Condiments and spices are essential to a 3 month supply and for longer term storage. When you cook from scratch, you’ve got to be able to season things. Imagine eating rice without salt. Now, imagine that salt is the only spice you have. It would be totally boring to eat like that!
Saving on Spices
I only buy 1-ingredient spices. I won’t list all the spices I store. There are too many, and you may not use all of the ones that I do. I would suggest shopping around for the best price on spices. I can get mine in bulk at Winco (a store found in UT/ID), so it costs me about 30 cents to refill a spice container! That’s a lot cheaper than buying glass bottles for 5 bucks or even plastic bottles for 2 bucks. Spices at Winco cost from 3-5 dollars a pound. I don’t think you will ever find them cheaper than that.
Once I move away from Winco, I’ll be checking out some online options for cheap spices. Until then, if you don’t have Winco, consider the spices that come in bags near the Latino/Hispanic section in your store. Since you’re not paying for a bottle, it saves quite a bit of money. Or, look at a Sam’s/Costco for bigger containers of spices you use a lot of. Those are also a good deal. Spices also go on sale periodically, especially around Thanksgiving and Christmas, so keep an eye out.
I make all the condiments and spice blends that I can. Some are impossible to make at home or they wouldn’t last long enough for how long it takes my family to use them. (It takes us a year to use a bottle of ketchup sometimes, so that’s not one I would ever make.)
I buy and never make from scratch:
mustard: yellow, Dijon, and stone-ground
vinegar: apple cider, balsamic, red wine, rice, white
black bean sauce
curry paste (Thai – red, yellow, and green)
chili/chili garlic paste
All other sauces, seasonings, and dressings are made from scratch. They are filed under the “sides” category of this blog.