Sunday, April 13, 2014

Hostess gift idea: homemade spice mixes

For those who like to add a personal touch to their gifts, homemade spice mixes are a practical and unfussy option. It's just a matter of measuring everyday spices and pantry staples into a cute container, like Mason jars tied with twine and handwritten labels.

I was sending this batch in the mail, so I shook up the spices after adding them to the jar. However, they can look pretty poured in layers and left as is, as shown in the left-hand side of the photo below. Try to alternate darker and lighter ingredients for visual impact.

The best mixes use freshly ground whole spices, but this is more time-consuming.

The spice mix recipes below are my own amalgams of various recipes found online, so I can't credit any one source.


Coriander spice rub
Combine 1/4 cup ground coriander, 2T paprika, 1T white sugar, 1T ground ginger, 1T coarse sea salt, 1-1/2 tsp ground cumin, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp saffron and 1/4 tsp pepper.

Ideas for use: Spread this spice mixture under the skin of a whole chicken before roasting, use it as a rub for fish or scallops served with generous wedges of citrus fruit, or mix it with Greek yogurt as a marinade for lamb. 

Pumpkin pie spice mix

Combine 2T white sugar, 1T ground cinnamon, 2 tsp ground ginger, 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg and 1/2 tsp allspice.

Ideas for use: Add 2 tsp of the mix to 1/2 cup cream before whipping. Use the whipped cream as a topping for hot chocolate, coffee or pie. Add the mix to waffle, muffin or pancake batter. Toss with beaten egg whites and nuts, then bake. Season popcorn. Mix it into coffee grinds before brewing.

Southwestern BBQ

Combine 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/3 cup hot Hungarian paprika, and 1 T each of chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne and cracked pepper. 
Ideas for use: Use it to enhance the flavour of any number of slow-cooked meat dishes. Rub it into baby back ribs or chicken wings, then coat with a maple-BBQ or honey-BBQ sauce. Add it to homemade burgers patties. Rub into into pork shoulder in a crockpot. Pour a couple of tablespoons of the mix into a pot of simmering chili.

Mexican seasoning
 Combine 6T paprika, 2T ground coriander, 2T ground cumin, 2T coarse sea salt, 1T black pepper, 1T sugar, 1T ground ginger, 1 tsp ground cinnamon, 1 tsp crumbled saffron threads and 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper.

Ideas for use: Add to any Mexican dish, such as tacos or fajitas, along with chopped cilantro and freshly-squeezed lime. Add it to baked beans. Toss it with olive oil and potatoes before baking.


  1. ohh, I really like this idea!! thanks for sharing

  2. Kat, I love the new design! The blog is looking good. This is a great gift idea, definitely something we can all use and so neatly packaged. I love it.


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