Fabulous Spices At Fantastic Prices
I just can't keep this place to myself, especially since we are in the midst of Cooking & Baking Season. In my never ending search for top quality ingredients that don't cost a fortune, I happened upon a tiny ad for AmeriHerb. This was a couple of years ago, and I have been happily ordering from them ever since. AmeriHerb is a small company in Iowa whose mission is "to provide the best value in botanicals and spices for quality, price and service to ensure long term success of our customers." From their no-nonsense price list (printed on newsprint and published just once a year) to their simple packaging, there is nothing fancy about AmeriHerb. That is just fine by me. It's why they can offer such great prices on the over 500 items they keep in stock.
AmeriHerb touts itself as a wholesale company, but anyone can order from them. "There are no minimums, one pound is all it takes. No service charge or membership fee." Free shipping is offered on orders over $200. For orders under $200, you are charged only the UPS standard ground rate. Orders usually ship out withing 24 hours. Sounding pretty good, isn't it? But wait, it gets even better.
The quality of their all natural products is outstanding. Nothing "has been sprayed, treated, or irradiated. There are no fillers in any of our products." Their facility is Certified through the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship. They offer many items that are organically grown. And everything comes with a satisfaction guarantee.
So what do they sell? Everything from Allspice (Jamaican, whole or ground, $4.50lb & $4.70lb) to Yucca Root powder ($7.90lb)--and pretty much anything you can think of inbetween. Beeswax ($8.90lb) or Carrot Powder ($5.60lb), anyone? All herbs and spices are sold by the pound. What? You don't need an entire pound of Cream of Tartar ($5.20) or Curry Powder ($3.30)? Well, at these prices, you can afford to throw two-thirds of what you buy away, and it would still be a good deal. But of course there is no reason to do that. Why not get together with a few friends and place an order? You could make an evening of it. Think of it as an herbal Tupperware party.
Ding! Ding! Ding! Is that the Holiday Gift Idea Bell ringing? Why yes, because what foodie friend or relation wouldn't be thrilled to usher in the New Year with a fresh set of spices? That's right. I just saved you hours at the mall (not to mention a ton of money)--and gave you another excuse for a party as well. When your order arrives, you can invite everyone back over for a few hours of divvying up the loot and putting together personalized spice sets for everyone from your mother-in-law to your kid's teacher. Look for interesting little containers and jars at places like World Market, Chinatown, or even the dollar store.
So what all do I order from them? Everything from Caraway Seeds ($2.50lb) to Lecithin Granules ($5.90lb). Here are a couple of recipes I've posted recently, along with the AmeriHerb products I used to make them (and a few comparison retail prices I spotted last week). All prices are per pound:
Spicy Pumpkin Pecan Raisin Muffins:
Organic Cinnamon ($4.60, vs. $11.99 retail)
Whole Nutmeg (which lasts for years; $7.80 vs. $21.00 retail)
Ground Cloves (freshly ground cloves are amazing, but I now have an electric spice grinder that forever smells of cloves so I buy it pre-ground; $7.30, $8.50 for organic)
Hearty Lentil Soup With Smoked Sausage:
Whole Cumin Seed (there is nothing like freshly ground cumin, $3.20)
Hungarian Paprika ($3.70, $6.00 organic)
Tellicherry Black Peppercorns ($5.90)
White Peppercorns ($6.80)
One of my favorite things to order are Onion Flakes. They can be used in everything from sauces to salad dressing. I make a sort of thick paste with olive oil, dijon mustard, rosemary, thyme, salt, pepper, and lots of onion flakes and rub it on chicken, lamb chops, and leg of lamb before cooking. Yum. For some unknown reason, Onion Flakes cost up to $16.99 a pound in stores, but AmeriHerb sells them for just $3.10 a pound. (I know. I'm starting to sound like an infomercial or something, but I can't help it. I love this place.)
If you're into taking herbal supplements, you'll be pleased to know that AmeriHerb also offers about 40 different bulk herb capsules (wildcrafted) in packages of 300, including Black Cohosh Root ($7.90), Echinacea Angustifolia Root ($14.40), Saw Palmetto Berries ($9.80), and Valerian Root ($8.00), plus empty capsules and Quik Fillers if you'd like to fill your own.
And I've saved the very best thing for last: Certified Organic Dark Cocoa Powder (unsweetened) for $3.50 a pound. (Update: Please click here to read A Cocoa Correction.) This stuff is ambrosial. Use a Tablespoon or two to make the best chocolate banana smoothie or protein shake you've ever had. Add 1/3 cup to your favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe, then sit back and wait for the cries of delight (that is if you can bear to share them). My tried and true chocolate biscotti went from excellent to off-the-chart when I started making it with this dark cocoa powder.
So what are you waiting for? Call AmeriHerb at 1-800-267-6141 to request a price list. If you only need a few things, you could probably order right over the phone without waiting for the price list to arrive in the mail. (And if you ask nicely, they'll even make sure your Cocoa Powder is packed on the other side of the box from the Granulated Garlic: $3.10lb, $6.80 for organic). Happy cooking and baking.