Cooking with spices enhances the flavour of food. Something as simple as lightly sprinkling cinnamon on a piece of buttered toast transforms your snack into an exciting, spicy treat. Imagine, then, combining spices in different dishes to take any meal beyond the ordinary. The drawback is the cost, as spices can be expensive. Purchase them in bulk, though, and you'll always have an affordable supply on hand.
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Where to Find Wholesale Bulk Spices
A search of the Internet will yield many suppliers who will sell you spices in bulk. Some of them specialise in spices originating from different countries, and others seem to carry any type of spice you could imagine. Closer to home, you may be able to find a local supplier. Search the Yellow Pages for a dealer carrying spices. Most likely you won't find a listing under "spices," but typical purveyors of bulk spices will be wholesale coffee suppliers, health food stores or bulk grocers. Whether or not you actually are able to get them at a wholesale price is uncertain. Buying in bulk will definitely save money, but the supplier will take a markup on whatever he paid for the spices, so you won't be paying rock-bottom prices.
Bulk spices come packaged in a number of different ways. They may be sold in cloth or plastic bags. Some distributors package them in resealable plastic containers, like a jug. Sometimes spices come in reusable glass containers, but the cost of the container will increase the price you pay for the spices. When you purchase spices locally from a bulk grocer, she will have them stored in airtight bins to help keep them fresh. You simply scoop them out of the bins into a plastic bag to transport them home and then you can put them in whatever containers you have for storing spices.
Spices should be kept in airtight containers to keep moisture as well as air out. Spices should be kept in a cool, dark place and shouldn't be stored near heat, as that can diminish their flavour. Moisture, too, will damage spices and spoil their flavour. Some people choose to buy spices in their whole form rather than ground, because whole spices will keep longer than ground spices. Whole spices will remain good for up to five years, while ground spices should be used within six months to two years at the most.
Growing Your Own
The best way to control the cost and the amount of spices you get is to grow your own. The quality will be the best, too, if you get them fresh from your garden. Spices come from berries, seeds, blossoms and fruits. Some of the easiest to grow are peppers, cilantro, coriander and ginger. Use lightweight soil to allow air to circulate and for moisture to drain. Window boxes and small pots are ideal for growing spices, as most don't need a lot of space to thrive.
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