Pricey Vs. Cheap Spices

Herbs and spices add variety and flavor to foods. But the small jars can cost plenty-in some cases the equivalent of more than one hundred dollars a pound.

Consumer Reports ran tests to see if buying less expensive seasonings sacrifices flavor.

Tester Amy Keating sized up two frequently used spices-oregano and cinnamon. The spices tested ranged from a low of $0.50 to more than $7.00.

"We wanted to see if our trained testers could taste any big differences between an expensive spice and a less expensive one." said Keating.

The taste testers tried the dried oregano in various recipes, including tomato sauce, and on top of break with melted mozzarella.

The cinnamon was mixed into applesauce and also baked in sugar cookies.

"The testers couldn't really taste a difference with the cinnamon sugar cookies, but in the other recipes with the pricier oregano and cinnamon, there was just slightly more flavor intensity." said Keating.

However, all of the oreganos tasted like, well, oregano. And all the cinnamons tasted just like cinnamon.

So you don't need to spend more unless the spice is the main attraction.

"One thing that can make a difference with some herbs and spices is if they are old." said Keating.

To keep your herbs and spices tasting their best, Consumer Reports says there are a number of things you should do.

Be sure to store them in airtight containers.

Keep them out of sunlight and away from moisture and heat.

And check the expiration date, or if there isn't one, mark the container with the date you open it.

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