Essential Home Spices Every Household Should Have in Their Pantry
A good spice cabinet is a kitchen staple, but knowing which spices to stock can be intimidating. This list covers essential home spices that every household should have in their pantry.
A staple in most cuisines, cumin is available in both ground and seed forms and lends a warm, fragrant flavor to recipes from around the globe, including Moroccan tagines and Indian dal palak.
Nutmeg is best known as a baking spice in fall-friendly pumpkin recipes and custard tarts, but it’s also an essential ingredient in savory dishes. Sprinkle it on roasted sweet potatoes or in vegetable stews, curry, or risotto.
Whole nutmeg can be grated fresh on top of baked goods or used to make spice rubs. It can also be ground up to create a powdered form, which blends more easily into liquids like soups or sauces.
Nutmeg’s earthy, warm flavor pairs well with meat, vegetables and some fruit. It also adds a touch of depth and warmth to creamy and buttery dishes, such as soups or sauces. In addition, nutmeg has been historically used as a medicinal herb for its warming qualities that stimulate circulation, improve digestion and aid sleep and stress relief.
Oregano has antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties and can be used to treat many common ailments. Its natural oils also prevent lipid oxidation in foods, helping to extend their shelf life.
Oregono is rich in natural antioxidants, including carvacrol and thymol, that help reduce inflammation. It contains chlorophyll, which along with other leafy greens and adequate sunlight, can naturally regenerate the fat-soluble antioxidant coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10).
Although fresh oregano is best, you can use dried for a more concentrated flavor profile. Dried oregano can also be infused into olive oil to make oregano-infused olive oil. Basil and thyme are good substitutes for oregano in recipes, but both have slightly different flavors.
An essential spice for Indian rice and curry dishes, Middle Eastern hummus and falafel, and savory beef and lamb marinades, cumin is warm, earthy and fragrant. It comes in whole seeds and ground form and is a staple for any home pantry.
Cumin has powerful antioxidant properties that help neutralize unstable, free radical particles in the body that can cause damage and disease. It also has anti-inflammatory benefits and is a good natural remedy for respiratory issues like congestion, cough and cold.
Its earthy flavor elevates vegetable and legume soups, stews and tofu recipes. It is a great spice to have on hand for vegetarians. It is also delicious in drinks and can be sprinkled on omelets, egg scrambles and used as a rub for meats before grilling.
While other spices live tucked away in dark cupboards, black pepper proudly stands in shakers or grinders on the kitchen counter and – holiest of all places – the dining table. It is used to season everything from eggs to mashed potatoes, and is the star of dishes like French steak au poivre or Italian pasta cacio e pepe.
The piperine in black pepper gives it its characteristic heat, but it also carries complex flavor notes of pine and citrus. Use it with herbs and spices that amplify its complexity, such as rosemary, thyme, cardamom, coriander, and juniper berries.
The pungency of black pepper stimulates the heart and helps the blood circulate. It also destroys mucous and opens the sinuses. It is a good remedy for cold and cough.
Paprika is an easy and affordable home spice that can be used to add flavor and color to dishes. It is also rich in micronutrients like vitamin A, capsaicin and carotenoid antioxidants, which help prevent inflammation and improve eye health, cholesterol levels and blood sugar control.
Adding paprika to your cooking can give you a healthy dose of iron, which promotes cell growth and red blood cell production. Moreover, it aids in the body’s natural healing process and helps fight against autoimmune diseases, such as arthritis and celiac disease.
You can find paprika in various varieties, including sweet, hot and smoked. Each variety has a different taste and color. All types can be stored for months in an airtight jar or container in the pantry.