The Spice Boss

Owner Tom Erd, aka Spice Boss

Owner Tom Erd, aka Spice Boss

Spice House owner Tom Erd has a secret identity – he’s The Spice Boss! Watch his videos on the Spice Boss YouTube channel.

The Spice Boss is your expert source of information on spices, from their history and sources to how to use spices for tasty grilled chicken.

If you have any topics you’d like to see the Spice Boss address in a video, or other spicy questions, you can email him at Current videos include:

Chilies 101

Pepper 101

All About Cinnamon

Hottest Chilies

All About Salt

Kosher Salt

Blending with The Spice Boss

Grilling with The Spice Boss

13 thoughts on “The Spice Boss

  1. I order a spice from you called Saigon or Saigon in 20ll but I don’t know what it was, can you telle me?

  2. I have a recepi that calls for fresh basil. can I use the dried sweet basil and how much should I use/

  3. I received a gift box of Chicago Ethnic Neighborhoods (box 2) in June. I store it in the original box in my pantry. Tonight I went to use one & it was hardening. I did put it in a bowl & broke it up but what I’m asking is should I put rice in the container?? This was the only one opened (my favorite) but the others are the same.
    Thank you!

  4. I am British, permanent resident here, and know language of English is different, what is the difference between 5 spice and Anise powder please, my super market sold me Anise powder and I tasted the anis and the original 5 spice I got from tradeWinds, and they both taste identical is my supermarket wrong in labeling their spice packet as Anise Powder?

  5. Hi Bea – You’d use 1/3 as much of the dried basil as fresh. So if your recipe calls for 3 tbsp of fresh basil, use 1 tbsp of dried.

  6. Hi Judy – Because we don’t use any anti-caking agents or other fillers, our spices are prone to clumping. As you’ve found, breaking up the clumps is pretty easy. Some people find that adding rice helps spices stay powdery, just make sure you’re not shaking the rice grains into your food!

  7. Hi George – The general shelf life of ground spices is about 1 year; whole spices are fine for 3-5 years or more. Spices don’t go bad, they just lose flavor over time. When you open a spice bottle that’s a little older, check to see if it still smells good. If you get a nice fragrance, there will also be flavor; if there’s no smell, there won’t be any taste either.

  8. Hi Candy – Anise, specifically Star Anise, is one of the main ingredients in a Five Spice blend. Since it’s a very strong flavor and aroma, it may be masking the other ingredients in your blend. There should also be other spices with the anise, usually ginger and cinnamon along with several others that vary depending on who makes the blend. If all you taste is anise even when you cook with it, I suspect your Five Spice blend isn’t very well made.

  9. White pepper is the inner part of the black pepper berry, the outer shell has been rubbed off. This can be done in different ways throughout the world. The most popular way is to soak the black pepper in water for awhile until the shell softens, then you rub it off. In cooking white pepper can sometimes seem a bit hotter. It is basically used in the same manner you would use black pepper. In some dishes chefs do not like the appearance of black pepper, and the white pepper blends in better.

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