Originally Posted by Jeff_in_KC
Brook, the reason I posted this here is that I'm assuming that competition spices quality would by necessity be different than the quality needed for backyard purposes. If that isn't correct, I apologize for placing this here...
Competition or home, shouldn't make a difference. You want the best quality either way. I remember buying cooking wine for something and taking a taste of it. Yettttcccchhhh! Why would you cook with something you wouldn't drink? Or in the case of spices, why would you cook with a spice that was less than tasty? I have used a number of the 99 cent spices and found them to be of decent quality. As others have stated it is freshness that counts. Quality is just as important but it doesn't always figure that if you pay $3.00 and ounce for an herb that it is necessarily any better. I bought some Shilling chili powere last month and ended up throwing it away. It wasn't that it was bad, Schilling just formulates their spices for the American pallete. In general Americans like things bland. Taste and smell your spices prior to cooking with them. Rub them between your fingers or in the palm of your hands. Give them a sniff. You want an nice aromatic smell. Then put a small amount on your tounge and see what it tastes like. Funny how people don't taste things like vinegars, herbs and spices and wine that they use for cooking and yet it is these very ingredients that can make or break a particlular food item.