Preferred Brand of Dry Spices?

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Joined Feb 24, 2015
Now I know I will be opening a can of worms here - but please do entertain me here :)

I wanted to check in with all of you if you happen to have a favorite spice brand?

Will most likely more appeal to the home cooks here (as in the professional setting I have seldom encountered a "brand" - more like a supplier or two), but still - would just really like to know what your favorite brand is, and why that is so :)

Thanks in advance
 
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Joined Apr 25, 2014
Penzeys has good stuff, but expensive.  I stay away from blends and pre ground spices in general since they don't last as long as whole spices.  I toast and grind my own for every dish.  Penzeys blends are always off by a little bit, like they are trying too hard to find use for one extra spice they sneak in.

Whole foods bulk spices are actually a really good deal.  It's in the indian food section usually.  You can find cumin, fennel, and a few others in bulk.  Good quality, good price.
 

pete

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I agree with MillionsKnives about Penzeys having good stuff.  It's pretty much all we use at home.  They aren't cheap, but the quality is excellent.  I buy a variety of dried herbs and spices from them, whole spices for those items that may sit around for a while and ground, for stuff that we blow through in a couple of months.  As for their spice blends, they are hit or miss.  They have a lot of different blends, some I think are lacking, while others are great.  Their Turkish Seasoning has become my "go-to" seasoning for grilling all kinds of meats and I use it just about any time I am not doing barbecue and using one of my own, personal blends.  You can order online, but they also have a presence in  a lot of major cities.  I don't know where you are, but its worth checking out their website and seeing if there is Penzeys close to you.  They usually have open jars of most of their products so you can smell and taste them to see if you like them.

I can't comment on Whole Foods, and their spices as I don't have a Whole Foods near by so don't purchase from them.
 
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Joined Jan 27, 2016
Ditto on the Penzey's- I have used them for many years now. Great quality and I feel the prices are fair. I also tend to create my own mixes. It helps me to use up the herbs and spices while they are still fresh. I am seriously considering trying their pepper grinder. I know Bill put a lot of research into the design although my old Wm. Bounds still does a serviceable job.
 
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Joined Apr 25, 2014
Ah out of the US I don't know if it is worth it to pay shipping.   You can't find good local suppliers?  That is where so many spices are imported from!
 
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Joined Feb 24, 2015
Buying spices locally is not actually difficult as we do have spice markets - main reason I was asking about the favourite brands is because I am researching Spice Brands at the moment - more of a private undertaking (nothing academic or anything), just something out of curiosity :)
 
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Joined Sep 18, 2012
 
Now I know I will be opening a can of worms here - but please do entertain me here :)

I wanted to check in with all of you if you happen to have a favorite spice brand?

Will most likely more appeal to the home cooks here (as in the professional setting I have seldom encountered a "brand" - more like a supplier or two), but still - would just really like to know what your favorite brand is, and why that is so :)

Thanks in advance
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The News and Record ran an article here in Greensboro about a new spice store that opened in the Friendly Shopping Center in Greensboro, NC called the Savory Spice Shop

Savory Spice Shop has an online presence and four company-owned locations in Colorado. Savory Spice Shop offers common to exotic herbs and spices which the freshly package to order in large to very small quantities. They also feature more than 140 blends of traditional seasonings to Savory creations. I was impressed that they had Summer Savory, three different types of Saffron, real wasabi powder and Shichimi Togarashi. I found their prices very affordable.

Quality and freshness are important but the help from staff that know their product has helped a lot. When I was trying to buy "real Ceylon cinnamon”, the staff said smell the organic one too. It is a bit more expensive but we like it better. Turns out, they were right. You cannot chat with the big stores but you can chat with the staff here at any of the stores. You are only a phone call away (888) 677-3322.

In learning to master the role of chilies in South American dishes, having access to ingredients across that continent has been key. The shop has 66 varieties of chilies. I commonly use these 20:

Aji Amarillo, Ground  Aleppo, Crushed  Ancho, Ground  Cascabel, Whole  Cayenne, Ground  Chipotle, Black & Red (Chipotle Morita, Mora or Colorado), Whole  Crushed Red Pepper Flakes  De Árbol Pepper, Whole  Ghost Pepper (Bhut Jolokia), Ground  Guajillo, Ground  Habanero, Ground  Jalapeno, Diced  Japones,  Mulato, Whole  New Mexican, Hot Red, Ground  Pasilla Negro, Ground  Pequins (Piquin), Whole  Smoked Serrano, Whole  Thai, Whole Mapuche Style Merken Seasoning (Merquen). Some of these add not only to the nose of the dish but too its unique color. Aji Amarillo imparts a nice yellow tint and is highly aromatic.
[h1]Trust is a key issue. Spices are expensive. Some places sell Spanish saffron that is a facsimile. [/h1][h1]Making “Basque Chicken” where will you get Paprika, Piment d'Espelette? No, I am not an employee but I did teach some cooking classes there.[/h1][h3]  [/h3]
 
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Joined Mar 21, 2008
Penzeys! I have bought from them for years and have never been disappointed! Mostly whole spices but their onion and garlic powder are good stuff!
 

phatch

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I've done a number of spicesetc.com orders over the years. I'm especially fond of some of their oddball powders that are otherwise hard or impossible to find:

Smoke powder   More versatile than liquid smoke and you have more control over the intensity. I think the flavor is better than liquid smoke. Keeps flavor a long time, but clumps up HARD. Grinds back up just fine. Very handy in a barbecue rub and some other fun places. 

ground bay leaf--dried bay leaves don't grind well in a mortar & pestle or my repurposed coffee grinder. Not really hard to find but not common either.  Surprisingly useful in sausage. Order in small amounts, doesn't hold flavor for more than 6 months really. 

Dried cheese Powder This is more for some of my camping expeditions where cheese is desired but problematic to store. Can be hard to find in home consumer size amounts. 

Wine Powders Kind of fun for rubs, injections and such where you want some concentration without the liquid. Not as strong as you might think though. Clumps and gets sticky, but breaks up OK again. 

Soy Sauce Powder Powdered Kikkoman as I recall. Again handy for rubs and such. Clumps HARD, doesn't grind up again well by hand, but the coffee grinder handles it. 

And since local Penzey's outlets were mentioned, I did some Googling. Got some place new to go visit now.  It's out in traffic-light strip-mall hell though. 280 12300 S, Draper, UT 84020   10 AM to 6 PM.
 

phatch

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Joined Mar 29, 2002
I went out and visited the local Penzey's store. It was fun to browse and they had jars for sniffing from and such. It was a good adventure. Picked up some thyme and some sweet curry powder. The curry is mostly for Vietnamese cooking which doesn't go for heat in the curry so much. Conquering Banh Xeo is still on my list.  
 
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Joined Apr 25, 2014
Hmm I never used curry powder just turmeric.

I think from your post you need some more corn starch to make it crispy.
 
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Joined Aug 6, 2015
Wow, this is the first I've heard of Penzeys! And I've got one 20 miles from me too...shows my uncultured tastes :p

I feel like I had heard from a friend Turmeric is more for the color than anything? Can anyone confirm/deny?
 

pete

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Yes, turmeric is a pretty powerful coloring agent but it does also have quite a distinct taste to it.
 
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Joined Apr 25, 2014
Anato seed is probably what I would use for the same color but less distinct flavor.  Or safron if you have too much money :)
 
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Joined Apr 4, 2012
I don't find annatto and turmeric to be very similar in color. Annatto is very red. Turmeric is very yellow. I've had to bleach stains from both out of my white Formica countertops more times than I can count!
 
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