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DIY Spice Mixes

DIY Spice Mixes  3/17/17If food and meals at your house are guilty of being flavorless and boring, some do-it-yourself (DIY) spice mixes could help break the boredom.   Making your own spice blends is a win-win idea that gives your food a pop of flavor, helps reduce sodium, and saves money. 

Many store-bought spice blends are high in sodium. For example, 1 teaspoon of garlic salt adds about 970 milligrams (mg) of sodium to a recipe, while 1 teaspoon of garlic powder adds only 2 mg of sodium.

Blending together dried parsley, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, black pepper, chili powder, paprika and cumin makes a seasoning blend to liven up soup, tacos, and enchiladas. 

How about jazzing up stuffed bell peppers, pasta, and toasted garlic bread with a homemade ranch blend?  Simply mix together onion powder, onion flakes, dried parsley, garlic powder, dried dill weed, dried thyme, and pepper.  By adding this spice blend to low-fat or fat-free plain yogurt or sour cream, you will have created a delicious dip for when “ranch” is your wish.

A homemade Italian Spice Blend of basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary, garlic powder and onion powder can be added to yogurt to make a dip for fresh veggies.  This is a spice blend that can also be used on baked chicken, and even popcorn!  Talk about versatility!

Actual recipes for three homemade spice blend mixes are available in the NDSU Extension publication, “Do It Yourself Spice Mixes,” one of the many “Pinchin’ Pennies in the Kitchen” publications.  It is available online at https://www.ag.ndsu.edu/publications/food-nutrition/do-it-yourself-spice-mixes/fn1826.pdf, or from the Extension Office.

To maintain the flavor of spices, store them in a cool, dry, dark place away from the oven, stovetop, microwave and dishwasher. For best quality, use ground spices within six months and whole spices within two years. Be sure to label the containers with the date of purchase.

When using spices, start with just a small amount of seasoning. Test the recipe to see if it meets your taste preferences.  If it doesn’t, add more seasoning in small amounts until it has the “just right” flavor that your family will enjoy.

Photo Source: https://pixabay.com/en/photos/spices/   (downloaded 3/21/17)

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