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View Poll Results: Where best to buy spices (more than 1 choice ok)
Anyplace with an appealing label 1 9.09%
Major trusted brand 6 54.55%
An organic brand 1 9.09%
Mail order 4 36.36%
Non chinese origin 2 18.18%
Other (specify) 5 45.45%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 11. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 05-28-2013, 02:59 AM   #1
Jan 2013
Posts: 281
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I love strong spices like cajun ones, but I am wary about following my usual cheapskate shopping habits because spices may be the most commonly watered down or intentionally adulterated product. So where do you get the best value spices?

1) Anyplace you see an appealing label.

2) A trusted major brand. I love when McCormick has a two-for-one sale on their grinder with pepper and garlic, because grinding the garlic chunks really livens it up.

3) An organic brand. I hate to admit I get generic brand organic spices when on sale. I think "organic" gives a false sense of comfort because on a scientific basis they may even be less wholesome or earth friendly, but they do seem good when not too pricey.

4) Mail order. I don't really notice great spice prices on Amazon (rarely free shipping), although you do get the buyer reviews.

5) Non-Chinese origin. I love Chinese hardware, but should have known better than buying econo spice bottles labeled from China; they were indistinguishable from sawdust. I visited China long ago when it was run as a socialist country and noticed cooked vegetables smelled like the human waste they carried out to fertilize crop fields in buckets. Now that they went cowboy capitalist (while we went socialist) I hear of endless food adulteration scandals. I'm sorry, but if the fine print admits Chinese source (all too common), I put it back.

6) Other (please specify). I love these Thai soup mixes used as a spice http://www.tungtong.com/ramwong_web/ramwong_tomyum.htm
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Old 05-28-2013, 03:34 AM   #2
headbanger's Avatar
Apr 2011
The Hill, KY
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Mild Bills

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Old 05-28-2013, 10:27 AM   #3
Mar 2013
, Tennessee
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Penzeys Spices

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Old 05-28-2013, 10:34 AM   #4
JLem's Avatar
Jan 2009
Attleboro, MA
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Spice House

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Old 05-28-2013, 10:56 AM   #5
gratus fermentatio
gratus fermentatio's Avatar
Jun 2008
Posts: 12,435
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I voted "trusted brand," cuz for all the major herbs/spices/mixes, you really can't go wrong. They're clean, tasty, unadulterated & sealed pretty well to stay fresh.

I also voted "other," cuz I also like to shop for herbs & spices at the lcl hippie store. They have a bulk section with herbs & spices, some of which are actually better than the "trusted brands." It's kind of hit & miss though; the madras curry is fantastic, but the caraway seed is a bit stale. They also list the country of origin, so I can make an informed choice as a consumer & I like that.

I grow the herbs I use the most, like sweet basil, dill, oregano & thyme. It's a win/win deal: saves me boku $ & I know exactly what it is & how it was grown. Anybody can grow their own, all you really need is a pot of soil, seed & a sunny window.
Regards, GF.

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Old 05-28-2013, 11:32 AM   #6
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IslandLizard's Avatar
Jan 2013
Pasadena, MD
Posts: 7,187
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I get my spices (cumin, coriander, turmeric, etc.) mostly from Indian stores, including other specific (Indian) ingredients. Then most herbs wherever I can get them fresh (basil, cilantro, mint), or freshly dried. And McCormick of course, usually in larger containers from Sam's.

I avoid the off-brands, particularly at dollar stores. Sawdust. I just threw out a bunch of jars that had no aroma or flavor left. Couldn't even tell what they were. Admittedly, they were kinda old.

We grow some herbs (rosemary in particular). Of all herbs I think Marjoram is the most beautiful and universal but largely forgotten or ignored.

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Old 05-28-2013, 03:16 PM   #7
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Jul 2006
State College, Pennsylvania
Posts: 3,379
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I get my herbs and spices (and sausage supplies) here
Butcher Packer

The quality is excellent and the prices can't be beat. One pound of basil is under $5. A pound of caraway is ~$6.50. Same price for a pound of juniper berries, used in suaerkraut and beer!
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Old 05-28-2013, 08:15 PM   #8
Sacdan's Avatar
Jul 2009
Sacramento, CA
Posts: 888
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I also buy spices from Butcher-Packer. Great prices.

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Old 05-29-2013, 12:52 AM   #9
Jan 2013
Posts: 281
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Thanks for the mail order sources, everyone. However they almost all charge a fortune to ship beyond the contigious 48 states, so I will describe what I did which may even interest you mainlanders.

I can get cajun seasoning mixes locally, but they come loaded with salt... especially "sea salt" which I think of as misc dried-up shoreline scum. So I looked up cajun spices on amazon in the food category, and ticked the box for free shipping only. Furthermore I visually narrowed it down to "subscribe and save" items where they give 15% discount for 5 subscriptions (even if once per year).

I did actually find something that wasn't padded out with ANY cheap, needless salt! I subscribed to it, and they let me reschedule it for months away with my other subscriptions (they used to immediately launch it at you).

Another advantage is this can substitute for something heavier in my 5 subscriptions. My last box was literally busting apart with the weight and maybe cost amazon as much as $100 to ship to me free. No, it cost YOU the amazon customers to subsidize those charges. Aren't I nice to lighten up (grin)?

P.S. I mentioned Thai soup mix used as a spice. I don't suppose you folks have a source of this http://www.tungtong.com/ramwong_web/ramwong_tomkha.htm but it is a miracle worker in making bitter vegetables taste like the best comfort food. Almost everyone hates broccoli yet it is the most healthy cancer fighter out there http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Broccoli#Nutrition . That transformation is done with a lot of sugar, coconut milk powder, and wild ginger.
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Old 05-29-2013, 01:06 AM   #10
Mar 2012
Rathdrum, Idaho
Posts: 992
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Trusted brand for preground stuff but whole spices can be got from just about anywhere and you can see what you are getting. Personally I wouldn't cheap out on spices and if a deal seems too good then I pass on it. Spices are the one food stuff that I will gladly pay top dollar for because of how much it can affect the final dish.

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