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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Taking the Spice Route at YDFM

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My haul of new spices from YDFM
  • My haul of new spices from YDFM
It's both a trek and an adventure to go to the international food emporium that is Your Dekalb Farmers Market. I try to avoid going there often due to the time it takes to get there, and the maddening experience I tend to have each time I go (what? what do you mean you're out of mint??). When I do go, I try to stock up on a few particular things they offer at great prices - duck fat is one (a secret ingredient for deliciousness in many a restaurant), and dry herbs and spices are another. I won't claim that YDFM has the best quality spices in the world. (Penzey's is probably a better source if you insist on the highest quality, and their first shop in Georgia is set to open tomorrow in Sandy Springs at 6235-A Roswell Road NE.)

What YDFM offers is a wide assortment, incredible prices, and the knowledge that their spices are relatively fresh since they have such high turnover. I decided to replace most of my spices as many of them were getting old, and picked up 30 different herbs and spices for an average of less than $1 each - wow. And every single one of those 30 spices were packed in the last 10 days. When I got home, I actually compared some of my new spices with my older ones, and noticed a substantial difference in both aroma and flavor among many of them. Some old dry basil smelled more like tea and was clearly a browner shade of green than the new stuff. Old cayenne was a dull orange next to the deep rust of the new cayenne, and definitely did not pack as much of a punch in the flavor department.

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Changing out your old spices is a small step to more flavorful cooking, and really inexpensive when you shop somewhere like YDFM. The oldest marked spice in my pantry was from 2006, but I'll bet if most people check theirs, they'll find some from the last century! How old are yours???

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