I am planning to take a trip to my favorite East Indian store for spice’s, (Garam Masala, curry powder, Cayenne Pepper, Haldi, cumin, Coriander Seeds, and Turmeric Ground). The prices are much more reasonable and in larger bags than you buy in the grocery stores. They also have all types of beans, lentils, rice’s, flours, pans, pots and lots of good things for storage. They come in small to large bags. So that got me thinking about what I have in my storage?
We all know that the stored food we are going to be eating will need some help. Since there are so many different types of ethnic foods, I thought it might help to check out the spices. All of us have used cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, cumin, garlic and many more; I can’t begin to name them all. But do we have any idea of how to use them with our stored foods? Freeze dried foods, shouldn’t need too much fixing, but what about bulk items and the fresh foods you are going to use to supplement your storage. You are probably going to do some hunting for fresh meat. You may not hunt yourself, but may trade something you have for a turkey, rabbit, chicken or yes, possum, rat, snake or many other things that you normally would never dream of trying.
Your best bet is to hunt for recipes that will show you how to cook these foods and the spices and herbs to use to make them taste good. We have a recipe book on insects. There are recipes like, Beetle Sausage, Honey Bee Souffle and Cricket Pot Pie. They have a lot of nutrition. If it’s cooked and cut up, you can’t tell there are any insects in the recipe. There may be a time when your only option is insects, so try it. The name of the book is “Entertaining with Insects”, we found it on Amazon.
What you have to think about is what you have in storage and what spices go with what you have stored. I have learned recently the difference between herbs and spices; Herbs are from leaves of herbaceous (non-woody) plants. Spices are roots, flowers, fruits, seeds or bark. You will find that some herbs/spices come from the same plant, but different parts, boy was I surprised.
How long do spices and herbs last?
Whole spices 4 years (recommended for storage)
Ground spices 2-3 years
Leafy herbs 1-3 years
To give you a few examples: Anise (herb seed), Basil (herb) Black pepper (spice)Cinnamon (herb)cilantro (herb) Cloves (spice) Coriander (herb) Nutmeg (spice) and Oregano (herb)
What- ever your style of cooking is, it changes not only by ethnic backgrounds, but also by what region of the United States you live in. You should have some herbs and spices in your storage and you need to store seeds for herbs and spices. Spices grow in different regions, so start your investigation at the nursery. Ask questions and find out what grows in your area. You can’t plant everything. But you can be ready with most of what is grown in your area. Whatever herbs you plant you can then dry them, (Drying does reduce the flavor). Freezing is better, but not if we don’t have electricity. Store the herbs and spices in tight containers and as long as they stay in a cool, dark and dry place this will help them retain their strength longer.
If you can get whole spices for your storage you will save time and money. A few whole spices; nutmegs, cinnamon sticks peppercorns, cumin, cardamom and cloves. There are just too many to mention. You can go to cook books or on-line and get a list of herbs and spices.
In the future, I will write more about herbs, spices and peppers from Mexico.