About Me
I'm a Melbourne boy, hailing from St Kilda with one ex, one current wife and four kids. Love the outdoors and making new discoveries. I cook a lot at home (cheers from wife) and do some preserving, mostly jams, pickles and fruit liqueurs. This is the diary of a cooking journey.

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Wednesday, March 14, 2007
The Spice Is Right
There is a very sad part of my pantry. We have a little section where we keep all the spices we use in our cooking. Mostly they are in little jars, but there is the odd packet or two floating around. I was searching for some cumin last night which we were out of, and that meant looking at every jar in the pantry.

There were two bottles of cloves because one had gone out of date but we hadn't tossed it yet - you never know. Allspice and juniper berries were in attendance and I can honestly say I would need only one hand to count the amount of times I have used either spice in my life. Vanilla pods were lurking at the back, vanilla extract at the front along with the more commonly used spices - paprika, coriander, pepper, cayenne pepper plus a couple of nutmegs, one half grated.

I'm willing to bet there are more than one or two of you that have similar pantries with a collection of spices that have been bought for a particular recipe but hardly used since. But what I'd like to know is, what are the spices you use the most of and to this end I've constructed a poll.

I'd like you to vote for the spices you use the most, say anything you've used within the last month. You can vote for more than one spice, this poll is about finding out what's in use for most people. Don't vote for something just because it's in your pantry, only vote for what you actually use.

Sorry if I've left anything out, leave a message in comments for any other spices. I would also be interested to know of any spices that have only been used once in a single recipe and consigned to the back of the pantry, leave a message in comments also.

Edited to add: Okay, for those who've already voted, I've fixed the multiple votes thing, nominate as many spices as you like!

What are your most used spices?
black pepper
white pepper
Szechuan pepper
chilli powder (including cayenne)
coriander (cilantro) seed
juniper berries
caraway seed
mustard seed
ginger powder
star anise
dill seed
celery seed
sesame seed
pollcode.com free polls


  posted at 9:11 am

At 10:40 am, Blogger Laurie said...

My most common spice combo is salt, pepper, garlic powder and paprika and sometimes red pepper.

At 11:00 am, Blogger Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

Kosher salt, sea salt, smoked paprika (pimenton), thyme leaf, red pepper flakes....so many things to add that you will definitely use more than once!

At 2:24 pm, Blogger MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Almost bought tamarind at a middle easter market but then didn't.
Last used and most often use caraway when I bake rye bread.
Used juniper berries once 40 years ago.
I only use fresh nutmeg but have two bottles of ground in my spice drawer.

At 6:30 pm, Blogger Pille said...

Salt, black pepper, paprika powder, cumin, caraway seeds, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla probably get used in a weekly basis in our household:) I've got many more spices in my pantry though, so need to use them, too.

At 7:23 pm, Blogger christine said...

I hear you! I have a lot of this seed and that seed that I use for making Indian dishes (which isn't very often). I need to find more uses for them.

At 10:58 pm, Blogger Kristin said...

Rowena from Rubber Slippers in India had a bit of a meme about this in November:

I too have unused juniper berries. My most used spices would be ground coriander, ground cumin and garlic, with garlic the definite front runner.

At 11:55 am, Blogger neil said...

Hi laurie, I can see a New Orleans thing going on there.

Hi lydia, what's the difference between Kosher salt and sea salt?

Hi tanna, not many people are going for juniper berries either, though I must say I do like a good g & t. If you still have those leftover berries, time for the bin!

Hi pille, we're pretty similar in our tastes, those spices are much used in our household too.

Hi christine, that's exactly it. I'd hate to know how old some of my spices are!

Hi kazari_lu, I didn't run across that meme, probably lucky for me not having to confess my spice secrets! We get through a bit of garlic too. Don't you hate it when you get crappy bulbs of garlic, bruised and rotten.

At 6:12 am, Blogger Lisa said...

Things I use all the time are kosher (coarse) salt, black and red pepper, and cumin. Less used, but fairly often, are thyme and oregano, the "Indian" spices, paprika, nutmeg...think that's about right! Things I have to dig to see if I have include dill, marjoram, herbes de Provence, allspice, celery seed...


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