Herbs and Spices

If I’m a poor grad student, how can I afford to have all the spices I use in my recipes? Time.

When I first started living on my own, I bought myself one new spice a week until I had a reasonable collection. It’s slow going, but it’s much more affordable than running out and buying everything a spice rack needs. Another thing I discovered were spices in bags or in bulk. At World Market, you can buy most spices for $.79-$1.49, and bulk stuff (often and natural or gourmet food stores) is even cheaper. Then buy a small jar to keep each spice in. Bulk is nice because you can buy just a little bit and keep your spices fresh.

Ideally, dried herbs and spices should be replaced frequently, perhaps every year…but since most of us don’t have the money to do that, I’d aim for replacing everything within two to three years of purchase. Because spices should be rotated, it’s not as economical as it might seem to buy the bigger bottle of a spice.

Fresh herbs might seem like a splurge, but not if they’re from the farmers’ market! I can get over a cup of fresh basil for $1, and almost as much fresh parsley for $.75. Next spring, I’m hoping to start my own herb garden. I’ll be sure to say how that goes.

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