thyme
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. onion powder (milder, adds sweetness) or garlic powder (stronger flavor)

Optional additions include:

1 whole bay leaf
1 tsp. cilantro
1 tsp. ginger (powdered or dried pieces)
1 tsp. dry mustard

3 – Chinese-Style Spicy Seasoning Mix

This mix incorporates the basic flavors of Chinese cooking. You can make it sweet with honey or pineapple juice, tart with apple cider vinegar, or spicy with hot peppers.

Dry ingredients:

1/2 tsp. dried hot peppers or chili pepper (use more or less to taste)
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. ginger powder
1/4 tsp. ground peppercorns

Optional liquid seasonings:

1 to 2 Tbsp. low-salt soy sauce
1 to 2 Tbsp. white wine
2 tsp. Honey or pineapple juice (for sweetness)
1 to 2 Tbsp. sesame oil for a nutty flavor
1 to 2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar (for tartness)

Other options:

1/2 tsp. ground fennel seed
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. cinnamon

4 – Indian-Style Spicy Curry

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1 tsp. coriander
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. cloves
1 tsp. each black and green cardamon
1/2 tsp. fennel seed
1/2 tsp. dried fenugreek
1 tsp. ground pepper

5 – All-Purpose Salad Dressing

To create a quick salad dressing or marinade, add 2 to 3 tsp. of any of the above spice mixes to an oil and vinegar base.

2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar or balsamic vinegar

Or use these alternatives instead of oil and vinegar:

1 can tomato paste or sauce
3 Tbsp. low sodium soy sauce
2 Tbsp. honey
3 Tbsp. low sodium ketchup

6 – Very Basic Dessert Topping

This dessert topping is great on quick fruit cobblers or sprinkled on pancakes, oatmeal, yogurt, or ice cream.

1 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 to 1 tsp. cinnamon

Optional additions include:

1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg, allspice, or cardamon
pinch of cloves or cocoa powder

For use as a fruit topping, mix well and blend into 8 Tbsp. margarine or butter until crumbly. Spread mix on top of sliced fruit and bake at 350 F for 20 to 30 minutes.

David Fiedler is a freelance writer who’s also been a computer industry consultant, editor and publisher, photographer, software engineer, teacher, audio consultant, video producer, blues guitarist, bicycle racer, and budding mad scientist.

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