Organic Vs Inorganic Herbs And Spices - Does It Really Matter?
There is so much talk in the health community about buying organic foods, but something that often goes overlooked is the importance of buying organic herbs and spices. Naturally, we would think that replacing our spice cabinet with organic options is no big deal, however, today's post will clear up exactly why it is just as important as any other item in our pantry.
Herbs and spices are a category of grocery items that we buy very rarely, so it's no wonder why they are out of sight out of mind because they are not often on our grocery list. When we do use herbs and spices in our cooking or baking, we typically use them in moderation, so they end up lasting for years - and we keep them around even beyond their shelf life. We don't think about herbs and spices often unless a recipe calls for something we don't have on hand. Another scenario that leads to us purchasing new herbs and spices is when we run out of an item completely, and in rare cases when something has clearly gone rancid.
On top of that, once you do need to replace something, you find that organic herbs and spices are a little more expensive, which can deter you from making that split second decision between the better option. Typically, you will reach for the inorganic option thinking that you are stretching your money and that it doesn't make a huge difference anyway because you don't use much of it.
Considering all of the factors that may be at play in your purchasing decision, I am going to now get into the more pressing concerns that you should consider and that are far more important in deciding whether or not to purchase organic spices, herbs, and seasonings.
What is the purpose of herbs & spices?
Spices can be thought of as a garnish or a way to add flavor and aroma to cooking and baking. However, did you know that herbs and spices also have incredible medicinal and health benefits and have been used throughout history for that very purpose? They are also used as ingredients in powerful natural remedies for those who prefer or look to alternative methods of treating health conditions.
The problem with conventional, inorganic herbs and spices
Conventional herbs and spices are not going to have the concentrated medicinal and health benefits that you would expect, rather they will contain high concentrations of toxic chemical additives, GMOs, synthetic anti-caking agents such as sodium aluminsilicate, sodium ferrocyanide, calcium silicate or silicon dioxide, pesticides, and more composition-disrupting additives.
Conventional herbs and spices are also grown using fumigation and irradiation practices, which changes the chemical composition of an herb or spice by exposing it to ethylene oxide and radiation to kill off bacteria and other contaminants. This process creates carcinogenic by-products that can increase your exposure to free radical damage.
More reasons to buy organic herbs and spices
As mentioned previously, conventional, inorganic herbs and spices are loaded with chemicals by the time they hit your plate, which is more than a reason to stay away from them and switch to organic options. Since conventional farming practices rely on chemical intervention, you expose yourself to a host of issues because you simply do not know the long-term effects of ingesting these chemicals over a lifetime. Over time, you may not think that herbs and spices can make a difference to your health, but considering that you are using these ingredients in your cooking on a daily basis and from different inorganic sources, you are better off removing them completely.
Organic products may cost a bit more than conventional products, but it is worth the investment in your long-term health. Since they do last awhile, you won't have to worry about replacing them at every grocery trip. As a general rule, whole spices will stay fresh for about 4 years, ground spices for about 2 to 3 years and dried herbs for 1 to 3 years. source
What to look for when buying herbs & spices
Not all organic herbs and spices are created equal. Here are things to look out for to ensure you are getting the highest quality products.
Always buy organic, No anti-caking agents, and No Irradiation
Buying organic will ensure that the companies you choose are certified with the USDA National Organic Program when producing their products. This means that they are committed to sustainable farming and production processes and responsible action toward their customers’ health and our planet's future. Organic herbs and spices are not irradiated, are not grown with pesticides, genetically engineered ingredients (GMOs), and do not contain synthetic caking agents and chemical additives. You can rest assured that they are held to the highest standards from seed to plate.
Have I replaced all of my herbs and spices?
When I left Oklahoma back in October 2017, thankfully that gave me a reason to throw out all of my herbs, spices, and seasonings. I was that type of person that had a mix of inorganic and organic products. I was slowly replacing my collection, so what I would do is purchase an organic product one at a time when I would run out of something. Honestly, I think that doing so is better than nothing, so if you are wanting to make the switch, purchase them as you go and soon you will have a whole collection of organic herbs and spices that you can be proud of.
My herb, spice, and seasoning collection since moving to California is still growing, but I have been very good at purchasing only organic products. However, I still have a long way to go because I have only currently purchased items that I use more frequently.
spicely - featured organic herb, spice, and seasoning blend company
An organic herb, spice, and seasoning blend company that I recently discovered is Spicely Organics, and I appreciate how they have such a large selection of products. It can be difficult to find all the herbs and spices that I want in the grocery store (even online) and in various sizes, so I like how Spicely Organics provides so many options to choose from, from small ecoBox sizes (0.4 oz) to bulk options. The ecoBoxes are great for ensuring that you are using your spices up before they expire.
All of their products are free from anti-caking agents and they do not sell any products or use any ingredients that have been sterilized by irradiation or ethylene oxide. They are also very mindful of their packaging by using glass, tin, and ecoBoxes and avoiding use of plastics. Their spices and seasonings also do not contain any salt or sugar, which is great because what you see is what you get without any fillers.
They are also very passionate about where they source their ingredients. In a nutshell, they require that their suppliers avoid forced and child labor, discrimination, unsafe work environments, substandard wages and other unethical practices. Read more about their highest standards of quality and environmental sustainability.
If you are a business and are looking to source organic bulk herbs and spices, they also sell wholesale organic dried herbs as well as wholesale spices. Since they are a direct importer of organic spices and herbs, you can be assured that you are getting wholesale herbs and wholesale spices straight from the source.
Overall, they are a rad natural herb and spice company in my opinion! I recently shared on Instagram how I used their cream of tartar as a natural migraine remedy. It was great knowing that the cream of tartar I was using was organic because it can be difficult to find organic cream of tartar, and heck, I wouldn’t want to be adding more chemicals to my body if my goal was to get rid of a migraine. If you’re interested in that natural migraine remedy, you can read that here. It really works, y’all!
I hope that this article provided more than enough evidence that now is the time to switch to organic herbs, spices, and seasoning blends. Not only will you be getting quality products, but you will experience higher quality flavors, aromas, and the purest form of the ingredients that you are using in your meals. Small steps do really add up to larger rewards toward our health, lifestyle, and overall wellness.