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Herbs & Spices

Avoid Wasting Fresh Parsley

To prevent fresh parsley from spoiling before I get a chance to use it all, I place washed sprigs in an ice cube tray, then fill the tray with water. After the cubes are frozen, I store them in a…

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Best Pepper Flavor

For the best pepper flavor, grind peppercorns just before using. —Carl Dahlgren, Fort Worth, Texas

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Buy Spices In Bulk

Whole bottles of spices can be costly, so I went to our local bulk food store and bought a few tablespoons of those I needed. It only cost a few cents for each. Now I have a wonderful assortment…

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Can You Replace Garlic?

There’s really no substitute for garlic, which has a very distinctive flavor. If you don’t like garlic, you may choose to leave it out altogether or enhance the recipe with other herbs. In most…

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Candied or Crystallized Ginger

Candied or crystallized ginger is the root of the ginger plant that has been cooked in a sugar syrup. It’s used primarily in dips, sauces and fruit desserts. Larger grocery stores will carry…

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Coffee Filter Spice Bag

When I don’t have cheesecloth available to bundle up spices for pickling and other uses, I tie my spices in a coffee filter instead. It works just as well. —Jean M., Arnelt, Oklahoma

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Cure for Sprouting Garlic

Store-bought garlic is sometimes last year’s crop. If the cloves start to sprout, they pick up a very strong bitter taste. I cut my cloves in half before using and remove the green sprout in the…

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Curry Powder

A blend of many different ground spices used to replicate the individual spices combined in the cuisine of India. Curry powder imparts a distinctive flavor and rich golden color to recipes and can…

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Dill Butter

Make an easy dill butter by combining minced fresh dill with half a cup of softened butter. Chill for at least 2 hours to allow flavors to blend. Use on bread or broiled seafood.

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Dill Seeds

Use dill seeds to season vegetables like carrots and pumpkin while cooking. Or stir them with butter into the veggies after cooking.

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Dry Mustard

Ground mustard (referred to as dry mustard in some recipes) is made from mustard seeds that have been finely ground. When a recipe calls for prepared mustard, use yellow or brown mustard commonly…

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Ginger Folklore

During the Middle Ages, ginger was often used as a preservative. Because baked goods made with ginger did not spoil as quickly, they were thought to be magical.

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Ground Spices

Try grinding your spices in a coffee grinder to release the flavorful oils. —Loretta Lawrence, Manchester, Connecticut

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Homemade Poultry Seasoning

When a recipe calls for poultry seasoning, you can make your own at home with this simple recipe that yields 1 teaspoon of poultry seasoning: combine 3/4 teaspoon rubbed sage and 1/4 teaspoon…

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Homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice

If you rarely use pumpkin pie spice in your cooking, you may want to make your own instead of buying it. Combine 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon, 2 teaspoons ground ginger, 1 teaspoon ground cloves…

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Keeping Your Parsley Fresh

To keep fresh parsley in the refrigerator for several weeks, wash the entire bunch in warm water, shake off all excess moisture, wrap in paper towel and seal in a plastic bag. If you need longer…

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Kosher Salt

A type of coarse salt that is desirable for cooking and canning purposes. The coarser texture makes it desirable for rubbing over meats, seasoning foods during cooking or for decorating the rim of…

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Learn about Cilantro

With its slightly sharp flavor, cilantro—also known as Chinese parsley—gives a distinctive taste to Mexican, Latin American and Asian dishes. (The spice coriander comes from the seed of…

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Making Rubbed Sage

In recipes calling for “rubbed” sage, take the whole dried leaf and crush or rub it to make a finely textured powder. Most dried sage sold in the spice section of the grocery store is rubbed this…

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Marjoram

Also called sweet marjoram, this culinary herb has light gray-green leaves and is used fresh or dried in a variety of cuisines including German, for sausage-making, Italian, French and Greek for…

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Out of Fresh Garlic?

When a recipe calls for a clove of garlic and you have no fresh bulbs, substitute 1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder for each clove. Next time you’re shopping, look for convenient jars of fresh minced…

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Preparing Herb Butters

Combine butter and seasonings. If butter is very soft, refrigerate until firm enough to shape easily. Place butter on a piece of plastic wrap. Shape into a log and wrap. Refrigerate until ready to…

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Read up on Gingerroot

Fresh gingerroot is available in your grocer's produce section. It should have a smooth skin. If wrinkled and cracked, the root is dry and past its prime. When stored in a heavy-duty resealable…

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Removing Garlic's Skin

To easily remove the skin from a clove of garlic, lay the clove on a flat rubber jar opener, fold one side of the opener over and roll the garlic a few times on a flat surface with the palm of…

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Reuse Jelly Jars for Homemade Spices

I save empty jelly jars to store my favorite homemade Creole seasoning. I wrap the recipe for the seasoning around the jar and secure it with a rubber band. When I run out, I don’t waste time…

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Saffron Substitution

Saffron is a very rare and expensive herb with a pungent flavor made from the stigmata of the saffron flower. It is hand-harvested, and it takes at least 4,000 stigmatas to produce 1 ounce of…

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Seasoning Tip

If you’ve ever wondered whether you already salted a dish as you were rushing to prepare a meal, try this. Whenever you salt something, immediately follow by adding a bit (or a lot) of pepper.…

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Something about Summer Savory

Summer savory is an herb used to season soups, vegetables, fish, eggs, lentils and German dishes. Its leaves can be harvested fresh from your garden, or you can purchase savory in a dried crushed…

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Spice Savvy

Store spices in tightly closed glass or heavy-duty plastic containers in a cool, dry place. Avoid storing them in direct sunlight, over the stove or near other heat sources.
For best flavor,…

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Spice Substitutions

Need a Sub? Want those fall flavors, but don't have the spice on hand? Try these 1-teaspoon-sized substitutions:
Allspice:
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon + 1/2 teaspoon ground…

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Spicy Ingredients

Spicy food stars in a variety of cuisines all over the world. Here's a quick look at five common-ingredient sources of heat: * Chili Peppers: Come in several sizes, shapes and heat levels. The…

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Storing Fresh Herbs

To store fresh herbs, wrap them in a slightly damp paper towel and place in a resealable plastic bag. Press the air out of the bag and seal; refrigerate up to 7 days.

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Storing Garlic & Onion Powders

Garlic and onion powders tend to absorb moisture from the air, especially during warm weather months. Store them in airtight spice jars to keep them as free from moisture and humidity as…

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Tarragon

An herb with slender, green leaves that has a distinctive anise-like flavor. Tarragon is widely used in French cooking and pairs well with chicken, fish and vegetables. It is most well-known for…

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Tip for Dried Herbs

Dried herbs don’t spoil, but they do lose flavor and potency over time. For maximum flavor in your cooking, you may want to replace herbs that are over a year old. Store dried herbs in airtight…

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Uses for Dill

Dill complements sour cream, cream cheese, cottage cheese, dips and spreads, meats, eggs and potato salad.

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Using Salt in Cooking

Salt is a flavor enhancer in most recipes. If you wish, eliminate salt from meat dishes, vegetable dishes, pasta, rice, soups, salad dressings, casseroles and more. (To make up for the missing…

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What is Fenugreek?

Fenugreek is an annual herb with a slightly sweet, nutty flavor often described as a cross between celery and maple. The seeds can be used whole or ground and are commonly found in curry powder.…

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