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The spice of life

Well, maybe not ‘the’ spice of life but I was just relaxing after a nice meal and I was thinking of the tastes that were in there. Tastes that we buy in bags today and don’t think about where they come from. Most of the spectacular tastes we take for granted come from abroad. Some from countries way to far away to be of any use to us after an event.

Thinking about them and other things, what exactly is MSG anyway? I remember that everything had it in a few years ago. Is that still the case and we just accept it or has it been removed for some reason? I just don’t know now.

I’ve talked before about putting some sauces and flavouring aside in your supplies. That will certainly help and you may have noticed I included some basic spices in that list although I’m now identifying more that you should add. I’ll add them to the shopping list when they are complete.

In biblical days spices were worth a lot of money. Spices would be likely to regain that status and none more than the spices that we will not be able to acquire in the UK. Spices from far away lands such as Saffron or as known in the EU, E164. There are many spices that will be useful to have.

Remember that spices are more than just flavour enhancements. They are also there to cover for meat that is going off. That is why they originally were used. Meat smelt slightly off but it was so expensive that no way was it going to go to waste so we put it in a curry. Yummy. There will be a lot more use for spices when our freezers are out of action. Even basic spices are going to be popular.

They come in small enough containers to not cause any major issues and if we store them well we will have several nice little barter items as well as having the tastiest food in the area.

8 comments to The spice of life

  • Funny, I cooked myself a hot hot curry last night, good points about spices, I buy man sized plastic tubs of spices from an Asian supermarket, works out much cheaper than little jars, also sacks of rice and large tins of ghee which can last for years.

  • Skean Dhude

    Sgt,

    Thanks for that. We don’t have any around here so I forget about them as a source. I tend to get mine from local food shops who get them in bulk from the suppliers.

  • Steven K

    If your tescos has an ethnic aisle you can generally buy sacks of popular indian spices, large bags of rice as well as powdered coconut for a fraction of the price they charge in the main aisles.

  • Luddite

    Many spices have a medical use, too – for instance, cinnamon helps regulate blood sugar and turmeric is an anti-cancer agent.

    Most spices will not grow in this country, either, not even pepper for peppercorns, but a very few can, or there are substitutes.

    For instance, the seeds of Nigella (love-in-a-mist), sometimes known as black mustard can be used as a pepper substitute, and then plants grow easily here. Saffron crocuses will also grow well in a sunny spot, you can get the bulbs from places likes Dobies http://www.dobies.co.uk/Shop/Flower+Bulbs/Saffron+Crocus+230169.htm (there’s just time to plant them now for an autumn crop).

    The curry plant (methi) grows quite well, too but other spices need to be imported, so get good stocks and rotate them as many lose their taste after a few years storage.

  • Skean Dhude

    Luddite,

    I need to look a bit more at spices and similar items. Not top of the list but certainly something to add on.

  • Skean Dhude

    Steven,

    I’ve not noticed any major price differences in the ethnic aisles but maybe I’m looking at the wrong items and probably the wrong stores, we don’t have a local tesco here just an express. I have noticed however some ethnic shops sell cheaper items and in bulk too.

  • Steven K

    The natco brand is good, the minimum sized bags are around 500g and the can cost the same as the jars. The area I live in has a large immigrant population so that might be why the tesco here has a Polish and an Asian isle.

    When I lived in Edinburgh there were dozens of Thai markets and they are another good source of bulk spice.

  • Skean Dhude

    Steven,

    Interesting. We have a lot of Polish people here. They have their own shops and do have an aisle in ASDA but I wouldn’t say they were a lot cheaper, just have different foods in larger quantities. Which is good on its own.

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