Herbie’s Quarterly Newsletter

June 14, 2024 posted in Herbie's Kitchen Monthly Update

Welcome to Herbie’s Quarterly Newsletter from the Spicery!

We love our home-made pizza …. doesn’t everyone?  We usually mix up a paste using tomato powder and several of our other Herbie’s products in the pantry, and it’s so good that we think it should be available for everyone.  So, we’re happy to announce our new Pizza Sauce Mix.  Just mix half a pack with about 1/3 cup of water, and there’s your tomato base for two medium-sized pizzas.  No more squeezed-out tubes of tomato paste in the fridge, going black around the lid!  It’s had the tick of approval from our staff and our grandchildren, so you know it’s a winner.

There’s nothing better than serving a hot, crusty garlic bread on the table with dinner.  You can make your own now in a flash, with our new Garlic Bread Spice Mix.  Garlic bread is as popular today as it was fifty years ago – the good things just continue to be good!  Without having to peel and crush your own garlic, you can combine the Garlic Bread mix with softened butter in a matter of seconds.  The mix is mostly natural garlic granules (of course), but subtly enhanced with such unexpected ingredients as sumac, porcini, pepper, lemon myrtle, salt and ginger.  The result is as good as you would expect from a Herbie’s product, and can also be used to make quick garlic prawns.

In the twenty-seven years that we have been writing this Newsletter, we have recommended many times the value of reading the ingredient listings on your packaged food.  Always bear in mind that, by law, ingredients must be listed in order, from the ingredient of the greatest weight down to the ingredient of the least weight.  So, for example, if you have a can of beans, you really hope that the beans are the first ingredient, ahead of water and salt.
A spice blend in our local supermarket, Australian Native Lemon Myrtle Spice Rub, caught Herbie’s eye and he simply had to buy it. We’re appalled at the ingredient listing, and we’ll share it with you: rice flour, salt, sugar, onion, herbs (includes native lemon myrtle
1%, native anise myrtle <1%), garlic, acidity regulator (citric acid), spices (2%), vinegar powder, hydrolysed vegetable protein (HVP), natural flavours, vegetable oil.  Remember, this is in descending order by weight. We haven’t been able to bring ourselves to open the pack!
Not only does this call into question the regard (or lack thereof) that the manufacturer has for its customers, but it brings a disappointing sameness to all the “Spice Rubs” which rely on flavourless padding, salt and HVP.  In a way, we at Herbie’s should see this as an opportunity to bring more people to our natural and tasty way of doing things, but it simply makes us sad that the precious and ancient world of herbs and spices has been so cruelly de-valued.
Salt has been around for longer than recorded history, and could be said to be the first flavour-enhancer ever used.  Rock salt is found in large halite deposits formed as a result of the evaporation of ancient seas, and is mined from huge underground galleries.  Sea salt is gathered from shallow pools that are drained of water, leaving the salty flakes to dry before being piled by bulldozers.  Salt has always been used as a preservative because it draws the moisture out of other foods, and bacteria (like all of us) need water to survive.
Although food regulations require food products to have a Best Before or Use By date if shorter than two years, we like to give you a Best Before date on all our products. But it seems a bit ridiculous to say something that’s been around for so long, and will still be good long after we’re dead, should have a Best Before date!  Salt can become liquid in high humidity, but once allowed to dry, it returns to a crystalline form.  When unadulterated salt is perfectly dry, the microbes that cause food to rot can’t grow.

Flavoured salts, such as our Chilli Lime Salt, Herb and Celery Salt, and Seasoned Salt, will still show a Best Before date, as there are other ingredients involved.  Even iodised salt, or salt with free-flow agents, will deteriorate in time as it is no longer pure salt.  At Herbie’s, our Best Before date that shows on the label is also our batch code for tracking, so it’s important to print that date when any product is labelled.  You’ll notice (if such small print interests you), that our salt labels now say Packed On rather than Best Before.

In February we made a trip to north Queensland, where we called in on our suppliers of Australian black peppercorns, now a second-generation business (pictured below).  We are proud to have had an unbroken relationship with this family farm since we first opened the doors of Herbie’s Spices in 1997.  Click here to see a video of Herbie chatting with Donna about Australian-grown pepper.

Stay well, and Spice Well,

 

HERBIE & LIZ

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