Everything we eat has a flavor profile and they can all belong to one of the main categories: bitter, sweet, savory, salty, and umami, which is somewhere between savory and salty. You might know umami flavors from mushrooms or Nori. Having a broad combination of these five types of spices keeps you from getting bored with your food routine and helps you get a wider variety of nutrients from your diet.
Let's start with the difference between spices and seasonings. We'll look at herbs a bit too. All of them flavor our food without adding fat or refined sugar and the differences are pretty basic.
Spices are made from root, bark, bulb, stem, flower buds, seeds, or fruits. They can be ground, powdered, chopped, dried, and/or used whole.
For example, Paprika is the powder form of dried bell pepper skin. Examples of spices are:
Peppercorns (black pepper, red pepper, white pepper)
Herbs are made from the leaves of a plant. They can also be used in any form. The key difference is which part of the plant is being used. For example, cilantro is an herb and the seeds that form when it dies in the fall are the spice coriander.
Seasonings are anything that flavors food. If you're eating any sort of blend, it would be classified as a seasoning and could also be a spice blend or an herb blend if it's made exclusively of one or the other. Some of our favorite things are made with seasonings, such as:
Apple pie spice, pumpkin pie spice
Herbs and spices
In most recipes, there will almost always be some seasoning. Recipes are a logical way to learn about which spices do and don't go together. They'll also illustrate proportions. It doesn't take long to discover that some salt is good and a lot of salt can overpower the whole dish.
Tips for Using Spices and Seasonings:
When you're learning about a new spice or herb, start with a smaller amount and test that first. You can add more later.
Most dried herbs have more flavor than fresh herbs, so you'll need less of them when they're dried. One exception is ginger, which is in its most potent form when fresh. Save it in the freezer between uses to make the most of it before it goes bad.
Crush fresh herbs with a mortar and pestle to bring out more of the natural flavors and essential oils.
Get the most flavor out of your spices by grinding them yourself.
Spices and herbs add flavor to your food without adding things like fat and sugar. Get familiar with some and see how you could improve your health by adding a little more spice to your life.
Learn about new seasoning combinations and grilling seasonings by diving into a different culinary tradition. Find recipes from a different part of the world and get a whole new perspective on which spices go together. If you cook mostly Italian food, try Caribbean, Thai, Middle Eastern or Mexican. The more different from your usual routine, the more you'll broaden your palate.
Spices and seasonings are available at any price point. The exact range depends on what you're buying. At Sam's Club, we're always thinking about how to save you money on the brands and products you want. That makes us an obvious place to shop the next time you need spices and seasonings. Save more by looking for our red "Instant Savings" label on select items.
What Sizes of Spices and Seasonings Can I Choose?
We sell many sizes of all your favorites, including bulk seasonings and bulk spices such as:
Ground black pepper, 5 pounds
Iodized salt, 4 pounds
Adobo con pimienta, 9 pounds
True orange, 500 packets per box
Old Bay seasoning, 7.5 pounds
Granulated garlic, 7.25 pounds
Chopped onion, 50 ounces
What to Consider When Buying Spices and Seasonings
When you're buying spices and seasonings, here are three things to look at:
Packaging: The best containers are airtight. Air and humidity cause your spices and seasonings to lose their flavor over time.
To grind or not to grind: The fresher your spices can be, the stronger the flavor will be. If you can, buy whole spices and grind them yourself. For example, the Member's Mark Whole Black Pepper Grinder allows you to grind the pepper fresh each time you use it.
Price: Spend according to your budget.
What Brands of Spices and Seasonings Does Sam's Club Sell?
We have all your favorite spice and seasoning brand. Here's just a taste of what you'll find at Sam's Club:
Fiesta: Uncle Chris' Gourmet Steak Seasoning, Season It All
Badia: Paprika, Crushed Red Pepper
Lawry's: Seasoned Salt, Coarse Ground Garlic Salt
Mrs. Dash: Original Seasoning, Garlic and Herb
FAQ: Spices and Seasonings
What spices go good together?
There are many spice combinations that work well. Look at your favorite recipes or seasoning blends to get ideas of what might work for you.
Do spices and seasonings go bad?
Spices can go bad. What that means is that they gradually lose their flavor over time. The older the spice, the more you'll need to use to season your food.
How long should you keep spices and seasonings?
This depends on how they've been stored and whether or not they've been ground, powered, etc. Here are some very general guidelines to follow:
Salt and vanilla will basically last forever
Whole spices (not ground, powdered, etc.): 3–4 years
Ground, powdered spices: 2–4 years (Similar for seasoning blends)
What spices and seasonings have gluten?
Spices naturally are gluten free. However, they may come into contact with gluten during the manufacturing and packaging process. To be sure, it's best to check with the manufacturer's website or label to learn more about their process.