I received this piece of advise from one of the home helping things, such as Martha Stewart or Real Simple. I cannot remember which. Though I usually do not have something once a year, usually because I do not remember, I think this is a good idea. The advise is, during the early fall, go though one’s spice rack. And discard the spices that smell less than they did before or smell of straw. These are not at their peak and probably should be replaced. I went though my spice rack and shelf (yes I have way too many but I love them all) and found those that I think I need to replace. I am running out of cinnamon, and others which are highly needed during the upcoming holiday months. This was the advise-giver’s reasoning for going through one’s spices during early fall. It is terrible to have all the ingredients for pumpkin pie and not have cinnamon, especially is your family is there and waiting for a wonderful meal. Better to be prepared.
Now a word about buying spices. I have also recently discovered from a good friend of Penzey Spices! Here is the website. They have spices than can be mail ordered to one’s address. I recently ordered Italian Seasoning, and I know this can be purchased at the store. However, this Italian Seasoning was so fragrant and delicious!!! I highly recommend one ordering from them, at least order a catalog. The website is a good place to be, but the catelog has lovely descriptions of the spices. For instance, Cayenne Red Pepper has this description:
Cayenne pepper has the power to make any dish fiery hot, but it also has a subtle flavor-enhancing quality. In Early American cookbooks, a dash of cayenne was often added to a dish, not so much for heat, but rather to improve the overall flavor. A dash of cayenne pepper boosts the flavor of low-salt or low-fat dishes and can be used in place of whole chili peppers in barbecue sauce, chili and other hot dishes. For a zesty change, use Cayenne Red Pepper to replace paprika on sliders (deviled eggs) or potato salad. There is some evidence that eating hot pepper increases metabolism, reducing the calories retained from a meal by about 10%. There is also evidence that eating hot pepper increases the appetite (probably by about 10%). From California. Keep in a cool, dry place, out of the light.
When buying the spices, they suggest buying a whole year’s worth. I do not know exactly how much that is usually but the buying units are a little to a lot. I highly recommend their toasted onion powder and cinnamon chunks. Well I’m off to buying the rest of my spices that need replacing from their website.