Basic Spice Rack Spices

Published: March 18, 2014

Stocking cabinets is difficult on a budget, but when thinking in terms of what goes in basic cuisine, here are the 15 essential herbs and spices to keep on hand. You can keep them fresh and chilled (especially the leafy herbs) or in their dehydrated powder form (a must for things like Chili and Curry). Here are the 15 Essential Spices for Your Cabinet:

  1. Basil

    Can be stored in leafy or powdered form; use in soups, salads, and sauces. Perfect accompaniment to anything with tomato.

  2. Oregano

    Spicer than basil, but a perfect accompaniment; it can be stored and used in the same ways as basil.

  3. Sage

    It's savory touch brings out the flavors in mushrooms, meats, and stuffings. 

  4. Rosemary

    An aromatic and fresh flavoring for soups, stews, and meats (especially lamb and pot roast). Also useful in flavoring olive oil.

  5. Parsley

    Always a welcome garnish, but is also welcome in any potato or pasta dish in its fresh or dried forms.

  6. Dill

    Slightly tangy, perfect to accompany fish, roasted potatoes, and sauces like tatziki.

  7. Chives

    Good as a soup garnish as well as potatoes and noodles and mixed into sauces.

  8. Black Pepper

    Fresh cracked black pepper is the best for serving at the dinner table, but use sparingly. Powdered black pepper is best for cooking and is far less potent.

  9. Curry Powder

    When purchasing this item, it's worth the cost because you wil get what you pay for. This spice is actually several spices mixed into one that accent each other wonderfullyt and go with dishes ranging from eggs and seafood, lamb, to the traditional sauce on rice and even sprinkled generously on popcorn.

  10. Chili Powder

    The use of this spice mix is fairly obvious for chili itself, but can also be used to add flavor to beef stew, meatloaf, and other hearty dishes.

  11. Garlic Powder

    An interesting item to sprinkle on popcorn for a surprisingly delicious treat and accompanies just about any vegetable or meat with perfection.

  12. Onion Powder

    This should be used just as if it was fresh, chopped onion. Usually 1/4 tsp. will equal a small chopped onion, but check the packaging to make certain.

  13. Cinnamon

    Whether purchased in stick form to simmer in Apple Cider or in powdered form for baking, be sure to get high quality or you risk buying ground tree bark with cinnamon flavoring (again, check the label and seller's reputation).

  14. Nutmeg

    Powdered nutmeg is best for baking, while fresh grated nutmeg is best for Egg Nog and certain sauces. This is also a marvelous topper to a scoop of ice cream. 

  15. Ginger

    Ginger root, when it is fresh, is great when shredded or sliced into Asian cuisine like stir fry or plain rice. Powdered ginger is great for baking and for sprinkling on top of cooked foods as well as in hot water for upset stomach. 

Remember that herbs and spices, even dehydrated, do not last forever. Always give your bottle or bundle a good sniff to make sure that you are getting the very best from your herbs and spices in the foods you're preparing!