Seasoning Blends and Herb Mixes You Can Make at Home
Dried herb mixes are a simple way to add great flavor to food without extra calories or additives. But many packaged seasonings can contain preservatives, anti-caking agents or additional sodium. So why not make your own homemade seasoning mixes? Making herb mixes at home gives you ultimate control over the ingredients to make them healthier-and you can customize the flavors to your liking. If you grow your own herbs, this is a great way to use up your garden bounty.
Related: Healthy Spice Mix Recipes
You might be surprised by how much you enjoy making dried herb mixes, and knowing they're homemade almost makes them taste better too! Enjoy it as an activity with your friends or family, and then use the herb mixes in creative ways in the weeks to come. Or add a pretty tag and give as a homemade gift.
How to Make Homemade Seasonings
To make your own homemade dried herb mixes, you'll need an assortment of herbs and spices, as well as some jars for storage. Pricing of herbs and spices can vary greatly. The most cost-effective way to buy herbs and spices is to purchase them in bulk, either at a grocery store with a bulk aisle or online. You can use any leftover herbs and spices to augment your spice drawer, since they can each be used individually in recipes.
If you grow fresh herbs in a garden, you also can preserve the fresh herbs by drying them. Store them in a dark, dry place until you're ready to use them in your dried herb mixes.
Follow the recipes below to make your own Herbes de Provence, Italian Seasoning and Taco Seasoning at home. The recipes do not contain salt, which allows you to add salt to taste when you add the herb mixes to food.
Storing Homemade Seasonings
Use glass or plastic containers with tight seals to store your dried herb mixes. Mason jars are an economical choice, or traditional glass-cylinder spice jars work. If you're making the herb mixes as a gift, you could even use more stylish small glass containers.
All seasonings gradually lose flavor over time. For best shelf life, keep them in a dark, dry place like a pantry or drawer. The herb mixes have peak flavor for about 6 months.
3 Herb Blends to Try:
In a medium bowl, stir together all ingredients until well combined. Place in a small jar and store in a dark, dry location for up to 6 months. Makes 1/2 cup.
Herbes de Provence is a spice blend from the Provence region of southeast France. The lavender adds a floral flair. If dried savory, marjoram and tarragon are not available at a mainstream grocery, check at a specialty spice store or online. (Or grow your own!)
2 tablespoons dried savory
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 tablespoon dried marjoram
1 tablespoon dried rosemary
1 tablespoon dried tarragon
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 1/2 teaspoons dried lavender buds
Italian seasoning is a mixture of classic Italian herbs-but it's not just for Italian food! It works just as well sprinkled into scrambled eggs as it does over pasta.
2 tablespoons dried oregano
2 tablespoons dried basil
2 tablespoons dried thyme (not ground)
1 tablespoon crushed dried sage
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
Homemade taco seasoning is a breeze to whip up. It brings a zesty flavor to any sort of Mexican-style dish, including fajitas, tacos and quesadillas. Or, swirl it into sour cream for a flavorful garnish.
2 tablespoons chili powder or cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
How to Use Homemade Seasonings
There are so many ways to use homemade dried herb mixes. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Make a yogurt dip. For a delicious dip for veggies or chips, combine 1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt with 1/2 tablespoon taco seasoning or Italian seasoning and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt.
Sprinkle in olive oil as a dipping sauce. A loaf of crusty bread just begs for an olive oil dip! Pour olive oil onto a plate and sprinkle with Italian seasoning or herbes de Provence and a bit of kosher salt or sea salt, to taste.
Add flavor to a vinaigrette. Add 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning or herbes de Provence to this All-Purpose Vinaigrette to take it up a notch.
Use as a dry rub for meat. Rub taco seasoning, Italian seasoning or herbes de Provence onto chicken, steak or smoked sausage before grilling.
Spice up your everyday cooking. Add a bit of taco seasoning to black beans or lentils as a tasty taco filling, sprinkle Italian seasoning onto pasta with olive oil and grated Parmesan, or sprinkle herbes de Provence into a hearty soup.
Sprinkle over popcorn. Movie night is even more fun with spiced-up popcorn: add a bit of taco seasoning or Italian seasoning with popcorn salt after drizzling with butter or olive oil.
Give them as gifts. The most heartfelt gifts are homemade and dried herb mixes are a thoughtful gift for any occasion-for Mother's Day or Father's Day or Christmas, or as a housewarming present.