My spices, my passion

My spices, my passion

In this post I am not going to publish any recipe, instead I want to share the spices I use more or less in my dishes.

In Albania, we have had a lot of deficiencies in culinary prospective, maybe affected from the communist regimen we’ve been under for about 50 years. Being isolated to the world some of the products never reached the Albanian market, like the spices I’m sharing below. Some of them I have never heard of, or tasted before, until I’ve read about them in the recipes found on the internet.

So, with passing of time, buying spices online or during my visits in foreign countries, I’ve “collected” like 56 types of spices (whole or grounded)

Until a few years ago, I only new the basic herbs& spices like oregano, sage, parsley, dill, black pepper, etc.. I guess like most of the Albanians, but reading and learning online I’ve discovered new spices and slowly integrated them in my dishes.

The shelf life of spices is on average 1 year or so ( longer if not grounded), so I suggest not to by in bulks and keep a frequent inventory to clean the pantry from spoiled spices.

As mentioned above, the spices keep their flavour if not grounded, so I suggest to by them in their original state form, like black/green/white peppercorns, whole cumin, whole coriander, whole hot pepper etc… I’d rather spent a bit more and invest in a spice grinder than throwing away spoiled spices, this way the spices will add a lot of flavour to your cooking. Alternatively you can use a pestle and mortar to grind them.

During a normal inventory day I kept track of my spice list and today I’m sharing it with you.

Nr. Spice name Nr. Spice name
1 Allspice (ground) 29 Garam Masala
2 Allspice (Whole) 30 Hot curry powder
3 Star Anise 31 Hot pepper (Whole)
4 BBQ spice 32 Herbs de Provence
5 Basil Leaves 33 Jamaican Jerk Seasons
6 Bay leaves 34 Juniper
7 Black Pepper 35 Lemon Pepper
8 Black Peppercorns 36 Mahleb
9 Cajun spice 37 Mustard seeds
10 Cardamom (ground) 38 Mustard (Ground)
11 Cardamom (Whole) 39 Nigella seeds
12 Cayenne 40 Nutmeg (Ground)
13 Celery seeds 41 Onion powder
14 Chili Powder 42 Onion flakes
15 Chipotle pepper (whole) 43 Oregano
16 Chives 44 Ottoman spice
17 Cilantro leaves 45 Paprika
18 Cilantro & Annatto seasoning 46 Parsley flakes
19 Cinnamon powder 47 Red peppercorn
20 Cloves (Ground) 48 Saffron threads
21 Cloves (Whole) 49 Sage (Ground)
22 Cumin seeds 50 Salad spice
23 Cumin (Ground) 51 Sumac
24 Curry Powder 52 Taco mix
25 Dill weeds 53 Thyme
26 Fennel seeds 54 Turmeric (Ground)
27 Garlic powder 55 Tandoori Masala
28 Ginger (powder) 56 Za’atar

If I had to pick my favorite spices, the ones that I use almost everyday, here’s my Top 10 list

  1. Garlic Powder
  2. Onion Powder
  3. Paprika
  4. Cumin
  5. Cinnamon
  6. Turmeric (curcuma)
  7. Ginger (powder)
  8. Cloves (Ground)
  9. Oregano
  10. Black pepper

The other spices are used less frequently and this is obvious, because some of them are used for specific dishes like indian food (garam masala, curry powder tandoori masala ,cardamom etc..), or for mexican dishes (like taco mix, cayenne, chili powder etc…)

In case you might need more information or how you can use the spices I’ll be glad to help.

With love,

Your spice Guru (overrated myself huh? ☺)

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