Spice It Up! How To Frugally Add Spice Blends to Your Pantry and Recipes


dried herbs  

Spice blends are one of the easiest ways to change up the storage items in your food pantry. The problem is, purchasing them in bulk can get rather expensive. In a previous article, I suggested that starting an herb and vegetable garden were two frugal ways to grow your food pantry.

“Herbs are almost foolproof and one of the easiest additions you can make to a garden. Best of all, they like a little abuse and don’t require as much water as vegetables do. As well, apartment and small home dwellers can grow these herbaceous plants and reap the rewards. Further, since they are usually small in stature, you can easily trim them and make more room in the middle of the garden for vegetables. When the herbs are ready to be harvested, get your dehydrator ready to make teas, spice blends, herbal extracts, emulsions and medicinal tonics.”

Starting an herb garden and making your own spice blends is a frugal way to get a lot of spices at once to add to your food pantry. Moreover, many herbs like oregano, sage, lavender, mint, rosemary and thyme are perennials and grow year-round. I started these herbs a few years ago in my garden, and my oregano, sage, rosemary, and lavender are small bushes. I can get a year supply of herbs each time I cut them back! You can have a constant supply of seasoning blends just by growing them.

Another option is to purchase in bulk. There are many herb companies online that sell their herbs in bulk. This technique is a great way to get a large amount in the pantry to ensure you have plenty until your herb garden starts producing.

Dehydrating Herbs

Dehydrating your fresh herbs removes moisture from the food so that bacteria, yeast, and mold cannot grow. The added benefit is the dehydration process minimally affects the nutritional content of food. According to National Center for Home Food Preservation, “Pre-heat dehydrator with the thermostat set to 95°F to 115°F and add trays. In areas with higher humidity, temperatures as high as 125°F may be needed. After rinsing under cool, running water and shaking to remove excess moisture, place the herbs in a single layer on dehydrator trays. Drying times may vary from 1 to 4 hours.”

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