Going out to eat or ordering takeout is always a treat, but it can get expensive. Between rising menu prices, delivery fees and gratuity, relying on restaurants can take a sizable chunk out of your budget as a renter. The solution is to put your home's kitchen to use, and with the right ingredients, you can cook food that tastes just as good for a fraction of the cost!
Speaking of ingredients, a well-stocked spice cabinet is your ticket to Flavortown. Spices can bring depth and taste to even the most simple dish and help novice chefs shine, especially when paired with fresh herbs you can grow right at home! Whether you're moving into a new place or just refreshing your supplies, these are the 10 essential kitchen spices every renter needs right now.
Black pepper is one of the most common spices that you'll find in recipes for savory dishes of every type of cuisine. Since it's so abundant in home-cooking, take things to the next level by stocking your cabinet with whole black peppercorns and a grinder, and the quality will show in everything from salads to steaks. Whole peppercorns not only taste fresher, but they also stay fresh longer than pre-ground black pepper, so don't be afraid to buy in bulk for the best value!
If you like it hot, cayenne pepper is an essential kitchen spice. Made from ground, dried chiles, cayenne fits in particularly well with Cajun, Mexican, Southern and Indian cuisines. A little goes a long way, so a bottle should last you a while and give you control over just how much heat to add to your cooking.
Cinnamon is an absolute essential if you like to bake, but it can also add depth and flavor to savory dishes. If you're a "dessert first" kind of person, springing for whole cinnamon sticks and grating them with a spice grater adds a fresh kick that's sure to stand out. Cinnamon sticks can also be used to bring an extra dimension to coffee, tea, broths and curries.
Cumin is a flavor-booster that provides an earthy, peppery layer to dishes from around the world, but is most commonly found in recipes originating from China, India, Mexico and Morocco. Fry the seeds whole in oil to bring some extra fragrance to your meal or sprinkle in ground cumin to add an extra dimension to your cooking.
Who doesn't love garlic? With granulated garlic or garlic powder, you can directly infuse this tasty spice into your cooking. Recipes of all kinds can benefit from a healthy sprinkle, and you can, too! Garlic is known to reduce blood pressure and improve cholesterol levels, making it nutritious and delicious! And an essential kitchen spice for your cabinet.
Ground ginger is made from dried ginger root and has a complex flavor profile that's bitterly sweet with a sinus-clearing heat when used fresh. In powdered form, this spice is a little milder but adds plenty of flavor to marinades, stir-fried veggies, baked goods and even teas.
Red pepper flakes include a mixture of dried, crushed, whole red peppers including whole cayenne and paprika peppers. You'll find this spice on-hand at most pizza restaurants because it complements Italian dishes perfectly, especially when paired with garlic and fragrant herbs like oregano or parsley.
Like peppercorns, sea salt is a great way to elevate one of the most common spices. Sea salt adds texture and richer flavors than basic table salt whether sprinkled on top as a finishing touch or mixed in as an ingredient. Don't underestimate the benefits of quality essential kitchen spices in daily cooking!
Paprika is a dried pepper that comes in a variety of forms, but when smoked, it provides a rich, smoky flavor that's unique and deeply flavorful. The smoke adds a touch of sweetness that goes great with roasted vegetables, meats, soups and stews. You'll find yourself reaching for smoked paprika over and over in the kitchen.
Tumeric is another ground, dried root that has a sharp and slightly bitter earthy flavor and a vibrant yellow color. It's also known to have many health benefits, including anti-inflammatory effects and it's good for blood sugar levels. It's mainly found in Indian dishes and goes great sprinkled on roasted vegetables, simmered in curries or even blended into a smoothie.
No one likes a cluttered countertop, so here are some great options for food storage to help you keep your spice collection and kitchen organized and out of the way but still in easy reach.
No matter how you choose to store or display your spices, make sure you have them labeled clearly. You certainly don't want to grab the cayenne pepper when you meant to add smoked paprika!
Breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert, flavorful essential kitchen spices are a great way to instantly boost your cooking skills. Reach for them when you're trying out a new recipe or put a new spin on a classic. Either way, they're sure to make eating at home much more delicious while helping to maintain your budget as a renter!