Monday, June 18, 2012

The Spice of Life

I'm sure you've heard it over and over, but the truth is undeniable.  Spices are an integral part of your preparedness pantry.  Your stored spices can mean the difference between dietary fatigue and a robust survival menu.

For years, we have bought our spices in bulk.  I have read that this is an unwise plan, however, we haven't noticed a significant degradation in the flavor of our stored spices.  They do lose some flavor over time but not enough to justify not buying large quantities to store away for a "rainy" day.  I have spices stored in quart sized canning jars that have been on my shelf for the better part of 15 years and I use them regularly without any noticeable change in flavor.

I do go through some spices more than others.  My garlic powder is regularly replenished while my allspice sees only occasional use.  In addition to spices, soup base (or bouillon), taco seasoning, browning sauce and numerous kinds of salsa fill my stored foods shelves. They all have a great (almost indefinite) shelf life and will make nearly inedible food worth eating.  Here is a partial list of our stored spices and seasonings:

Garlic powder
Mustard powder
Onion powder
Pumpkin pie spice (although you can make it with other spices)
Pickling spice
Chili powder
Poppy seeds
Sesame seeds
Cajun seasoning (we like Cajun's Choice Creole Seasoning)
Taco seasoning
Sausage spices
Beef soup base  (bouillon)
Chicken soup base  (bouillon)
Ham soup base  (bouillon)
Seasoning salt  (Lowery's, Johnny's, etc.)
Kitchen Bouquet browning sauce
Worcestershire sauce

We have found that the right spices or seasonings can dress up just about anything.  If you have sausage spices and a hand operated meat grinder (which can be found at most any thrift store), you can turn rabbit, venison, turkey or just about anything with meat into your favorite breakfast fare.  We buy our sausage spices at our local grocery store.  We asked a friend in the meat department about the spices and he produced a small package that will season up to 25 pounds of meat.  Just add 1 1/2 tsp. of spices per pound of meat and you have wonderfully seasoned sausage.  These spices run right around $2.99 per package, making them very affordable.

If your spice inventory is lean, you may want to consider beefing up your stores of spices and seasonings.  Not only are they imperative for a post-TEOTWAWKI lifestyle, they will make your life a little brighter today.

Remember, seasoning really is the Spice of Life.


  1. While I'm sure you've already thought of this, storing spices in cooler conditions, away from light, and (obviously) as airtight as possible should allow you to store them even longer. Similarly as to how well-made beer or wine is generally packaged in darker bottles to preserve flavor and such. Just a thought.

  2. Where do you buy the Tradewinds brand of spices. I have never seen them before. Also, is the soup base like broth or bouillon? Where do you buy the Chef's Classics brand?

  3. The oil in seeds goes rancid. Poppy and sesame seeds shouldn't be kept as long as spices.

  4. I've been stocking up on Trader Joe's spices,they have a really nice smoked seasoning and smoked salt too. I'll expand to other spices though.:)

  5. I have just been made aware of some different spices/boullions in the Mexican section of our local store, including a tomato bouillon with chicken flavor, and a Goya seasoning with saffron. I already love the Goya ham flavor, but I just recently tried these others, and we love them! Especially to use with fried rice...yum! Those are going to be added to my pantry stock.

  6. I love vegetable bouillon, and you can also find tomato bouillon in the hispanic section of the grocery store. (Also, you can buy tomato powder from the big storage foods supply houses). Mushroom soup base is quite good, too.

    If your grocery store has a bulk spices department, you can make significant savings over buying in small metal cans or glass jars.

  7. Living in the west you can be forgiven for not having Old Bay Seasoning. It is touted as a seafood seasoning back East but in fact it can be widely used in many dishes. A combination of common spices it allows a single source for a cacophony of hints and flavors.

  8. I have half gallon and gallon jars of seasonings, herbs and spices. I too find that they are just fine after many years. I go through about a half gallon of cinnamon a year and almost a gallon of powdered chicken bouillon. I have most of them on a set of "gorilla shelves" with a curtain around it so it helps keep them in the dark. They are in the dining room, but really close to the kitchen, so they are away from the direct heat.

  9. I actually just went to the grocery store yesterday and bought 60 dollars worth of spices for 18 dollars. I also buy Chacheres Cajun spice in bulk which we put on everything. Great article, very easy to forget this when you are trying to make sure you have enough beans and rice.

  10. After reading's Rawles' Teotwaki book I got a foodsaver. If nothing else I adore the canning jar attachment. It comes in both regular and widemouth. When using bulk spice I refill a spice shaker jar and add the rest to a canning jar and seal it with the food saver and keep in a cool dark place ( basement) pantry) until I need a refill.
    Then repeat the seal-over and over with the same lid.
    Easy as pie!

  11. About six years ago the Lord laid it upon me to start pulling together a pantry...which has turned out to be a great insurance policy...for our family as well as the others we share with. Almost immediately the notion of having flavors to add to the beans and rice we were accumulating just made perfect sense...I mean really...the idea of the same drab stuff day after day sounds horrifying. A great addition to our spice storage came after a meal that friends of ours cooked for us following a stay in Ethiopia doing missions work. WOW! Amazing flavors! We now order in bulk through a company called Ethiopian Spices online. I suggest giving the Berbere and Shiro a whirl! Does wonderful things to vegies, meats and those piles of beans!

  12. my wife makes bean soup(great northern) for me. i noticed she puts nothing in it except a ham hock. so i bought some celery,carrots,peas and added those to the pot. she loves it. said she makes it the way her mother did as do i.