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10 Spices That Will Make You A Better Cook

This week on Facebook, I started a daily series to span the next two weeks.  It will showcase the ten best spices to have in your pantry.  Every day will feature one particular spice, highlighting it’s many uses to demonstrate why it will make you a better cook.

Every spice merchant will have a different list, but most lists will contain several spices mentioned in the other collections.

So, these are the ten I frequently reach for in my kitchen.  They provide a hub in a wheel of culinary flavors.  The spokes of the wheel are the additions of other spices and herbs as well as the flavors of the foods being prepared.


10 spices That Will Make You A Better Cook  



Don’t just sprinkle it on your potato salad.  Generously spoon it into soups, stews and sauces to add an earthy depth to any dish.

Onion Powder

In addition to fresh onions in your recipes, a teaspoon of this concentrated onion flavor will boost the taste of your favorite dishes.

Organic Whole Black Peppercorns

Whole Peppercorns

Fresh-ground black pepper has a slightly fruity taste and aroma that adds a flavorful tingle to any dish.  Once you start grinding it fresh, you’ll never go back to buying pre-ground pepper.


Whether fresh, powdered or crystallized, ginger is a great addition to meat and bean recipes along with other spices and herbs.  Added with other aromatics such as onions and garlic, half a teaspoon of ginger powder boosts vegetable dishes to a higher level.


Nothing else adds such a delicate hint of onion flavor to soups, sauces, vegetable and egg dishes like onion chives.

Cinnamon Sticks


Just a pinch is all you need as a “secret ingredient” for tomato dishes, such as tomato soup, Irish stew or spaghetti sauce.  It also marries well with the natural flavors of meats.

Whole Nutmeg

Once you start grating nutmeg as needed, you will never go back to using pre-ground powders.  Use freshly-grated nutmeg on top of pies and other baked goods; but, don’t stop there.  Stir into hot beverages.  Nutmeg is also great on potatoes, turnips, carrots, parsnips and rutabaga.


With all the good press today regarding turmeric’s health benefits, let’s not forget what a great addition it is to your spice rack.  The medicinal-tasting quality of T’s flavor marries well with other spices and the natural flavors of meat and vegetables.

Mustard Powder (or dry mustard)

Stirred into cream sauces, or blended with flour for breading fried foods will add zing to your favorite dishes.  Try in potato or macaroni salad; or, chicken or ham salad.

Himalayan Pink Mineral Salt

Evaporated Sea Salt and Mined Salts

Salt that is harvested directly from the sea and salt marshes, and mined salt such as Himalayan Pink Mineral or Murray River Pink are absent of the harsh characteristics that regular table salt possesses after it has been flushed out of the ground, boiled and bleached.  These mined salts are also much higher in natural minerals inherent to each type of salt.

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