Don't be afraid to substitute herbs and spices

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By Greg Summers

Don’t be afraid to substitute herbs and spices

From time to time, every cook gets into a pinch when there is no pinch of cumin in the cupboard.

Before going out to buy more, see if there are other alternatives that will work just as well. 

It not only saves money, but eliminates waste by using another herb or spice in a way that serves the same purpose. It could also keep you from buying a herb or spice you will only use once. 

However, when substituting, keep in mind the flavor will not be as originally intended.

Begin substitutions with half the specified amount and then adjust it. You may even come up with something better.

Spice substitutions

– Allspice – Use cinnamon, cassia or dash of nutmeg, dash or cloves

– Aniseed – Fennel seed or a few drop anise extract

– Chili Powder – Dash of hot pepper sauce, plus a combination of oregano and cumin

– Cinnamon – Nutmeg or allspice (use only one-quarter of the amount)

– Cloves – Allspice, cinnamon or nutmeg

– Cumin – Chili powder

– Ginger – Allspice, cinnamon, mace or nutmeg

– Mace – Allspice, cinnamon, ginger or nutmeg

– Nutmeg – Cinnamon, ginger or mace

– Saffron – Dash of turmeric (for color)

Herb substitutions

– Basil – Oregano or thyme

– Chervil – Tarragon or parsley

– Chive – Green onion, onion or leek

– Cilantro – Parsley

– Italian Seasoning – A blend of any of these; basil, oregano, rosemary and ground red pepper

– Marjoram – Basil, thyme or savory

– Mint – Basil, marjoram or rosemary

– Oregano – Thyme or basil

– Parsley – Chervil or cilantro

– Poultry Seasoning – Sage, plus a blend of any of these; thyme, marjoram, savory, black pepper and rosemary

– Red Pepper – A dash of bottled hot pepper sauce or black pepper

– Rosemary – Thyme, tarragon or savory

– Sage – Poultry seasoning, savory, marjoram or rosemary

– Savory – Thyme, marjoram or sage

– Tarragon – Chervil, dash of fennel seed or dash of aniseed

– Thyme – Basil, marjoram, oregano or savory


Source: About.com Home Cooking