Costco introduces a
new line of spices
Pat Volchok gives
look at Costco products
and services. Send
your questions to:
Visit costco.com, click
on “Costco Connection
Magazine” and go to
“More Buying Smart”
for scads of recipes
using the new Kirkland
Signature herbs, spices
TO SAY I AM underwhelmed with the quality found in the itty-bitty jars of herbs and
spices with the extra-big price tags sitting on
grocery shelves is putting it mildly.
I am thrilled that herbs and spices add
flavor to foods without adding calories. And
I’m equally happy knowing that many are
nutritionally rich, may aid in the prevention
of cardiovascular disease and cancer, and perhaps even boost the disease-fighting antioxidant properties of other healthy foods.
My squabble lies squarely on what is
missing: flavor, aroma and value.
Gary Kotzen, Costco’s vice president of
corporate foods, agrees. This is why he created the Costco spice team of Tess Wilkins,
Teresa Noonan, Tina Rangel and Dick
Newnam three years ago. Their marching
orders: Make herbs and spices tantalizing.
And that’s just what they did.
Kirkland Signature™ whole Tellicherry
peppercorns, ground Malabar peppercorns,
ground Saigon cinnamon, two seasoning
blends (including one organic) and three
rubs just arrived. I find all of them refreshingly marvelous in flavor and aroma, and
astonishingly reasonable in price.
Wanting to find out more about these
new products from the people who put life
back into seasonings, I corner the team, give
my thanks and ask for a show-and-tell.
Tess starts with the basics by explaining
that spices are derived from the bark (
cinnamon), buds (cloves), seeds (nutmeg), berries
(peppercorns), stigmas (saffron) or fruits
(paprika) of plants. Herbs are the aromatic,
herbaceous, green parts of certain plants.
They include parsley, thyme, oregano, rosemary and more.
An herb or spice is only as good as its natural essential oils. The oils provide flavor and
aroma but must be handled carefully for the
And as we all know by now, “best results”
is what Costco is all about. That’s why the buying team sought out purveyors who could
scour the globe to find growers known for
handling herbs and spices correctly. Costco
also stipulated that all Kirkland Signature seasonings must undergo extensive quality control, including additional cleanings, numerous
inspections and approval by the U.S. Food and
“The equation comes down to more control from grower to shelf,” says Teresa. “This
translates into significant improvements, sig-