When compared to all the other food and gear recommended for a well-rounded preparedness stockpile, spices seem like an addition for the bottom of that list.
Spice is nice, sure. But will bland food matter that much when your survival is on the line? Food is food, after all.
Before shrugging off the importance of storing spices for preparedness, remember this: surviving is one thing, thriving is another. Spices fill food with rich and robust flavors, which doesn’t just enhance emergency meals; it lifts spirits when times are tough, too.
Take a look at our list of top spices for preparedness, learn what makes them vital, and explore how else they can offer value in an emergency.
What Makes Spices Essential for Emergencies?
Spices should not be seen as a luxury item. When putting together your preparedness pantry, make space to store at least some spices.
Here are the benefits of doing so:
- Spices help you maintain a mealtime routine as close to “normal” as possible. It can be a brutal transition to go from seasoned, marinated chicken to bland chicken!
- Spices keep food boredom at bay. Growing tired of repeated dishes is a common occurrence during disasters. With an alternate arrangement of spices, you can liven up a meal and give it an all-new flavor.
- If you’re accounting for kids and other picky eaters in your emergency plan, you’ll want a wide range of spice options to choose from. Spices are an excellent tool for covering up or transforming taste!
- When emergency meals are out of reach, a disaster situation might force you find food in other ways. If you have no choice but to hunt, gather, or forage for something to eat, spices will help make that sustenance more palatable.
- Spices aren’t only for food. Many spices can be used to treat illnesses and other ailments. Anyone who practices preparedness knows that choosing versatile items is a must!
- In a serious survival event, spices can become useful products for barter or trade. Swap a less-used spice with someone for another item you need instead.
Top Spices for Preparedness
With countless spice varieties to consider, it can be a challenge to narrow down the most essential additions.
Of course, the best choices are going to be the spices you like and use the most often. But if you need a place to start—especially if spices are not a major part of your meal preparation—here is a well-rounded foundation of spices for preparedness:
One of the greatest benefits of black pepper for preparedness enthusiasts is that there is no expiration date. Black pepper will last forever!
Black pepper makes a great base seasoning. It adds a little punch to foods of all kinds, from meat to vegetables.
Plus, black pepper has been long appreciated for its blood-clotting properties. When bandages are nowhere to be found, sprinkle some pepper on a cut to help stop the bleeding.
Though it might be a little too hot for some, chili powder is a crucial spice for flavor lovers.
Chili powder adds a much-needed kick to unseasoned meat and beans. Sprinkle chili powder on our Black Beans, Pinto Beans, or Refried Beans for a delicious side dish. The enhanced taste will distract your tastebuds from the disaster that surrounds you!
Cinnamon is an essential spice for those with a sweet tooth. Use it to top off dishes like oatmeal and pudding, or sprinkle it onto freeze-dried fruits like peaches. Yum!
Speaking of having a sweet tooth, sugar can be swapped for cinnamon. Skipping the sugar and reaching for cinnamon as a sweetener can help those with diabetes and sugar sensitivities get their sugar kick without a blood sugar spike.
Cinnamon has been known to help slow down digestive processes, as well as fight inflammation and lower cholesterol. Not too shabby for something so sweet!
As far as storage goes, opt for cinnamon sticks instead of ground cinnamon. Cinnamon sticks last twice as long in storage—up to four years—and you can grind them yourself.
Much like chili powder, cumin brings out the rich, robust flavors of meat. While you can use it to accentuate the taste of chicken, turkey, or pork, it really makes a difference on beef and lamb
Cumin may not be your first thought when it comes to seasoning vegetables, but it can actually bring out the natural sweetness in root vegetables like beets and carrots.
For women who might be expecting in an emergency, cumin is a much-needed spice for the crisis cabinet. Rich in iron and calcium, cumin can help support pregnancy.
Derived from the dill weed herb, dill is a spice made from dill seeds. That means you can grow dill and make the spice yourself, if you’ve got a green thumb!
Add dill to eggs, potatoes, and salad dishes for a unique kick of flavor. In addition to topping food with dill, this spice is an essential if you plan to keep canning in an emergency. What would your homemade pickles be without dill?
Dill has also been known to assist with respiratory healing. Pile on the dill when you can feel a cough or stuffy nose coming on and heal up a little quicker.
Whether you freeze-dry garlic cloves for long-term storage or purchase the powder in bulk, keeping garlic in stock offers loads of benefits.
Garlic has long been known to lower high blood pressure and cholesterol. Having both of these levels maintained will give you an advantage in an emergency situation!
Because of its strong scent and flavor, garlic can help fight a cold or flu. So, don’t be shy. Sprinkle some garlic on top of your bread and butter, or add it to soups and sauces.
Heard of drinking ginger ale or sucking on ginger candy to ease a stomach ache? That’s because ginger is an incredibly effective treatment for nausea.
Whether someone in your family is pregnant, sick with the stomach flu, or fighting motion sickness, administering ginger should help keep the illness away.
Mix some ginger into tea, or use it to spice up some soup. Both options will be one of the few tolerable foods for those feeling sick!
Protein is an essential addition to your emergency supply. Without protein, you will likely find yourself feeling less energized and eating more often.
While meat is one of the fastest and most efficient sources of protein, it can be a challenge to chow down without the right seasonings.
When it comes to meat, you have two options: You can either purchase special spice blends designed for meat, or you can combine your collection of spices to make your own meat seasoning.
Most meat seasonings contain a combination of black pepper, coriander, onion powder, paprika, and red pepper flakes, among others. Click here for a highly reviewed meat seasoning recipe you can make right at home!
Pastas, soups, and stews make frequent appearances on an emergency menu. This is not only because they are easy to make, but because they can be mixed with multiple food varieties to make a filling meal.
Sprinkling oregano into these dishes adds an Italian flavor the whole family will savor. To make a more complete Italian seasoning, mix oregano with basil, rosemary, sage, and thyme!
In addition to its full flavor, oregano has the power to fight infection with anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties.
Though not technically a spice, salt is an essential element for the preparedness pantry. From keeping it on the table for daily dinners to mixing it into batters and baked goods, salt is truly an indispensable item for food preparation.
Beyond its uses in the kitchen, salt can be used for cleaning, healing, and so much more.
Choose our Iodized Salt and get salt specially packaged for long-term emergencies. It lasts up to 30 years!
[Related Read: 20 Ways Salt Can Come to the Rescue in Emergencies]
One of the greatest aspects of tacos is how completely customizable they are. You can stuff them with beef, beans, fish, or even tofu!
However, it never hurts to add a dash of your favorite flavors! Most taco seasonings include some mixture of chili powder, cumin, garlic or onion powder, paprika, and others. You can mix it up yourself with recipes like this one, or you can purchase taco seasoning packets in bulk.
There is so much more to turmeric than meets the eye. And with such a gorgeous yellow hue, there is a lot to see there!
Turmeric is the ultimate healing spice for preparedness experts. It can be used topically to improve skin blemishes, or it can be ingested to fight pain, bacteria, stomach pain, liver toxins, and more. Plus, it can help boost mood, which is a cherished trait in tough times.
Mix turmeric into rice bowls, bean dishes, and soups for that much-needed lift when disaster brings you down.
Limiting essential spices to one list is no easy feat, but these are our top spices for preparedness.
What spices would you make a priority when planning your emergency meals? Tell us your go-to survivalist spice rack in a comment below!