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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

The following are questions we are frequently asked. If you have a question that you don't see below, contact us and we would be happy to help.

Product Questions:

How do I read the date codes?

All Spice Hunter products are date-coded by stamping or printing the date of manufacture on each unit.

YY JJJ C

The date codes are deciphered using the symbols below:

Symbol Meaning
YY Year (the last two digits of the year this product was manufactured)
JJJ Julian Date (3 digits representing a day of the year, e.g. 001 = Jan 1, 365 = Dec. 31)
C Plant code

For example, the date code of a Spice Hunter jar manufactured on January 1, 2006 would read:

06 001 C

Helpful Hint: You can estimate the month your jar was manufactured by dividing the Julian date by the number "28". The resulting number will correspond to the month of the year. For example, the Julian date 208 corresponds to July 27. 208 divided by 28 is about 7, or the 7th month of the year, July.

When will my spices expire?

When stored in optimum conditions your spices may remain usable for several years, however see the list below for our general recommendations by product group.

Spice Duration
Vanilla Extract Indefinite
Lemon & Almond Extracts 72 Months
Fresh At Hand, Grill Shakers 36 Months
Winter Sippers Tins/Packets/Gable Tops 36 Months
Soup Cups & Bowls 12 Months
Grinders 36 Months
Turkey Brine 36 months
Whole Spices (includes savory Peppercorn Blend) 48 Months
Whole Spices Exceptions: Poppy Seeds, Sesame Seeds, Vanilla Beans, Saffron Whole, Whole Nutmeg, Pine Nuts 24 Months
Sea Salt Blends 36 months
Ground/Granulated Spices 24 months
Herbs/ Capsicums/Salt Free Blends 24 months
Minced/Chopped/Crushed 36 months
Organic Dip and Seasoning Mixes 24 months
What is the best way to store my spices?

The life of your spices can best be preserved by storing them in ideal conditions. These include dark, dry, and cool locations with limited exposure to sunlight, moisture, and heat. You may have noticed how pale your dried herbs on the countertop become after just a few months - sunlight will degrade the color and flavor of your spices! Avoid shaking spices out of the jar directly over a steaming pot - moisture and heat can encourage the growth of bacteria and mold! Other common, but inadvisable locations for storing spices include over the coffee pot, sink, or other heat and/or steam producing kitchen appliances. Temperature fluctuations can cause condensation, and eventually mold, so if you choose to store your herbs and spices in the freezer or refrigerator, return them promptly after use.

How can I track the freshness of my spices?

Spices rarely go bad, although they may lose their flavor and potency. The shelf life of spices varies depending on the particular spice and the climate: the warmer the climate, the shorter the shelf life. Generally speaking, the larger and more whole a spice or an herb is, the slower it loses flavor.

Proper storage methods help maintain peak flavor and aroma.

The experts at The Spice Hunter offer you the following tips to maximize the life of your herbs and spices:

  1. Store spices in airtight containers away from heat, moisture and direct sunlight; that means away from the stove and dishwasher.
  2. Test your spices periodically. For ground spices, shake the jar, let it settle and give a sniff. If there’s essentially no scent, it should be tossed out.
  3. If you choose to store herbs and spices in the freezer or refrigerator, return them promptly after use to avoid condensation.
  4. Never shake herbs or spices out of the bottle directly into something you’re cooking — that’s the quickest way to steam and spoil your spices.
  5. Catalog spices with the date you bought them, and tape the list to the inside door of the cabinet. This provides quick reference when making a grocery list and also helps to know when to cull aging spices.
Date Opened Packaging

Our newly designed consumer friendly packaging goes a step further to help track the freshness of your spices and herbs while you catalog them! The back panel of the label has a “date opened” panel for you to reference the date that you opened the bottle of your spice. Use a ball point tip pen to write down the date. Simple, right?

Why are my spices clumping?

Clumping may occur due to excessive moisture being introduced into your spice jar. Over time, the spices can become clumped together into a hardened clump which can be broken apart and used.

Where can I find your Café Sole spice blends?

Café Sole has been repackaged under our product line called The Grill Shakers - same great recipes, exciting new look!

Where can I find your Garden Harvest Freeze-dried Herbs?

Garden Harvest has been repackaged under our product line called Fresh At Hand.

Are all Spice Hunter products all natural?

The Spice Hunter is a manufacturer of all natural gourmet spices and dried foods. Our position regarding acceptable and unacceptable “natural” ingredients is as follows:

Spice Hunter products do not contain:

  • Artificial, FD&C Colors
  • Artificial Flavors
  • Artificial Sweeteners
  • Chemical Preservatives
  • Monosodium glutamate (MSG)
  • Hydrolyzed Vegetable Proteins
  • Hydrogenated Oils
  • Irradiated Ingredients

Occasionally, the Spice Hunter uses natural flavors in products and lists them as “natural flavor” in ingredient statements. These flavors comply with the FDA definition for natural flavors, which states they must be derived from the specific food the flavor represents. Natural flavors included in Spice Hunter products meet our natural product integrity standards.

Spice Hunter Products may contain:

  • Autolyzed Yeast Extract
  • Maltodextrin
  • Meat Products
  • Salt
  • Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP)
  • White Sugar/Organic Milled Cane Sugar
  • Gluten
Are The Spice Hunter's spices and products kosher?

All of The Spice Hunter's products (categories listed below) are certified kosher with the following exceptions: Salt-Free Thai Seasoning Blend (contains shrimp) and some of our Quick & All Natural Soups (see details below). Kosher items are certified by the Orthodox Union (OU).

Kosher Product Categories
Spices & Herbs
Salt Free Blends (except Thai Seasoning: contains shrimp).
100% Organic Spices & Herbs
100% Organic Salt Free Blends
Sea Salt Blends
Grill Shakers®
Fresh Twist Grinders
Salt Free Organic Grinders
Fresh at Hand™
Extracts
Winter Sippers®
Turkey Brine
Organic Dip & Seasoning Mixes

Some of our Quick & All Natural Soup Bowls and Reduced Sodium Soup Cups are certified kosher as well. Below is a list of our certified kosher soup bowls and cups:

Item No.Item Description
5931Chipotle Black Bean Soup Bowl
5932Curry Lentil Soup Bowl
5938Split Pea Soup Bowl
5987Green Chile & White Bean Soup Bowl
5988Minestrone Soup Bowl
 
5981R.S. Chipotle Black Bean Soup Cup
5982R.S. Curry Lentil Soup Cup
5983R.S. Split Pea Soup Cup

What does "organic" mean?

The Spice Hunter's organic products are USDA Certified Organic by Quality Assurance International (QAI). Among the many reasons to choose organic (including the positive impacts on the ecosystem - improving water, soil, and air quality - and helping to build local farming economies), certified organic products are guaranteed free of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers and are never grown from Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs).

The Spice Hunter carries over forty certified organic products including spices, herbs, salt free blends, salt free grinders, dip mixes and seasoning mixes.

Organic Symbols

Look for the QAI and USDA logos on the label.

Are Spice Hunter spices irradiated?

The Spice Hunter does not irradiate any ingredients.

Which Spice Hunter products contain allergens?

The Spice Hunter has an Allergen Control Program in place aimed at controlling the 8 major food allergens designated by the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act of 2004* created by the Food & Drug Administration. The 8 major food allergens, which account for 90% of food allergies, are: soy, wheat, milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts and peanuts. The Spice Hunter uses all but peanuts in our manufacturing facility. Our jar products do not contain any of the major food allergens with the exception of Thai Seasoning (#1957), Pine Nuts (#1810) and Grill Shakers Ribs (#2183). Please see below for details and a complete list of allergen statements. Each individual product description on our Products pages also lists any allergens, if applicable.
*http://www.fda.gov/Food/LabelingNutrition/FoodAllergensLabeling/GuidanceComplianceRegulatoryInformation/ucm106187.htm

Jars

Item No.Item DescriptionAllergen Statement
1810Pine NutsN/A (single ingredient, contains pine nuts).
1957Thai SeasoningContains shrimp extract.
2183Grill Shakers RibsContains soy, wheat.

Soup Bowls

Item No.Item DescriptionAllergen Statement
5930Chicken Noodle Contains wheat, milk, eggs. May contain soy.
5931Chipotle Black Bean Manufactured in a facility that uses milk, soy, wheat, eggs, pine nuts, tree nuts, fish and shellfish. (certified gluten-free)
5932Curry Lentil Manufactured in a facility that uses milk, soy, wheat, eggs, tree nuts, fish and shellfish. (certified gluten-free)
5933Chicken Vegetable Contains milk. Manufactured in a facility that uses soy, wheat, eggs, tree nuts, fish and shellfish. (certified gluten-free)
5934Spicy Thai Contains soy, wheat, fish. May contain milk.
5938Split PeaManufactured in a facility that uses milk, soy, wheat, eggs, tree nuts, fish and shellfish. (certified gluten-free)
5963Miso UdonContains soy, wheat, fish. May contain milk.
5964Hot & Sour Contains wheat, soy. May contain milk.
5965Beef Barley Vegetable Contains milk. May contain soy, wheat.
5987Green Chile & White Bean Manufactured in a facility that uses milk, soy, wheat, eggs, tree nuts, fish and shellfish. (certified gluten-free)
5988MinestroneContains wheat. May contain soy, milk.
5989Spring Onion Contains soy, wheat. May contain milk.

Reduced Sodium Soup Cups

Item No.Item DescriptionAllergen Statement
5981R.S. Chipotle Black Bean Manufactured in a facility that uses milk, soy, wheat, eggs, tree nuts, fish and shellfish. (certified gluten-free)
5982R.S. Curry LentilManufactured in a facility that uses milk, soy, wheat, eggs, tree nuts, fish and shellfish. (certified gluten-free)
5983R.S. Split Pea Manufactured in a facility that uses milk, soy, wheat, eggs, tree nuts, fish and shellfish. (certified gluten-free)
5984R.S. Chicken Noodle Contains wheat, milk, eggs. May contain soy.
5985R.S. Miso Udon Contains soy, wheat. May contain milk.
5986
R.S. Spicy Thai
Contains soy, wheat, fish. May contain milk

Which Spice Hunter products contain gluten?

Our spices and spice blends do not contain gluten with the exception of Grill Shakers Rib Seasoning (#2183). Our Organic Dip & Seasoning Mixes are certified gluten-free by the Gluten Intolerance Group; some of our Quick & All Natural Soup products do contain gluten, while others are certified gluten-free. See below for details.

Spice Hunter Products Which Contain Gluten

Item No.Item DescriptionItem No.Item Description
5930Chicken Noodle Soup Bowl5985R.S. Miso Udon Soup Cup
5934Spicy Thai Soup Bowl5986R.S. Spicy Thai Soup Cup
5963Miso Udon Soup Bowl5988Minestrone Soup Bowl
5964Hot & Sour Soup Bowl5989Spring Onion Soup Bowl
5984R.S. Chicken Noodle Soup Cup2183Grill Shakers Ribs
5965Beef Barley Vegetable Soup Bowl  

Spice Hunter Products Which Are Certified Gluten-Free

Item No.Item DescriptionItem No.Item Description
5931Chipotle Black Bean Soup Bowl5981R.S. Chipotle Black Bean Soup Cup
5932Curry Lentil Soup Bowl5982R.S. Curry Lentil Soup Cup
5933Chicken Vegetable Soup Bowl5983R.S. Split Pea Soup Cup
5938Split Pea Soup Bowl5987Green Chile & White Bean Soup Bowl
5330Spicy Chili Organic Seasoning Mix5335Dill Organic Dip Mix
5331Fajita Organic Seasoning Mix5336French Onion Organic Dip Mix
5332White Bean & Chicken Chili Organic Seasoning Mix 5337Green Onion Organic Dip Mix
5333Mild Taco Organic Seasoning Mix5338Guacamole Organic Dip Mix
5334Spicy Taco Organic Seasoning Mix5339Ranch Organic Dip Mix

Is Cassia the same as Cinnamon?

There are at least 4 species of the Cinnamomum genus which are used for cinnamon: Cinnamomum cassia, C. burmanii, C. loureirii, and C. zeylanicum. C. cassia, C. burmanii, and C. loureirii are all considered "cassia" types of cinnamon. Cassia cinnamon is reddish brown in color with a strong characteristic aroma and flavor. Quite different from cassia type cinnamon is C. zeylanicum, the Sri Lankan or Ceylon cinnamon often referred to as "true" cinnamon. Not widely available in the U.S., this cinnamon is tan in color, with flavor and aroma so much milder than that of cassia that the average person in this country would consider it a weak or poor cinnamon. In labeling, any bark from the Cinnamomum genus (whether cassia or Ceylon-type) may be called "cinnamon." The higher the oil content, the more intensive the aroma and flavor. Thus it is that the cassia types of cinnamon, which average higher in oil content than the Ceylon types, are rated superior by the cinnamon-loving American market.

What is Saigon Cinnamon?

Saigon Cinnamon (Cinnamomum loureirii) has traditionally been considered the finest quality cinnamon due to the fact that its volatile oil content runs higher than that of other types. Saigon cinnamon is reddish brown and has a distinctly sweet flavor. The Spice Hunter's Highland Harvested Saigon (tm) Cinnamon is sourced from the highlands of Vietnam, with a minimum of 5% volatile oil - which accounts for its intense aroma and wonderful taste!

What are the origins of The Spice Hunter spices and herbs ?

When a Spice Hunter product has an origin on the front of the label, that item will always come from the stated origin. Otherwise, origins are subject to change with market conditions and availability of ingredients that meet our stringent standards for high quality.

Usage Questions:

Are there general usage tips for spices?
  • Use a light hand when seasoning with herbs and spices. Your goal is to compliment your dish without crowding out the flavor of the food.
  • To release the flavor of dried herbs and spices, crumble them in your palm, or grind with a mortar and pestle, before adding them to your dish.
  • Lightly toasting whole spices in a dry skillet over medium heat before grinding will bring out even more flavor.
  • For long-cooking dishes, add whole spices during cooking to permeate the food, and add ground or cut herbs and spices an hour or less before serving. Finely crush dried herbs before adding to your dish…after measuring!
  • Black pepper, granulated garlic, salt and cayenne pepper are excellent "after cooking" seasonings.
  • Don't be afraid to experiment!
How do I measure fresh vs. dried herbs in a recipe?

1 T fresh chopped herbs = 1 t dried herb leaves, or 1/4 T ground dried herbs.

What are the "essential" spices & blends?

Twelve "Must Have" Spices:

  • Basil
  • Oregano
  • Thyme
  • Rosemary
  • Granulated Garlic
  • Granulated Onion
  • Ground Cinnamon
  • Ground Ginger
  • Cayenne
  • Ground Cumin
  • Ground Coriander
  • Chile Pepper
  • Tellicherry Peppercorns

Twelve "Must Have" Spice Blends:

  • Italian Seasoning
  • Herbes de Provence
  • Garlic Pepper
  • Lemon Pepper
  • Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • Curry Seasoning
  • Poultry Seasoning
  • Seafood Grill & Broil
  • Steak & Chop Grill & Broil
  • Mexican Seasoning
  • Garlic Herb Bread Seasoning
  • Fines Herbes
Can I make my own blends?

Yes! Combine the following spices and herbs in proportions to suite your tastes:

Fresh Italian Herb Blend
basil, rosemary, marjoram, thyme, sage, and oregano
Dry Moroccan Curry Blend
curry seasoning, basil, mace, fennel, and mint leaves (grind with mortar and pestle).
Cajun Creole Blend
cayenne, thyme, garlic, allspice, sweet paprika, and granulated onion
How do I brew mulling spices?

Combine apple juice or apple cider and mulling spices, simmer 20 minutes, remove spice and serve hot in mugs or cold with ice.

Can also be made with red wine: Add 1/3 cup sugar if simmering with wine.

*If using loose mulling spices, place in tea infuser, tie in cheesecloth, or add loose to liquid and strain before serving)

Measurements:

To 1 quart of apple juice or apple cider, add 2 Tablespoons loose mulling spices OR 1 mulling spice bouquet ball.

To 1 gallon of apple juice of apple cider, add 8 Tablespoons loose mulling spices OR 4 mulling spice bouquet balls.

What steps and measures toward sustainability has The Spice Hunter taken in order to maintain its business with minimal long-term effect on the environment?

The Spice Hunter is committed to responsible business practices and exploring ways we can make our business more sustainable, including

  • corrugated and white paper products wherever possible;
  • recycling plastic wrap wherever possible to minimize the amount of waste sent to landfills;
  • actively conserving energy by shutting off computers and other appliances when not in use, and turning off lights when rooms are not occupied;
  • reducing the use of plastic in containers wherever possible and looking towards using fewer petroleum-based raw materials while maintaining the integrity of the products we make;
  • reducing our carbon footprint by using shipping and receiving options that incorporate full loads whenever possible to limit the use of fuel per load;
  • regularly evaluating sanitation procedures to implement proper cleaning practices to minimize chemical residues sent to municipal water systems;
  • constantly looking at examples of green practices as a model for our business to make less of an impact on the environment.