I am a fan of seasoning and then adding salt as needed. I have found that a lot of pre-made spice blends are way too salty for my family since we do not eat a lot of processed salty foods. My hope is that this post will help you find seasoning blends that you find tasty and a good addition to all those prepper foods you have put back for hard times!
Remember that you get used to certain levels of sodium and sugar. What seems too sweet or salty to me may not be salty or sweet enough for you. If you are trying to reduce your salt intake, don’t worry it gets easier as your taste buds adjust!
My dad is on a sodium-restricted diet so we have to be careful about what foods we buy him. Low sodium soup can still have a ton of salt in it so we will get salt free and then he adds salt or other spices as needed.
Buying in bulk will save you a lot of money.
A lot of the time when I discover a new seasoning it is at the grocery store and in a container that contains an ounce or two and costs $3-$5. While it is cool to discover a new blend after I find out I like it I am all about getting it in bulk!
Spices will last a long time, so if you buy a year’s worth of a blend, it is not that big a deal. A 1 lb bag of spice takes up very little space.
Frontier Co-Op Seasonings is my typical go to for buying spice blends by the pound but I have found that other name brand blends like Mrs. Dash and Chef Paul Prudhomme are available in very economical bulk sizes so I don’t have a ton of tiny containers to throw in the trash or run out all the time either!
A bag of this lasts forever, and it has that classic pizza flavor everyone loves. I use it in soups and bread sometimes. You can use this as a zestier version of Italian seasoning for pasta dishes. You can add it to unspiced ground meats, and it gives a flavor similar to sweet Italian sausage. The mylar bags are nice and perfect for throwing back if you just want to put one in a tote or bucket for long-term preps.
This classic blend is great in soups, stews, on roasted poultry, bread, and more. I will say that a bag does seem to last forever so you may want to split it up. A 1 lb bag has lasted me for several years, and I still have quite a bit of it. The flavor is still there too.
Those that cook a lot of Italian dishes will want to have this blend on hand.
Good chili powder goes a long way. Chili powder contains other ingredients beyond just chilis. Cumin should be on the list of ingredients of any chili powder you buy for example. Don’t fall for the blends that have salt as the second ingredient. You also pay a lot for a small container so if you have a lot of rice and beans put back you best have some chili powder to go with it. A pound of the good stuff is inexpensive and will enliven a lot of meals.
This is a really common brand, but it is hard to beat for a general spice. You can buy very large containers of it. I got 3.5 lbs of Mrs. Dash for $30. That is not bad at all for a spice blend. Anything less than $10 is an excellent deal.
You can also get other varieties of Mrs. Dash, but I am not sure about finding it in the very large restaurant style containers at a reasonable cost. The original blend is definitely the easiest and least expensive to find.
(Note: this is not totally salt-free but has so little in it that those that are sodium restricted diets can use it. My Dad does all the time. A serving has a whopping 1% of your recommended salt for the day.)
This stuff is fabulous for cooking. It adds flavor to soups and stews without overloading the tastebuds with extra salt. It is excellent for when other broth is not available, and you need something like that for a recipe. I could make a very good turkey dressing with this stuff for example. The price goes up and down for it, but it is a real lifesaver in the pantry out in the woods!
The ingredients are corn syrup solids, tomato, dehydrated onion, dehydrated garlic, autolyzed yeast extract, carrot, basil, celery seed, kelp, parsley, spinach, turmeric, and bay. When I first ordered this and saw that corn syrup solids were the first ingredient I had my concerns but after using it I was impressed enough to start putting back some extra. Note that it is corn syrup, not high fructose corn syrup. There is a difference.
Try out the small container before getting the bulk if you are unsure or if you are simply new to cooking
A lot of the spice blends I recommend are flavors that are pretty widely used. They also come in quite large containers. If you are unsure, you can probably buy a small container and try it out. I know that some people are just learning the ins and outs of cooking a lot of meals at home so it may take awhile to figure out what spices you like the most. After you figure it out, you can come back to this post for reference and stock up on what you like.
I think every prepper spice stash should have this classic blend for cooking. From vegetables to red meats, this is a blend that works and makes a good flavor base for soups and gravies. I use the Chef Paul brand pretty exclusively since I discovered it online. It is not overpowering like some garlic and onion products. There is a time of year here where good fresh garlic is challenging to find at the grocery store so this can help out when you need just a bit of garlic flavor in a dish.
A little of this goes a long way, but it is good for doing Asian style food and soups. You can get a very classic and delicious flavor. I sometimes just buy this in a small container because of how little is needed to season a dish but you can get it for a bargain if you get a 1lb which is years worth of cooking.
If you have been cooking Oriental foods for years and have wondered what is missing, it may be this seasoning. It adds a lot more complexity to dishes that tend to be largely flavored with soy sauce and teriyaki.
Make your blends
You can get a lot of great organic spices and herbs online. Why not blend your mixes. You can use a measuring device can keep track of how you mix it up so you can duplicate the recipe if you really like it. You can start out using just tsp of this or that. You may stumble upon something that is ideal for your tastes.
There is some truth to the statement that nutritional yeast has a cheesy flavor. You can use it to mimic cheese in salads and popcorn for sure. I even add it to soups sometimes. It has a lot of nutritional value, so it is a very valuable addition to seasonings within the prepper pantry. Most of the seasonings in this post cannot boast much regarding nutritional value. Botanical value is hard to measure when just using as a seasoning.
I really like the KAL Nutritional Yeast. The flavor is fantastic and it comes in a large container similar to what you are used to getting oatmeal in. A single container lasts a very long time in our household even though we use it regularly. I usually transfer it to a shaker for easy dispensing but the container is large enough that it will refill my shaker many times so the big container has to be stored.
International Cuisine Seasonings
There is a whole world of seasonings out there. While I have covered some basics, if you like to cook a particular style of food often, then consider what bulk seasoning blends are required or if you are better off buying the individual herbs and spices and blending it yourself.
Adding salt just becomes part of the routine, and you have an enormous amount of control over your salt intake.
Matt and I have cooked largely from scratch for many years now, and we are in the habit of always adding some salt. There are times in the summer it becomes apparent that we need a little more. If you get away from a processed food diet, it is amazing how salt factors in sometimes when you are doing a lot of work in the sun.
Using oxygen and moisture absorber packets will help herbs and spices stay fresh. For long-term storage, use a moisture absorber and oxygen absorber and vacuum seal in a mylar bag. You can use small bags for this of course. A few ounces of many spices go a long way, and there is no reason to leave big containers open for a long time. Storing herbs and spices in reasonably sized containers is smarter than the giant 1 lb bags unless you are feeding a very large group of people.
The shelf life of spices varies based on the storage conditions. Keeping spices in jars with moisture absorbers is ideal even if it is a package that you are actively using. Some spices are more delicate than others. I have to say I have never had a spice go bad from anything except moisture and even in the case of moisture, a lot of spices still last a long time. Any signs of mold or off flavors indicates you need to toss out spices.
Here are some brands of salt-free spices that I have found to be great quality. I could not include all of the varieties I like in this post. I encourage you to explore all the offerings.
- Frontier. This company sells both organic and conventional herbs, spices, and blends.
- Chef Prudhommes.
Please make sure to check the ingredients list for anything you or those in your household may be sensitive to. While the brands above have always worked out well for me, I cannot say that I have looked at every blend they make and or even approve of all the ingredients in every single blend or spice they manufacture.
Don’t forget that you need some salt while stocking up on salt-free spices
During an emergency, if you have a lot of low salt foods, you may need to make sure you get enough salt. During regular times a lot of people struggle with their sodium intake because processed foods are so full of extra salt. During a SHTF scenario, you may need the salt shaker.
Put back 10 lbs of salt or more depending on your storage space. 50 lbs will go a long way and is a nice cushion. Remember that salt has a lot of uses. You may need salt to preserve or cure meats for example. Pickling requires some salt too.
If you want cheap salt you can get 50 lb bags of water softener salt at Lowes and use that for cooking, canning, and more. We have used it for making brines to cure meat too. It just takes a few minutes to dissolve in hot or boiling water.
It is coarse so if you want table salt you will have to grind it up or just have some fine ground salt for sprinkling as needed.
What is your favorite salt-free seasonings? Is there a company out there that I missed that all of us should know about?
Samantha Biggers can be reached at [email protected].
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