Saving Money on Herbs and Spices

Spices can be very expensive, and if you buy the name brand variety, they cost even more. Unfortunately, open bottles of spices are one of those food items that lose their potency over time, so if you’re particular about your cooking, experts advise you to dispose of them after a year. There are a few ways to save on them though.

  • If you’re wondering whether the spice is still good, smell it. If it still has a strong aroma, it’s probably okay to use. Dried herbs can be crumbled in your fingers and smelled for freshness. Also, check the color to see if it has faded. It goes without saying that you should also look for bugs.
  • Buy store brand spices.
  • Buy large bottles of the kind you use frequently. Otherwise, buy the smallest quantity possible.
  • Look for them in discount and dollar stores. They often sell commonly used spices. Although the bottles may be larger, you’re still saving money.
  • Check out the Farmer’s Market in your town. Our local market sells several types in zip lock bags at a bargain price.
  • Grow your own. Any number of varieties are available for growing indoors or out. That way you can have fresh herbs year round. Or, you can dry them and store for use throughout the year.
  • Ask for them as gifts. Some spices, such as saffron, are extremely expensive, but they make a great gift for you to give or receive.
  • Substitute. Turmeric is the poor man’s saffron. It may not be the same, but it will certainly be a lot cheaper. Investigate other substitutes for the more costly herbs that may only be used once in a while.
  • Share. If you have to have a spice for that special dish, ask your friends if they would like to split the cost and share the spice.