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The truth is, it’s tough to be a good cook without a good supply of herbs and spices. They are a critical component of cooking. Without them, our meals would be pretty drab, indeed. When you want to ensure you have the best herbs and spices for any dish, I’ve got you covered with this cheat sheet on the must-have pantry ingredients to ‘spice’ up your cooking. Let’s get started.
1. Sea Salt
No list of must-have herbs and spices would be complete without sea salt. No, not just any regular table salt, you need sea salt to make your dishes stand out. It packs more flavor, making your dishes more palatable and delivering that umami element that makes dishes satisfying to your taste buds.
2. Black Pepper
Adding saltiness to your dishes isn’t enough; it needs a hint of spicy kick, too. Black pepper provides that added kick that takes your cooking to the next level. Ideally, use freshly ground black pepper as it has more kick than bottled ground black pepper.
3. Garlic Powder
Garlic powder is a versatile ingredient that you can use for stir-frying, stewing, and making soups. Be careful when adding garlic powder to your dishes because a little goes a long way.
Ginger is another spice that adds depth to the flavor of your dishes. You will often see it used in Asian recipes, but one of the great things about ginger is that it can be used in both sweet and savory dishes. It also makes a great tea when you’re feeling under the weather.
5. Red Chili Flakes
Another spice to keep on hand if you like spicy foods is red chili flakes. You can add them as an ingredient when cooking or as a topping after the dish is cooked. If you love your food spicy, make sure you have this on hand.
The smell of cinnamon is hard to resist. The aroma wafting into the air as you bake is tough to top. But it’s not just for baking because you can use this spice for cooking savory dishes and making beverages as well.
The strong and potent flavor that cumin adds to a dish is what makes it popular in many different cultures and cuisines. If you love making curry dishes, stews, and soups, you better have this in your pantry at all times.
8. Italian Seasoning
You don’t need to be Italian to appreciate this Italian seasoning blend. It’s filled with a wonderful aroma and adds a lovely Italian flavor to whatever you put it in. You can buy it bottled or make your own using various dried herbs, such as basil, rosemary, and oregano.
Don’t confuse paprika with other chili peppers. This spice has its own unique flavor profile with a hint of sweetness to balance out the spice. Make sure you have a bottle of the smoked version as well as a bottle of the regular stuff.
Yes, parsley might be often used as a garnish, but it can also be a versatile addition to your spice collection. Dried or fresh, it’s a must-have herb for many soups and stews.
Fresh or dried, thyme is an excellent herb to include in your cooking at home. You can incorporate it into marinades, sauces, and soups. It’s also great on poultry.
Spicy, intense, and sweet. These are the best words to describe nutmeg as a spice. It’s no wonder it’s a popular addition to holiday baking. It’s also notable for its earthy and nutty flavor. Much like cinnamon, you can use it for both sweet and savory dishes.
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This originally appeared on The Gracious Pantry.