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Homemade Spice Blends Recipes


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There are all sorts of spice blends on the market. Some are very good, but quite expensive, and I do not use them very often. Others have one or several ingredients to which I object. And many have a high sodium content, salt being one of the first ingredients. I prefer to find out what is in them and then combine the various herbs and spices to my own taste. That means I need to have a variety of spices and dried herbs on hand, but many of the items are in the average cook's pantry. Usually the contents are listed on the cans, and reading spice catalogs can been very helpful. Decide which of the ingredients you like or dislike and adjust accordingly. I prefer to omit salt in the blends so that I can add just the right amount for the specific dish I am making. When uncertain, start with less and add more as desired. Use your sense of smell as well as taste. Homemade spice blends can be made in small amounts, but make great homemade gifts when made in large batches. If you are concerned about spices spoiling, they do not. The flavor will weaken with time so you might need to add more to a dish. Have fun, experiment and enjoy! For recipes using some of these spice blends, browse the Recipe Files.



Index

Cajun Seasoning

Chili Powder
Crab Boil

Curry Powder
Pickling Spice

Poultry Seasoning
Pumpkin Pie Spice

Taco Seasoning




Cajun Seasoning

No list of spice blends would be complete without a Cajun mix. Cajun-style cooking has become very popular, but often the individual spices are not listed with the recipes. As with all blends, the pre-mixed products are quite expensive and usually high in sodium, so make your own. From what I have been able to determine, although some of the spices in Cajun Seasoning are common to all brands, there are others that differ according to the manufacturer's preference. The common ingredients are: paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, cayenne pepper, oregano and thyme. Other ingredients include, but are not limited to: celery seed, sugar, turmeric, cumin, bay leaf, mace, cardamom, basil, marjoram and rosemary.

My basic recipe: (makes about 6 tablespoons)

  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano

Chili Powder

Chili powder should not be confused with dried or powdered chiles. It is a blend, consisting mostly of powdered chiles, with other spices and herbs included. Unfortunately, many packaged chili powders also contain too much salt and not enough of the other spices for my taste. The ingredients in a basic chili powder are: ground chiles and/or cayenne pepper, ground cumin, garlic powder and oregano. Crushed hot peppers can be used in place of, or in addition to, powdered chiles.

My basic recipe: (makes about 2-1/2 tablespoons)

  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon ancho chile powder pepper

Crab Boil

The spices used in a crab boil are similar to pickling spice. It is used for boiling shrimp, lobster, crayfish and crab. The ingredients are: mustard seed, peppercorns, cloves, allspice, coriander, bay leaves, ginger, dill seed and caraway seed. For a hotter blend, add some crushed hot peppers.

My basic recipe: (makes about 4 tablespoons)

  • 1 tablespoon mustard seeds
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon whole cloves
  • 2 teaspoons whole allspice
  • 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
  • 2 teaspoons dill seeds
  • 5 dried bay leaves
  • 1 small piece dried ginger

Curry Powder

There are so many different types of curry powders and pastes, hot or mild, depending on the country or the dish. I am not going to get into all of that since I have read about, but have no experience using them. I will deal with the curry powder that most of us can purchase in our grocery stores. The ingredients are: turmeric, coriander, cumin, fenugreek, ginger, nutmeg, fennel, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, black pepper and cayenne pepper. Use whole spices if available, and grind in a mini-processor or coffee grinder. My recipe includes some whole and some ground spices.

My basic recipe: (makes about 2 tablespoons)

  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds, ground
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds, ground
  • 1 bay leaf, ground
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Pinch nutmeg
  • Black pepper to taste

Pickling Spice

Pickling spice is commonly associated with canning pickles, but it is used in other dishes. The ingredients are: cinnamon, mustard seed, bay leaves, allspice, dill seed, cloves, ginger, peppercorns, coriander, juniper berries, mace, and cardamom. For a hotter mix, add some crushed hot peppers.

My basic recipe: (makes about 1/4 cup)

  • 2 cinnamon sticks, broken
  • 1 tablespoon mustard seeds
  • 2 teaspoons black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon whole cloves
  • 1 teaspoon whole allspice
  • 1 teaspoon juniper berries
  • 1 teaspoon crumbled whole mace
  • 1 teaspoon dill seeds
  • 4 dried bay leaves
  • 1 small piece dried ginger

Poultry Seasoning

I have never cared for poultry seasoning, maybe because it is often used in excessive amounts and in some foods to substitute other flavors that are missing. A good example is the crab cakes served in many restaurants that taste more like poultry stuffing than crab. I often use the three herbs in combination that are most prominent in poultry seasoning: rosemary, sage and thyme. Other ingredients include: savory, marjoram, dill, allspice and ginger.

My basic recipe: (makes about 1 tablespoon)

  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon rubbed sage
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme

Pumpkin Pie Spice

The spices in pumpkin pie spice can be used in all sorts of baking, as well as some main or side dishes. Try it in a pumpkin stew or baked winter squash. The ingredients are: cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, mace, ginger and cloves.

My basic recipe: (makes about 2-1/2 teaspoons)

  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground mace
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Taco Seasoning

I really do object to the sodium content in most packaged taco seasonings. And many of them contain MSG. Making your own is very simple. The ingredients are: cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, oregano, paprika, allspice, black pepper and cayenne pepper. Flour is often added as a thickening agent.

My basic recipe: (makes about 1 tablespoon)

  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • Salt to taste
  • Black pepper to taste
  • Cayenne pepper to taste