Knowing how to stock your cupboard as a cook can mean the difference between creating delicious meals and meals that are only so-so. Much of your ability to do this comes from your skill, but some of this will come from the seasonings and spices you have in your cupboards. If you’re trying to narrow down the best spices to keep in your cupboard, here are five you won’t want to miss.
If you love savory dishes, then you won’t want to leave black peppercorns off your grocery list, according to Food and Wine. The reason why you want peppercorns to grind and not plain black pepper is that the flavor of the peppercorns will be preserved for longer if you keep it in its original form.
While it’s best to have fresh garlic, preferably that you’ve crushed yourself, it isn’t necessary. You can still make great dishes from granulated or powdered garlic. This spice goes in just about everything from pasta to homemade guacamole. It’s just an all-around good thing to have on your shelf. Garlic mixed with salt can also be great to have on hand for more on-the-go uses.
If you’re a fan of any kind of Latin American or Italian dishes, you know that you really can’t live without oregano. It’s the spice that gives spaghetti or pizza their distinct flavors. It’s also great on roasted veggies or chicken. Like with many others, you can obtain this fresh or powdered. Powdered may be a good option if you don’t cook frequently or have a small household because it lasts longer in storage.
Cinnamon is a critical sweet spice that allows you to make baked goodies, like cinnamon rolls or pumpkin pie. Combined with granulated sugar, it’s an excellent topping for toast in the morning—but in some cuisines, it also plays a role in more savory dishes. Greek pasta dishes, for example, call for cinnamon and butter; these dishes are served with lamb chops.
In light of this, it’s easy to see why cinnamon plays such a pivotal role in your cooking endeavors. Online outlets like Cartly allow you to order in powder and stick form for more variety. Online shopping can be a great alternative when you can’t find just the right spice for your dish. Just keep shipping times in mind when creating your meal plan.
Many recipes call for vanilla, and with good reason. Vanilla extract can take many dishes to the next level, including pastries, oatmeal, smoothies, and more. If you enjoy baking sweets, especially, you’ll definitely want this in your cupboard. Just remember to add it in small amounts, as it has a concentrated flavor. You can always add more to your taste later on.
Most kitchens have salt in some form or another. Kosher has its advantages because it’s flaky and coarse. It is also a must-have for homes that do kosher cooking. It’s an all-around good seasoning to have for brined recipes and roasted meats, too. If you like more coarse salt, try getting the larger crystals and grinding them yourself.
Inside your kitchen cupboard sit the building blocks of a great meal: your seasonings and spices. Some seasonings like salt and pepper are pretty much standard in most kitchens. Other spices like cinnamon usually get used in a specific way, but as this post shows, there’s so much more to this seasoning than most people realize. Cooks who are willing to experiment and to embrace these spices and seasonings wind up with better, more interesting dishes in the end.