A new spice on life – Purging spices

COVID-19 has hit everyone when it comes to a change of pace and daily life!  Staying home is essential but it can get boring – especially when you like to keep busy as I do.  I live in a semi with very limited space so purging has become my new “start of the day ritual”, while I am doing my best to stop the spread of this deadly virus, by staying and working from home.

I started with my spice cupboard – I cook and bake A LOT and have a dark cupboard dedicated to all of my spices, as keeping them in a dark cool place is essential!

Surprising to me … I actually have 36 spices taking up a whole shelf in my kitchen cupboard.  And while going through them, I discovered many are very very old. The actual lifespan of ground spices is about 3 years. After this they lose their ability to do their job – flavor my creations..  So today, I had a revelation. I don’t need all these spices! Really, I only need 12, the rest are just wasted space and money.

Here’s my final list:

  1.  Garlic Powder (not Garlic Salt as it is ⅔ salt and only ⅓ garlic anyway)
  2.  Onion Powder (in the event I don’t have fresh onions to use)
  3.  Granulated Onion
  4.  Italian Mixed Spices (a combo of oregano, thyme and basil, which I’ve made up myself)
  5.  Black Peppercorns
  6.  White Pepper
  7.  Paprika
  8.  Cayenne
  9.  Cinnamon
  10.  Nutmeg (which I’ve ground from nut form)
  11.  Ginger
  12. **My favorite “other spice” 

Fresh is always better so I regularly buy Chives, Italian Parsley and Basil.  I keep the basil in a jar on the counter, in water, covered with a plastic bag.  Any left-over parsley or chives, I freeze in water by chopping up and putting them in water in my ice cube tray, although I don’t always have much left over as I use these A LOT.

So,  save some shelf space and money by keeping only these essential spices. 

**However, if you have a recipe you regularly make calling for “curry powder”, simply add it to your list of 12.

If you find a new recipe requiring an unusual spice – “google” substitutions and save yourself time, money and space.   When things return to normal, The Bulk Barn is a good place to find these and you can buy just what you need, and of course any regular grocery store carries common herbs and spices. 

Here’s a quick really easy Crock Pot Tomato Pasta Sauce for you to try:

2 garlic cloves

½ large red onion – (Saute these first two ingredients in a frying pan, onions first then the garlic so it won’t turn bitter)

olive oil

2 cans chopped tomatoes

1 jar Passata (ground tomatoes)

Put all this into your crockpot, low temperature around noon.  Add your preferred spices, a palmful of each – I use garlic powder, granulated onion, and paprika.  Then I toss in 2 tbsp of my mixed Italian Herbs: basil, oregano and thyme. Let this simmer on low all afternoon and season with salt and pepper just before adding to your favorite pasta.  This is really forgivable and you can always add fresh mushrooms, some parmesan cheese too if you want.

ENJOY and stay Safe!

Joy Gignac
Joy Gignac

Joy Gignac has lived and worked in Waterloo Region her entire life, and grew up on a family farm. She now resides in Cambridge with her husband Geoff and her rescue kitties whom she adores. Between baking Italian bread and perfecting pasta dishes, Joy is, well — a joy — to be around and brings her wealth of sales and administrative experience to support Cindy-lou Schmidt’s real estate team.