Frequently Asked Questions
The following are questions that are frequently asked by our customers. If you have any questions that you don’t see below, contact us and we will be happy to help answer your questions.
- How do I read the date codes?
Several The Spice Hunter items, such as our Organic Dips, Organic Grinders, and Global Fusion Rubs, are stamped with a “Best By” date.
Other The Spice Hunter products, such as our Grill Shakers, are stamped with a date code that states the date each item was manufactured.
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.
- 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!
- Are all The Spice Hunter products all-natural?
The Spice Hunter is a manufacturer of all-natural gourmet spices and shelf stable foods. Our position regarding acceptable and unacceptable “natural” ingredients is as follows:
The 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
- Meat Products
- Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP)
- White Sugar/Organic Milled Cane Sugar
- 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 5931 Chipotle Black Bean Soup Bowl 5932 Curry Lentil Soup Bowl 5938 Split Pea Soup Bowl 5987 Green Chile & White Bean Soup Bowl
- 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.Look for the QAI and USDA logos on the label.
- Are The Spice Hunter spices irradiated?
Our products, and the ingredients they contain, are never irradiated.
- Which The 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.
Item No. Item Description Allergen Statement 1810 Pine Nuts N/A (single ingredient, contains pine nuts). 1957 Thai Seasoning Contains shrimp extract. 2183 Grill Shakers Ribs Contains soy, wheat.
Item No. Item Description Allergen Statement 5930 Chicken Noodle Contains wheat, milk, eggs. May contain soy. 5931 Chipotle Black Bean Manufactured in a facility that uses milk, soy, wheat, eggs, pine nuts, tree nuts, fish and shellfish. (certified gluten-free) 5932 Curry Lentil Manufactured in a facility that uses milk, soy, wheat, eggs, tree nuts, fish and shellfish. (certified gluten-free) 5933 Chicken Vegetable Contains milk. Manufactured in a facility that uses soy, wheat, eggs, tree nuts, fish and shellfish. (certified gluten-free) 5934 Spicy Thai Contains soy, wheat, fish. May contain milk. 5938 Split Pea Manufactured in a facility that uses milk, soy, wheat, eggs, tree nuts, fish and shellfish. (certified gluten-free) 5963 Miso Udon Contains soy, wheat, fish. May contain milk. 5964 Hot & Sour Contains wheat, soy. May contain milk. 5965 Beef Barley Vegetable Contains milk. May contain soy, wheat. 5987 Green Chile & White Bean Manufactured in a facility that uses milk, soy, wheat, eggs, tree nuts, fish and shellfish. (certified gluten-free) 5988 Minestrone Contains wheat. May contain soy, milk. 5989 Spring Onion Contains soy, wheat. May contain milk.
Reduced Sodium Soup Cups
Item No. Item Description Allergen Statement 5981 R.S. Chipotle Black Bean 5982 R.S. Curry Lentil 5983 R.S. Split Pea 5984 R.S. Chicken Noodle Contains wheat, milk, eggs. May contain soy. 5985 R.S. Miso Udon Contains soy, wheat. May contain milk. 5986
R.S. Spicy Thai
Contains soy, wheat, fish. May contain milk
- Which The 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.
The Spice Hunter Products Which Contain Gluten
Item No. Item Description 5930 Chicken Noodle Soup Bowl
Spice Hunter Products Which Are Certified Gluten-Free
Item No. Item Description Item No. Item Description 5931 Chipotle Black Bean Soup Bowl 5981 R.S. Chipotle Black Bean Soup Cup 5932 Curry Lentil Soup Bowl 5982 R.S. Curry Lentil Soup Cup 5933 Chicken Vegetable Soup Bowl 5983 R.S. Split Pea Soup Cup 5938 Split Pea Soup Bowl 5987 Green Chile & White Bean Soup Bowl 5330 Spicy Chili Organic Seasoning Mix 5335 Dill Organic Dip Mix 5331 Fajita Organic Seasoning Mix 5336 French Onion Organic Dip Mix 5332 White Bean & Chicken Chili Organic Seasoning Mix 5337 Green Onion Organic Dip Mix 5333 Mild Taco Organic Seasoning Mix 5338 Guacamole Organic Dip Mix 5334 Spicy Taco Organic Seasoning Mix 5339 Ranch 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, andC. 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 ™ 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.
- I cannot find Spring Onion, Miso Udon, Hot & Sour, Spicy Thai, Chicken Vegetable, Minestrone, or Beef Barley soup cups and bowls on the website. Have these items been discontinued?
Yes. Unfortunately, key ingredients in these items are no longer available to The Spice Hunter. Try one of our other five all natural soup bowls for a delicious meal on-the-go: Chicken Noodle, Curry Lentil, Split Pea, Green Chile & White Bean, and Chipotle Black Bean.
- Where is Fresh at Hand?
Fresh at Hand was a beloved line for a handful of our loyal consumers. Unfortunately, demand for Fresh at Hand was not large enough for us to maintain our high standards for product quality, so we have discontinued the Fresh at Hand line as of 9/16/16.
- I've placed an order, when will my order be shipped?
The Spice Hunter’s goal is to ship your order from our California facility within two business days of receiving your order (for orders received before 5PM PT). For example, if we receive your order on Monday, we will ship it out by end of business on Wednesday. Please refer to our delivery terms for additional details once your items have shipped.
- 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:
- Granulated Garlic
- Granulated Onion
- Ground Cinnamon
- Ground Ginger
- 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)
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.
Didn’t find the answers you were looking for? Contact us and we will be happy to answer any of your questions.