*June is Herbs and Spice Month*
By: Stryder
01 June 2005

June, June, June! June was the month of the IC in Texas. If you missed it, you missed a great time! I was very busy and did not get a chance to post my purchases until now. I used June to bring my Herbs and Spices up to snuff. I was thinking about the TX IC and how good the food would be and it dawned on me that I could do with some more spices here myself. In a pinch the right spices (right usually = strong) will make anything almost edible. Anyway - June is my month for spices. Prior monthís suggestions are on my web page at http://www.alpharubicon.com/~stryder/survive.htm.

My goal with this plan is to systematically improve my food stores while not significantly impacting my family budget. I think you all know that now. If you donít have a storage plan going - start one NOW!

BUY WHAT YOU EAT AND EAT WHAT YOU BUY. Buy what works for you and if you say to yourself "Why is he recommending that?" then donít buy it! Just stick with the general category, dairy this month, for example. Remember to clearly mark your food as you store it so that it is easy to rotate the older food.

June is Herbs/Spices month. The suggested goal in the literature that Iíve seen is 15 lbs. of Herbs per person/per year. Fifty-two dollars this month will buy about 8 lbs. of Herbs/Spices/Extracts, enough for about 0.5 man-years.

Herbs generally come in .75 oz. to 1-lb. containers.

For cooking 1 teaspoon of dried herbs = 3 teaspoons of fresh herbs, so you can adjust recipes accordingly.

Storage - Remember your mileage may vary. These are the guidelines I use and they have served me well over 20 years of food storage. If you find through experience that you get more or less storage time out of your storage good or bad for you. Moisture really matters with the storage of herbs. Not too dry and not too wet!

Garlic Cloves, hung in braids in cool dry place - 10-12 months

Herbs, ground - 30-36 months in airtight container away from sun

Herbs, whole - 40-48 months in airtight container away from sun and heat

Herbs, whole seeds and roots - 5 years from harvest

Herb or Spice Extracts - 5 years

Herb Seasoning Blends - 18 months

Herbal essential oils - indefinitely in airtight sealed containers

I store my herbs either in the original containers I buy them in from the store or in airtight glass bottles with screw cap lids. My storage area is in the basement with a consistent temperature, low humidity and limited light.

My mother used to say spice is the spice of life. She loved to cook and said that most people got jaded pallets for food because much of what we eat is so bland so she would spice things up when she cooked. I donít mean picante spiced up, but for example she might throw some rosemary in the hamburger for the grill as a different taste. I follow the same idea and spice things up with different spices to add taste to what we cook, especially because we cook with and eat a lot of whole grains and starch (rice, potato, pasta, etc). I also consider that some of this will be barter material for me because people tent to put spices and herbs in "nice but not survival" category. After two months of beans and rice and water, rice and beans, rice and squirrel and water, beans and rice, I think that opinion might change.


Hereís my list for June:

Basil 3oz. $2.50

Bay Leaves 3oz. $7.50 (keeps the weevils out too - try it)

Black Pepper Ground 1lb. $5.00

Cayenne Pepper 20oz. $5.00 (your Sec. Team leader will say buy more!)

Chili Powder 10oz. $2.50

Cinnamon Ground 12oz. $2.50

Crushed Red Pepper 8oz. $2.50

Garlic Powder 18oz. $2.50

Italian Seasoning 4oz. $2.50

Pickling Spice 14oz. $2.50

Rosemary 4oz. $2.50

Peppermint 1oz. $2.50

Pure Vanilla Ext. 16oz. $8.00

Pure Almond Ext. 8oz. $4.00

I have been buying many of my spices and herbs from Pure and Natural Spices in Island Park. They supply bulk users, mostly restaurants, but they take small retail orders via the web at www.pureandnaturalspices.com. They have been good to me and have good quality and great prices. Most of their spices run $3.00 for a good quantity (usually 8 oz.) or even less on bulk orders.

You know the drill - If youíre good to go already with one of those suggestions, move the money and buy extra of one of the others where you're weak or it fits your families eating habits better. Be creative and use some of these herbs in your everyday cooking, plant some in your garden next year or even plant garlic this fall for the spring. Maybe consider growing some herbs in house pots year round.

And if youíre completely good on herbs then you might want to spend this monthís $50 on getting some more storage containers. Sportsmanís Guide has screw on Gamma Seal lids for 5 gal. pails on sale for $5.37, and if youíre using your storage then you know how handy those are. You might also want to add another couple of 55 gal water barrels, some Auqa-tainer jugs for inside, or some desiccant or oxy absorbers for your self-storage.


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