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.
Spice Hunter products are date-coded by stamping or printing the date of manufacture on each unit. There are several date code formulas based on the type of product.
Jars, Holiday Tins, & Extracts (includes Fresh At Hand, Grill Shakers, and square jars):
YY JJJ P
Cup & Bowl Products:
# YY JJJ P
The date codes are deciphered using the symbols below:
|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)|
|#||Cupline machine number|
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 stored in optimum conditions your spices may remain usable for several years, however see the list below for our general recommendations by product group.
|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|
|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|
|Organic Dip and Seasoning Mixes||24 months|
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.
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:
- Store spices in airtight containers away from heat, moisture and direct sunlight; that means away from the stove and dishwasher.
- Test your spices periodically. For ground spices, shake the jar, let it settle and give a sniff. If theres essentially no scent, it should be tossed out.
- If you choose to store herbs and spices in the freezer or refrigerator, return them promptly after use to avoid condensation.
- Never shake herbs or spices out of the bottle directly into something youre cooking thats the quickest way to steam and spoil your spices.
- 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.
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?
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.
Café Sole has been repackaged under our product line called The Grill Shakers - same great recipes, exciting new look!
Garden Harvest has been repackaged under our product line called Fresh At Hand.
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
- Meat Products
- Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP)
- White Sugar/Organic Milled Cane Sugar
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|
|Fresh Twist Grinders|
|Salt Free Organic Grinders|
|Fresh at Hand™|
|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|
|5988||Minestrone Soup Bowl|
|5981||R.S. Chipotle Black Bean Soup Cup|
|5982||R.S. Curry Lentil Soup Cup|
|5983||R.S. Split Pea Soup Cup|
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.
The Spice Hunter does not irradiate any ingredients.
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|
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 Description||Item No.||Item Description|
|5930||Chicken Noodle Soup Bowl||5985||R.S. Miso Udon Soup Cup|
|5934||Spicy Thai Soup Bowl||5986||R.S. Spicy Thai Soup Cup|
|5963||Miso Udon Soup Bowl||5988||Minestrone Soup Bowl|
|5964||Hot & Sour Soup Bowl||5989||Spring Onion Soup Bowl|
|5984||R.S. Chicken Noodle Soup Cup||2183||Grill Shakers Ribs|
|5965||Beef Barley Vegetable 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|
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.
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!
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.
- 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!
1 T fresh chopped herbs = 1 t dried herb leaves, or 1/4 T ground dried herbs.
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
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
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.
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.