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Get Creative with Spice Blends

T here is no excuse anymore for buying pre-made spice blends. It’s just so simple to make your own. When you create your own spice blends, you can customize them to your exact taste and can better control the amount of salt and sugar.

Get creative with Spice Blends - How-To's & Tip – Dartagnan.com

Pre-made spice blends tend to be marked up, so you save money when you make your own. You also probably already have a number of items in your spice cabinet that you can use to get started.

Make spice blends in big batches and store the extra in little jars for later use. To maximize the shelf life, store spices in a cool, dark place.

Spice blends work great whether you’re grilling, broiling, roasting, or sautéing. Jars of your own custom spice blend also make great gifts. Make sure to label the jar and even offer some usage suggestions.

When it comes to spice blends for meat, there are no wrong answers. The beauty of it is that you can customize the flavors to your own taste. If you need a little help getting started, look to some areas of the world that really love their spices.  

  • For a Moroccan spice blend, start with the “pie spices” (i.e., cinnamon, allspice, cloves, nutmeg, and ginger) and add coriander and cumin. This blend is best on lamb.  
  • To create a Chinese spice blend, combine star anise, cinnamon, cloves, fennel seeds, black pepper, garlic powder, and ground dried chile peppers. Sprinkle it on duck, chicken, or pork
  • Try an Indian spice blend by using turmeric, coriander, cumin, mustard seeds, cardamom, and black pepper. Pair the spice blend with quail or chicken.  
  • To put together a Mexican spice blend, mix together ground dried chile peppers, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, and dried oregano. Try it on beef or buffalo.

Don’t forget to add salt to every spice blend. A little salt will bring out all of the flavors of the spices and the meat. The last secret ingredient to every spice blend is a pinch of sugar. This subtle sweetness will help to balance the all of the spices to create a well-rounded flavor. The sugar will also promote caramelization when cooking, leaving a crunchy golden brown crust.

Feel free to use ground spices or whole spices in your custom blends. Whole spices have a longer shelf life, but need to be ground before using. To grind whole spices, use an electric spice grinder, or crush by hand using a mortar and pestle.