We’ve teamed up with World Spice Merchants and come up with a list of what we think are 10 of their proprietary must-haves for your pantry.
We all know the importance of a well-stocked pantry; having basic, everyday products within arm’s reach can truly be a life saver in the kitchen. For you this might include a can of prized San Marzano tomatoes to satisfy a mid-week spicy marinara craving, a tube of umami-rich anchovy paste to create the perfect Caesar salad, or a jar of homemade vanilla extract for your family’s favorite double chocolate brownies. But we have a hunch that in addition to your favorite canned goods, baking supplies, and condiments you’ve also carved out a special place in your kitchen for an array of dried herbs, spices and salts.
Were we right? We thought so. Don’t you agree that dried herbs, spices and salts are the quickest way to perk up any dish and add that much needed, last minute ‘pop’ of flavor?
That is precisely why we have partnered up with the team at World Spice Merchants, a Seattle-based business that offers over 300 selections of high quality herbs, spices, and one-of-a-kind, hand crafted spice blends. They offer everything you need to make sure your spice drawer is as diverse as your family’s palate.
So now that we are all introduced, we invite you to take a look at some of our must-have World Spice products. Your taste buds will thank you.
Maldon Flake Sea Salt
Anything but basic, a flaked sea salt is at the top of our list. With its large, pure white, pyramidal flakes and ultra clean taste, World Spice’s Maldon Flake Sea Salt is perfect for seasoning and finishing. Try it on savory dishes like this crowd-pleasing Salt and Pepper Shrimp dish, on your next batch of crunchy Sea Salt-Rosemary Sweet Potato Chips, or treat yourself to a pinch on a bowl of decadent Salted Caramel Ice Cream.
Maldon Flake Sea Salt, $9.95 on WorldSpice.com
Black Tellicherry Peppercorns
With their larger size and bold, complex flavor, Black Tellicherry-grade peppercorns give off a robust aroma of earthy spice with a floral-citrus top note. Whether you are grabbing your grinder for a classic like Steak au Poivre or testing out a new, unexpected flavor combination like in this Lime Frozen Yogurt with Black Pepper, the folks at World Spice recommend that you grind your black peppercorns right before use to experience optimal flavor.
Peppercorn – Black Tellicherry, from $3.25 on WorldSpice.com
Za’atar seems to be popping up everywhere these days! From your favorite shakshuka to an array of sweet and savory summertime salads, it has even been known to make an appearance in a unique version of a classic cacio e pepe. This time honored Middle Eastern spice blend made of a fragrant mixture of white sesame seeds, sumac, Turkish oregano, dill, thyme, and Kosher salt, is also known to liven up avocado toast, hummus or a bowl of olive oil for dipping.
Za’atar – Israeli, from $8.50 on WorldSpice.com
Cassia Vietnamese Cinnamon
Also known as Saigon cinnamon, Vietnamese cassia powder offers up a sweet, warm and floral spiciness and unparalleled taste to whatever you are whipping up in the kitchen. Perfect for those crave-worthy weekend Skillet Cinnamon Rolls, yes, but equally as bold in savory dishes like these Cinnamon Rosemary Pork Chops or this vegetarian Quinoa Chili.
Cinnamon – Cassia Vietnamese, from $3.00 on WorldSpice.com
Most often used to give dishes a distinct warm orange glow, turmeric is a vibrant spice with a nutty, earthy, slightly gingery flavor. A main ingredient in curry powders, turmeric, and its most active compound, curcumin’s health benefits are also a big part of its overall appeal. It is a potent anti-inflammatory and is antioxidant-rich, making it an appealing addition to everything from a refreshing glass of lemonade to fragrant grilled scallops, or even this simple pasta dish filled with good-for-you greens.
Turmeric, from $2.25 on WorldSpice.com
With its warm, sweet taste similar to licorice and anise, fennel seed can be found in a variety of global cuisines. Perfect in this Italian Fregola Salad with Citrus and Red Onion, or even this roasted pork tenderloin dish with cabbage, fennel seeds can also be used to brew a lovely cup of digestive tea.
Fennel Seed, from $2.25 on WorldSpice.com
Black Cardamom Pods
A traditional component in the chai spice blend, cardamom exudes a floral, smoky, and warm flavor all its own. A coarse brown pod containing about 40 seeds, black cardamom makes a sensational addition to not only soups and stews, but sweet favorites like Cardamom Panna Cotta with Rhubarb and these spicy Gingerbread Cupcakes with Cardamom Cream Cheese Frosting.
Cardamom Pod – Black, from $6.50 on WorldSpice.com
Everything Bagel Spice
Always a crowd pleaser, World Spice’s Everything Bagel Spice is a popular blend of garlic, white sesame seeds, nigella seeds, sea salt, poppy seeds, caraway and onions. With its nutty, umami-rich flavor, Everything Bagel Spice is the perfect addition to home-baked no-knead bread and even makes for a distinctive, crispy coating that livens up pan-seared chicken cutlets.
Everything Bagel Spice, from $4.00 on WorldSpice.com
With their tangy, subtly sweet notes reminiscent of cranberry or pomegranate, dried hibiscus flowers are commonly used in teas and infusions, and they impart a rich, deep red color to whatever you add them to. So go ahead, see how citrusy hibiscus shines in a refreshing summertime ice pop or in a glass of this spice-filled Jamaican infused cocktail.
Hibiscus, from $4.50 on WorldSpice.com
Did you know that it takes 70,000 crocus flowers to produce one pound of saffron threads? That is what makes saffron the most expensive (and one of the most beloved) spices in the world. World Spice sources their saffron threads direct from a free-trade cooperative in Morocco, and with its deep yellow-orange hue and earthy flavor, is unmistakable in dishes like traditional Italian Risotto alla Milanese and this springtime favorite of baked Braised Saffron Carrots.
Saffron, $18.00 on WorldSpice.com
Originally published July 11, 2022
I guess it will depend on every cook, some of these work for me and others not so much.
Also, I think it would go for what kind of cooking you do: Mexican? Indian? Turkish? All those sorts of things. The only one from your selection I would out and out dismiss is hibiscus, as I don’t do a lot of desserts (cooking, that is…eating might be another case entirely). Saffron I would buy, but the price is the main stumbling block.
With essentials, I would put into my lineup:
Fenugreek–Especially if you like to cook a lot of Indian food. Whether the takeout is better than cooking it at home or not, there is something within the taste in the takeout that you can’t put your finger on. That is usually what is absent from the at-home versions.
Chinese Five Spice–when something needs flavour, needs seasoning, but you don’t want to go into the “spicy” realm. This one works a treat and is not a bad replacement for allspice.
Garam Masala–when it comes to taco seasoning, Cajun seasoning and all that, I would just say use the separate spices and combine them yourself. This is the exception to that rule. That is mainly because I envision cooking Indian curries more often than making a jambalaya.
Smoked Paprika–Even some of the most conservative, unadventurous cooks will include half a teaspoon of this beauty in their lineup. Extra points if you have the sweet, and the hot paprika in tow.
Cinnamon Sticks–These buggers seep a rich flavour into any stew or curry where they are utilised.
Plus another noted mixture, which I recommend for our kosher friends, is porketta. Using this with diced mushrooms proved to be a good bacon substitute.
Then you have usual suspects like cayenne pepper, cumin, onion powder, and whatnot. Over two dozen spices (maybe even nearly three dozen), and I still have more to explore.
Thank you so very much for sharing your favorite spice blends with us; they are a wonderful addition to our essentials list. (And boy, all of your suggested dishes and favorite ways to use each spice is making my mouth water…)
I took the liberty of adding World Spice links for your favorite spice blends below. That way, everyone can add those onto their must-have list as well.
World Spice Onion Powder
Chinese Five Spice
Garam Masala – Kashmiri
Garam Masala – Indian
Smoked Paprika – Sweet
Smoked Paprika – Picante
Cayenne – African
World Spice Indian Cayenne Pepper
Cumin Seed Toasted