Many people – including Texans – go for artisan seasoning blends rather than seasoning blends made by major food brands because of different reasons. One reason is the quality of the ingredients. Consumers associate artisan seasoning blends with fresher ingredients compared to those made by big brands. Another reason is to support local businesses. Makers of artisan seasoning blends use locally-sourced ingredients, helping the business of local community farmers and growers survive and thrive. Lastly, there’s always that unique or outstanding quality that differentiates mass-produced store products from artisanal products.
Artisan Seasoning Blend Trivia
- Hallee Bridgeman, in the book Iron Skillet Man the Stark Truth about Pepper and Pots: A Cookbook and a Parody, wrote: “If you have a mortar and pestle you can prepare this seasoning in a very artisan fashion.” Bridgeman was referring to making a Cajun-Creole seasoning at home.
- Yiu H. Hui and J. D. Culbertson, in the book Handbook of Food Science, Technology, and Engineering, wrote about the shelf life of seasoning blends. It also applies to artisan seasoning blends, which do not have the same longevity as commercially-produced seasoning blends built and designed to last for a long time. They wrote: “The shelf-life of a spice, herb or seasoning blend will depend upon many variables that are typically characteristic of either the raw materials or the packaging, the different characteristics of the spice or herb, or possibly the different types of ingredient(s) used singly or in blended form.”
- Kenneth T. Farrell, in the book Spices, Condiments and Seasonings, gave an insight on the ratio of herbs and spices when making poultry seasoning blend, which can be used as guide by those planning to make artisan seasoning blends. Farrell wrote: “A good starting formula will contain 72-78% sage, 18-22% thyme, and 4.5-5.5% black pepper.”
- Thinking of making an artisanal seasoning blend perfect for barbecue? You can use Gloria Hander Lyons’s recipe for Barbecue Seasoning Blend in the book Quick Gifts From The Kitchen: No Cooking Required. The ingredients include 3 tablespoons each of onion powder and garlic powder, 2 tablespoons each of dried parsley flakes, celery salt, and dry mustard, and 1 tablespoon of black pepper.
Artisan Seasoning Blend Buying Guide
Buying tips on buying artisan seasoning blends are similar to what you need to know when buying any canned or bottled product. Always inspect the item. Look for a “best before” date and make sure the product isn’t expired yet. Check the safety seal and make sure this is intact. Check the lid, the safety seal, and the bottle or jar for any sign of damage or tampering.
If you are buying a new brand or from a new artisan whose product you haven’t tried or used before, you can buy a small jar or bottle first. Buy just enough to last you until the next grocery day. The risk is having to wait if the product is sold out, since artisan seasoning blends are usually made in small batches.
If you are trying a new brand of artisan seasoning blends, take into consideration that this may taste different compared to what you’ve had in the past.
A tricky part in buying artisan seasoning blends, just like any artisan products, is knowing if something is really artisan or not. Sometimes, makers of seasoning blends add “artisan” to the product to attract more customers, to appear more appealing, or even to justify the product’s price tag.
Identifying which bottle or jar of seasoning blends on the shelf is artisan and which one is not is challenging and time-consuming as well. What we can do as consumers is to be diligent in doing our research. There is information available on the internet that can help us identify which ones are artisan and which ones are not. Look them up online. Read about how they make their products. Read people’s comments and reviews. Read about the company’s background. Ask around. If you like artisan seasoning blends, you’ll find like-minded individuals on farmers markets or even online. There maybe some of them who have more information regarding genuine artisan seasoning blends sold in your area.
Artisan Seasoning Blend Production & Farming in Texas
There are many local Texas businesses that produce artisan seasoning blends. They use ingredients that are produced and available in Texas, and their love for well-seasoned food is what fuels their passion and creativity, resulting in excellent products used at home and in businesses like restaurants and catering.
You can find artisan seasoning blends in small, local businesses that make and sell different kinds of foods (including homemade food), like Cross Country Food & Spices in Midland, which sells sauces and homemade pickles just like Tempe’s Temptations in Cuero, an artisan food vendor that sells homemade pickles as well as dried herbs and spices, cookies, and cupcakes. TeGarden Farms in San Antonio and Lone Star Taste in Port Aransas makes both make jams, jellies, and artisan seasoning blends.
Artisan food producer 10 Miles South Oil Company and Texas Flame and Smoke, both located in Bryan, make artisan seasoning blends, so does Cookenbock in Lexington, and Chef Milton Gourmet in Richardson.
Farmers’ markets and stores
It is common to find makers of artisan seasoning blends and their products at pop-up selling events, farmers markets, and specialty stores, like Round Rock Farmers Market by Farmer George at Round Rock, Lakeside Urban Grocery in Flower Mound, Trinity Haymarket in Dallas, Braeswood Farmers Market in Houston, Downtown Brenham First Fridays Farmer & Artisan Market in Brenham, Bay Area Farmers Market in Friendswood, Huebner Oaks Farmers Market in San Antonio, and Garden Ridge Market Days in San Antonio also.
Farms and ranches
You can also try asking at farms and ranches. C & J Farms, a farm and ranch in Corsicana, sells artisan seasoning blends.
You can also find artisanal seasoning blends as part of the products sourced locally by Texas companies acting as conduit between local sources and local consumers, like Farmhouse Delivery in Austin, The Local Farmer in Mansfield, and Farmers Market Partners in Missouri City. Two Hippies and a Hoe, an artisan food Producer in Elgin, also sells artisan seasoning blends.
Meat shops and butcher shops
Meat and seasonings are two inseparable components of many great foods here in Texas, and it is no surprise that if you are looking for artisan seasoning blends, a great place to go to are meat houses and butcher shops, like Dai Due in Austin, Alamo Market and Lockers in Comfort, Schott’s Meat Market in Helotes, The Butcher Shop in Harlingen, and City Meat Market in Giddings.
Spice and seasoning companies
There are businesses that specializes in making spice blends and seasonings, like Avocado Crack, AXEL Provisions Company, Lottabit Spices, and The Spice Hippies (all in Houston). Other similar shops and stores include Casa M Spice Company in Lewisville, Jess Hall’s Serendipity in Fort Worth, Porras’ Spices de Vida in Odessa, Ty’s Gourmet Spice Seasonings in Sugar Land, and Tuscan Texans in Missouri City.
Pesticides, Additives, and Chemicals
An online article pointed out that seasoning blends mass-produced in factories are oftentimes suspect when it comes to the question of using additives. The article explained that additives are used in seasonal blends as extenders. Some additives that could have been used include flour, corn starch, even saw dust. The article also pointed out that dye can also be used to alter the appearance of the seasoning blend.
This is why one of the selling points of artisan products like artisan seasoning blends is being all-natural. However, there is no guarantee that 100% of all the artisan seasoning blends sold in the market today are free of additives and chemical ingredients.
The rise of the artisanal movement is a global phenomenon, but it is more pronounced in regions where people are inclined to buy locally-produced products and can afford artisanal products, which are often more expensive compared to commercially-produced products.
With regards to artisanal seasoning blends, it is common especially in places where herbs and spices are cheaper and accessible. America, Europe, Asia, and Africa all have its own distinct herbs and spices profile from which artisans build on.
Artisan seasoning blends are sold in a glass bottle, polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles, jars, tubs, glass and plastic containers, pouches, single-use packets, or bigger plastic packaging ideal for selling artisan seasoning blends in bulk.
Enjoying Artisan Seasoning Blends
The goal of using artisan seasoning blends is to make eating enjoyable by improving and enhancing the taste of the food you eat. When cooking or eating, do not overuse artisanal seasoning blends. It is common to find salt in artisanal seasoning blends and too much salt in your food is not healthy.
Artisan seasoning blends should be kept in a sealed and air-tight container, stored in a cool and dry area away from humid and hot zones like stoves, grills, and ovens to prolong their shelf life. Keep the container covered at all times when not in use to avoid contamination and to keep debris and other contaminants from mixing with the artisan seasoning blend.
You can use artisan seasoning blends to season ingredients before cooking. It is also used as a finishing seasoning, as well as to put flavor on sauces and salad dressings in place of plain salt.
Artisan seasoning blends are used for different kinds of meats – pork, beef, lamb, chicken, etc. It is also used on fish and poultry. Artisan seasoning blends can also improve the taste of vegetable dishes. In some cases, this can also be used to flavor fresh fruits and cocktail drinks.
Artisan seasoning blends – or any seasoning for that matter – is used for flavor primarily, not as a source of vitamins and minerals. But it is a bonus if it presents nutritional benefits, based on the ingredients found on the artisanal seasoning blends.
- Basil – Basil can help cure or alleviate spasms, colds, worm infection, infections, liver problem, cardiovascular problem, inflammation and swelling, even help prevent skin aging and cancer.
- Cayenne powder – Cayenne pepper contains vitamins A, B6, C, and K. It helps in improving digestion and keeping the heart healthy. If you are having problems with achy or stuffy head, try eating food with cayenne powder. This also helps people who are trying to lose weight and maintain a healthy weight.
- Celery seeds – Celery seeds have calcium, iron, and manganese and they can help in bone health and blood sugar regulation.
- Chili powder – Made from chili peppers, this spice helps in killing cancer cells, improving blood cholesterol and metabolism, and boosting immune system. It also helps in weight loss. It contains vitamin A and vitamin C, and it is full of beta-carotene.
- Cumin – Cumin promotes digestion, helps manage diabetes, improves blood cholesterol, promotes weight loss and fat reduction, and helps manage inflammation. Cumin is rich in iron.
- Dill – Dill provides calcium, dietary fiber, vitamin A, B-complex vitamins, vitamin C, iron, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, and zinc. 100 grams of dry dill leaves have water (7g), protein (20g), fat (4g), carbohydrates (44g), fiber (12g), and ascorbic acid (60 mg). The energy value is approximately 1060 kJ/100 g, while 100 grams of dry dill fruits contain water (8g), protein (16g), fat (14g), carbohydrates (34g), and fiber. The energy value is 1275 kJ/100 g. Dill is antiseptic. It is also used to alleviate stomach problems and swollen joints. Dill is useful for those suffering from insomnia, diarrhea, or menstrual disorder. It is also used for dysentery. Eating dill is good for your bone health. It also helps fight cancer.
- Garlic (garlic powder) – Research primarily supports garlic’s potential antibacterial benefits, as well as its ability to help control cholesterol-causing lipids in the blood. Garlic also has antioxidants, which may help prevent free radicals that contribute to chronic illnesses, such as heart disease and cancer. Some of the most promising research on garlic’s health benefits pertains to cholesterol and high blood pressure. But the research on these effects is limited. The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health describes conflicting studies on the effects of garlic supplements on cholesterol. In some small studies, garlic supplements were shown to lower blood cholesterol within three months. In other studies, though, garlic had no effects on cholesterol whatsoever.
- Ground pepper – Ground peppers are high in antioxidants and possess anti-inflammatory properties. The qualities of ground pepper makes it good for our brain, gut, blood sugar, and cholesterol. It has cancer-fighting properties and helps in the absorption of nutrients. It can also help in pain relief.
- Onion (onion powder) – Onions have vitamin B9 and B6, vitamin C, and potassium, not to mention antibacterial properties. Onions help in heart and stomach health as well as in fighting cancer and controlling blood sugar. Another benefit from onions is improved bone density.
- Oregano – Oregano has phytonutrients (thymol and carvacrol) that helps the body fight infections such as staph (Staphylococcus). Oregano is high in antioxidants, which help the body in preventing cell damage. Oregano is a good source of fiber, vitamin K, manganese, iron, vitamin E, tryptophan, and calcium. Oregano protects the immune system, detoxifies the body, improves digestion, and strengthens the bones. It improves heart and respiratory health and increases energy levels. It keeps the body from succumbing to diabetes and aids oral health by protecting the mouth from gum disease and tooth decay.
- Paprika – Paprika can help reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease. It can also improve immunity, alleviate gas, help in pain relief, and help people manage their weight. Paprika has folate, vitamin A, choline, niacin, vitamin B-6, vitamin E, and vitamin K.
- Parsley or coriander – This is a good source of dietary fiber, protein, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol), vitamin K, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, folate, pantothenic acid, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, potassium, thiamine, carotene, and zinc. This helps treat indigestion, nausea, and dysentery. It is used to stimulate the appetite. It helps in lowering blood sugar, boosting the immune system, promoting health and brain health, and fighting infections. This is also useful for menstrual disorders and smallpox.
- Rosemary – Rosemary is a low-calorie, low-fat food, which is an excellent source of vitamin A (beta-carotene), B-6, and C, as well as calcium, folate, magnesium, potassium, manganese, and iron. The antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds found in rosemary help the body improve its immune system and blood circulation. Rosemary also helps in improving our memory, alertness, focus; our appetite; and our skin. Consuming rosemary benefits those who are struggling with digestive and intestinal problems.
- Sage – Eating sage allows the body to absorb vitamins and minerals like vitamin K, iron, vitamin B6, calcium, and manganese. Sage also contains magnesium, zinc, copper, and vitamins A, C, and E. Sage also has caffeic acid (anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and antiviral), chlorogenic acid (regulate blood pressure and weight loss), rosmarinic acid (helps in treating headaches and stomach problems), ellagic acid (removes toxins from the body), and rutin (strengthens the blood vessels). Sage is good for improving memory and brain health. It helps lower bad LDL cholesterol and keeps certain types of cancer at bay. The benefits of sage also extend to other physical concerns like managing menopause, alleviating diarrhea, and improving bone health and skin condition.
- Salt – Salt deficiency can cause reduced hydration, muscle cramps, higher risk of heart attack, headaches, weakness, cognitive decline in elderly, and irritability. Salt helps keep the body hydrated, promotes vascular health, balances electrolytes and prevents muscle cramping, helps improve sleep, and supports a healthy nervous system.
- Tarragon – Tarragon is an excellent source of iodine, mineral salts, and vitamins A, C, as well as B-complex vitamins such as folates, pyridoxine, niacin, riboflavin, etc. Tarragon is also a source of phytonutrients that help keep the body stay healthy, while the poly-phenolic compounds in tarragon are considered by many as having the potential to help lower blood-sugar levels. Among herbs, tarragon is one of those with the highest antioxidant value. Tarragon boasts of having a high level of calcium, manganese, iron, magnesium, copper, potassium, and zinc content. Eating tarragon can help improve appetite as well as alleviate certain digestion-related problems. Tarragon helps protect the brain and heart from serious illnesses like heart attack and stroke. Individuals with insomnia may finally find restful sleep after eating tarragon or drinking tarragon tea.
- Thyme – Thyme contains vitamins A, B, C, E, and K. It also has beta-carotene and folic acid. It helps lower blood pressure, alleviate cough, boost immunity, and improve mood. Thyme can help with headaches and insomnia.