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Ah, the glorious Super Bowl Sunday feast. The annual event when football fans gather to eat, drink, and be merry when your team is winning. If not, I’m sure there are as many words thrown around as the items of food on the table.
One day a year when it seems every bit of grease and fat is completely acceptable and welcomed. Tables filled with copious amounts of wings, burgers, sub sandwiches, nachos, pizza, ribs and chili.
Is your tummy over it yet?
“Calories (noun) Tiny creatures that live in your closet and sew your clothes a little bit tighter every night.” - Unknown
No matter what type of food you prepare, for any event, there’s a commonality – spice.
For example, football Sunday foods includes: chili seasoning, burger seasoning, curry seasoning, taco seasoning and BBQ rubs for chicken, steak and pork.
When you look at your collection of spice blends and mixes in the kitchen, are they all store bought or have you ever attempted to make your own?
Oh yes, my foodie friends, get a hold of this. You can make ‘do it yourself’ (DIY) spice blends for your lattes like the ever loved pumpkin spice, you can make a DIY Bloody Mary or Caesar drink spice blend. Don’t forget about your baking needs; there’s apple pie spice blend, gingerbread spice mix and chai spice for your sugar cookies.
So there’s no confusion, as they’re closely related to flavoring in the kitchen, there is a difference between a spice and an herb.
Spice is a seed, fruit, root or bark that’s usually dried and made into a flavourful powder substance. Herbs are the leaves, flowers, or stems of plants. I prefer the latter freshly cut.
Note to self, I’ll have to save that for another column down the road when gardening season gets underway.
Here’s the lowdown on the DIY spice blends.
It’s simple, cost efficient and not filled with preservatives. Have you ever looked at the contents of your spice blends?
If you’re like me and look at the ingredients list on the labels at the grocery store — don’t ignore the pre-packaged spice mixes. You would think a spice blend is simply a mixture of spices, period. Think again. Some actually may contain chemical preservatives, modified starches, MSG and hydrogenated oil.
Easy way to avoid all that is to make your own.
In terms of saving cash, once you have your spice blend recipe picked out, head to your nearest bulk store and purchase the exact amount needed for recipes.
Let’s face it, you’re not going to have to buy large quantities unless it’s a favourite and you use all the time.
I absolutely love jerk spice. I could eat jerk chicken for days. Therefore, I’d probably think about making a larger batch of your favorite go-to spice blend.
“Spice up your life.” – Spice Girls. (Yep, I went there)
You’ll want to have some small jars on hand for packaging. You can use baby food jars or tiny mason jars. Anything that has a good seal and is easy to access. Make sure to label and date it. When storing remember that light, moisture and heat are enemies. If you store them properly you’ll have a longer shelf life.
Here’s some “sage’ advice.” See what I did there. Let me have this moment. Ha ha
Homemade mixes tend to have more flavour, you may want to adjust accordingly. Before you add dried herbs to the mix, crush them between your hands to release the oil for additional flavor. Spices and herbs lose flavor over time. You may want to make a bigger batch for just the ones that you use often. It’s best to keep to small batches.
While you’re at it, how about making a few extra jars for the “just in case” gift box? Add a little ribbon, a label and voila. It a two-fer. Comes in great handy when looking for a gift for a fellow foodie or the person who has everything.
I hope you have a great ‘thyme’ making your spice blend. Ok, ok, I’m done with the bad puns.
Erin Sulley is a self-confessed foodie who lives in Mount Pearl. Email firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter @ErinSulley Instagram @erinsulley
ERIN SULLEY: And they call it truffle love