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Spice & Tea Merchants: Spices, Blends, Teas, and Gifts

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We welcome all comments, questions, and suggestions you may have on our products. Please feel free to contact us via any of the avenues below:

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Spice & Tea Merchants Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 130
Saugatuck, MI 49453

The Sea is Calling, It Says Eat More Fish

Posted 06/01/2015

Our company was founded a literal stone throw from the water and largely it is hard to find one of our stores far from the water. We made it our mission to provide spices for whatever you wanted to eat. Enter in to one of our locations and you will find a whole section devoted to seasoning fish and seafood. Be it whole fish or a few shrimp to toss on the grill or your new salt block we have you covered. 

Before we tell you what to use let’s talk about how to use it.

If you are seasoning whole fish it is important to add spices, especially aromatics like lemongrass, dill, and other herbs (and of course lemon), to the interior cavity. This step cannot be skipped and brings a lot of flavor to the fish as a whole. I typically add whatever I season the outside with to the cavity and a few slices of lemon. 

If you are preparing filets or steaks generously season the flesh, I always season the skin as well but not everyone does, but do not go overboard especially on more mild fish or all you will taste are the spices.

While you can use more whole spices on a whole fish it is better to use more course ground or fine ground spices on filets or steaks. 

It is important to know the strength of fish, the best cooking method, and recommended doneness for whatever you are cooking. Speak to your fish monger about this as they will know best. That said a few general rules about pairing spices to the type of fish is helpful.

Mild fish will do well with herbs, lemon, a small amount of heat, and good ole pepper and salt. Our Lemon Pepper, Fire and Water, and Fish Broil are some of our most versatile rubs.

Medium Fish can take more robust flavors and higher levels of spice, garlic and chili powders will work better here. Tuna Rub and Creole handle this wonderfully.

Strong fish can handle pretty much whatever you throw at it, vinegar rubs and sweet glazes will not over power your fish. Our Balsamic Fish is a good example here.

Remember that a more strongly flavored fish can easily be seasoned with practically any of our fish rubs. 

Want to make your own? Just remember aromatics (herbs and such) are your friend but becareful with oreganos and rosemary as they tend to need longer cook times and can overpower. Parsley, Thyme, Lemongrass, and Marjoram are all excellent. Lemon will always pair well with fish. Keep the spicy in the background or you may lose your fish flavor. And do not forget your salt and pepper. 

Want something truly divine? Try cooking your fish on our Himalayan Salt Blocks and you will find you have transformed your everyday fish into something extravagant.

Grilling Time, Lets Talk Steak Rubs

Posted 05/27/2015

Now that the sun has banished the snow and the spring rains are lessening it is time for our grills to come out full time. What better way to harken in summer then to find the largest slab of beef you can and sear it over some very hot coals. But now that you have the meat what ever shall we season it with? 

In our store there rages a continual debate over the correct choice for steak seasoning. 

I maintain that our Butcher's Rub is the unquestioned king. Parsley, Pepper, Garlic, Onion, and Smoked Salt, it has everything it needs without over powering the beautiful steak you just bought. Simple, delicious, and perfect. 

My partner argues that the name sake of our first store, Saugatuck Steak, is best. You will know it by its telltale Orange color. Worcestershire powder is the main ingredient and it is joined by garlic, smoked paprika, and pepper. It is complex, unique, and of course tasty. 

Whichever you prefer we recommend seasoning liberally but not overwhelming the meat, and ounce of either should be able to cover 4 reasonably sized steaks. And remember to let them steaks come up to room temperature while seasoned, this ensures the spices have time to marry and the salt can get inside. Cook hot and fast and if you must cook it more than medium rare start it in the oven a 225 degrees for 10-30 minutes first then move it to your grill. This ensures you have proper doneness without drying it out. 

Rather make your own rub? That is perfectly fine just remember three basic rules of rub assembly. 

Keep things in easy proportions so you can replicate it easily and scale it up or down. Example: 1 Tbsp of Black Pepper to 1 Tbsp of Smoked Salt to .5 Tbsp smoked Paprika, scales up to 2:2:1 easily. Do not forget to write down what you did.

Decide what flavor you want most and make sure that spice (or spices) is best represented. The caveat here is spicy things like chili powders tend to bring a lot to the party in small amounts. Additionally there are multiple ways to deliver flavors. Smoked Paprika and Smoked Salts are both excellent ways to deliver smoke but each brings other flavors to the party, in this case paprika brings pungent chili and the smoked salt of course adds salt. So remember if you have multiple sources of a flavor type to not use too much of both. Most importantly remember that salt brings out flavor but should rarely if ever be the primary ingredient in a rub.

Lastly, chose spices that meld well together and with your choice of meat. Fruit and strong sweetness does not often lend well to grilled beef for example (there are always exceptions of course). Heat is good but do not go overboard. Bitter herbs like Greek or Mexican oregano are better in long cook time applications and less so in fast grilling situations. If you do go the route of these make sure they are ground first, it helps with cooking. Five to Six ingredients are the best place to start, including salt and pepper but be sure not to spend all those choices on spices that represent one type of flavor. Savory, spicy, sweet, smoky, bitter, salty, tart: chose a couple flavors and think how to marry them. When in doubt take some inspiration from the two blends discussed above, both are simple are pack a lot of flavor.

Regardless, experiment and decide what you like best. It does not matter what we think something works best on as your taste overrides everything.


Above all, enjoy the food.

Himalayan Salt, Why the Fuss?

Posted 05/10/2015

More and more we are seeing pink colored salts popping up. What makes them different?

Ignoring any pretenders to the throne, made with dyes and chemicals, the salt you likely are seeing is Pink Himalayan Salt. This salt is mined in its namesake Mountains and comes out looking very much like stone or quartz. The pink color comes predominantly from Iron but other important trace elements are also present, such as Magnesium. This means two things, a healthier salt and a salt that can be mined much like stone.

Pink Himalayan is seeing a rise in use because it is lower in sodium than your store bought salts, this means for those on lower salt diets it is a better option. Less sodium actually means a better more robust flavor with much less used and that tends to lead to less of an effect on blood pressure and other salt effecting problems. Table salt tends to have a very processed form of salt with a great deal of additives, the most common being anti-caking agents. True Pink Himalayan has neither of these.

The stable structure of this salt means you often see it in large slabs, the best of which are used for cooking. A Himalayan Salt Plate can be heater up to very high temperatures and once hot acts just like a flat top girll. Your stove top, oven, or grill can all be used to heat this plates and once hot they hold their heats very well, allowing for all sotrts of entertaining options. They can also be chilled down and used to serve your favorite cheeses, sushi, or whatever you can imagine. Your imagination is really your only limit on what you can cook on these. Still Daunted ask us all your questions, we cook on them all the time.

Try it today and you will know why we are so excited about these little pink crystals.

Himalayan Salt

Salt Plates


What is Your Favorite Spice?

Posted 04/26/2015

When asked what my favorite spice is, I always immediately answer cumin with as much conviction as I can spare. We all get asked the question from time to time and the answers vary. My partner in GR would agree with me on the cumin, a friend of mine tells me thyme and my mother has always adored rosemary.

We rarely spice in a vacuum and spices have friends they like to be with best. Cumin is my favorite because it is one of the staples of some of my favorite cuisines; Indian, Mexican, and it has made a strong showing in American Barbeque.

Oregano and Garlic, Chili Powders and Paprika, Turmeric and Cardamom. Depending on what you pair cumin with you get a very different dish.

Then there is the choice between whole and ground. Many might ask ‘what is the difference?’ The seeds can be toasted or roasted, changing the end flavor. Ground cumin lends well to dry rubs and is very convenient. So even within the spice itself there is variation.

We keep these thoughts firmly in mind when we take up our bowls and scoops and craft our blends.

Take a gander at our Indian Curry and compare it to our Southwest Seasoning and you will see two very different end results that share one of its similarities in the spice I have went on about.

Or maybe a more hands on approach is more your style? Then try your hand at either of these two recipes.

Jeera Aloo



What is your favorite Spice?

A new store!

Posted 07/31/2014

Spice Merchants is heading even further east in our home state of Michigan. Coming this fall to Northville, Michigan our newest store will carry all the goodness and great smells excellent quality spices and teas can give. Check out some our build out photos below and imagine how gorgeous the store is going to be.

Filed under Announcements |

Fettuccine Alfredo

Posted 02/06/2014

Fettuccine Alfredo


1/2 cup Sweet Butter

2 Garlic Cloves,  Minced

2 Cups heavy cream

1/4 teaspoon White Pepper

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg

3/4 cup Mozzarella cheese

1 box of fettuccine noodles


Melt better in saucepan over medium heat

Add the garlic, cream white pepper, nutmeg and bring to simmer

Make sure to stir often

Add the parmesan and simmer for 10 minutes or until sauce is thick and smooth

When sauce has thickened add the mozzarella cheese

As the sauce cooks, boil noodles


Filed under Fettuccine Alfredo |

Cheesy Green Beans

Posted 02/05/2014

*4 cups fresh green beans
*2 tablespoons dried mushrooms
*1 cup soymilk or 1 cup cow milk
*2 tablespoons flour
*1 tablespoon butter
*1 tablespoon olive oil
*2 tablespoons crushed garlic
*1 quart vegetarian broth or 1 quart chicken broth
*2 ounces of good cheddar cheese (I used white cheddar with truffles)
*1 tablespoon black pepper

*1 teaspoon Southwest Seasoning 
*1 cup crushed cracker


1 Boil green beans in broth until tender but still crisp.

2 In a small sauce pan melt butter with olive oil and add flour Wisk into a paste.

3 Add half the milk to the paste a little at a time this is your sauce base.

4 Add dried mushrooms and garlic and half the salt and pepper.

5 Add cheese to sauce and slowly Wisk in the rest of the milk.

6 drain green beans and save broth for another use.

7 Taste sauce and add more salt and pepper to taste.

8 pour green beans into casserole dish pour sauce over and mix well.

9 top with crushed crackers and a little drizzle of olive oil.


10. Bake at 350 for about 30 min until golden and bubbling.

Filed under Side Dish |

Chicken Wing Marinades

Posted 01/31/2014

Tequila Lime Marinade

1/2 c Blanco-Tequila

1/4 c honey

1/4 c freshly squeezed lime juice

Zest from one lime

3 TBSP Olive oil

6-8 cloves garlic, Minced

1 1/2 tsp kosher salt

1/2 white onion, thinly sliced

1 small Jalapeno 

Marinade chicken wings for 2 hours before grilling or baking


Espresso Chipotle Rub

2 TBSP Espresso Power

1 TBSP packed brown suger

2 tsp ground chipotle powder

2 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp Spanish Sweet Paprika

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

Place wings & Marinade in large ziploc bag and shake. 





Strawberry cupcakes

Posted 01/30/2014

Recipe: Strawberry cupcakes


Vanilla cake mix
Instant vanilla pudding mix
Strawberry yogurt
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup water
4 lightly beaten eggs
4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup diced fresh strawberries
2 cups unsalted butter
5 ½ cups sugar
8 medium fresh strawberries in pure form

Cooking Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Line muffin tin with paper liners or spray with non-stick cooking spray.
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer beat together the cake and pudding mixes, Greek yogurt, oil, water, eggs and vanilla.
4. Beat for about two minutes on medium speed until well combined. Fold in diced strawberries
5. Using a large cookie scoop, distribute the batter between 24 muffin wells; about 3 tablespoons of batter per well.
6. Bake in preheated oven for 18-22 minutes or until the tops of the cakes spring back when lightly touched. Allow cupcakes to cool inside muffin tins for about 10 minutes.
7. The cupcakes may develop a slight divot in the center as they cool, but that will be covered with the frosting.
8. Remove cupcakes from muffin tins and allow to fully cool on a wire rack.
9. Once cupcakes are cool, prepare your frosting.

How To Make The Frosting:

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium-high speed for about 5 minutes.
2. Turn the mixer down to low speed and gradually add sugar until it is completely incorporated.
3. Add in vanilla and 3 tablespoons of the strawberry puree, mix until incorporated.
4. Turn off the mixer and check the buttercream for taste and texture.
5. Gradually add in the last 2 tablespoons of strawberry puree until you reach the desired level of strawberry flavor.

Filed under Strawberry cupcakes |

Broccoli Cheese Soup

Posted 01/29/2014

Broccoli Cheese Soup


1/4 c unsalted butter

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 small onion

3 teaspoon all purpose flour

3 cups of whole milk

1 can of chicken broth

1/2 cup heavy cream

3 heads of broccoli, finely chopped

2 cups of shredded sharp cheese

1/2 cup grated Parmesan

1 Parmesan Rind

Salt and Pepper to taste


Melt butter in a stockpot. Add Garlic and onion.  Stir until onions are translucent about 4 to 5 minutes. 

Whisk in flour until light brown.  Whisk in milk, chicken broth and heavy cream. Add Parmesan rind.   When everything is combined add in broccoli. 

Bring to a boil then reduce heat to simmer.  Cook until broccoli is tender.  Stir in cheese a handful at a time until smooth. 

Add Salt and Pepper to taste. 


This recipe has been modified from the orginial post.  For a traditional Broccoli Cheese Soup check out Cooking Classy

Filed under Broccoli Cheese Soup |

Egg Fried Rice

Posted 01/25/2014

As winter is draggin on in the North, I begin to look for something old favorties to being back to the table.  Here is a quick and easy fried rice recipe.  I make it as a side dish when we are having an Asian inspired dish (Five Spice Tilapia with Citrus Ponzu Sauce)

Egg fried rice are very easy to make as the ingredients and the method is quite simple. Before you plan to cook egg fried rice, you need to know the ingredients and the method to cook the delicious rice.

How to Cook Egg Fried Rice

Preparation Time 10-15 Minutes

Cooking Time 10-15 Minutes

Servings 1-2 Persons


The ingredients you need to make egg fried rice are enlisted below:

For Fried Rice

· Rice 2 Cups

· Oil 1 Tbsp

· Onion 1-2

· Garlic 4-5 cloves

· Carrot 1

· Pepper 1

· Beans 8-10

· Soy Sauce 3 tbsp

· White Pepper As needed

Salt According to taste

For Egg Scramble

Eggs 2

Oil 1 tbsp

Salt According to taste

Black Pepper to taste



After having all the ingredients at your kitchen, you can take the initial step towards cooking delicious egg fried rice. For this, first of all you need to chop garlic, carrots, onions, beans, and capsicum.


Take a big pot and put 2 cups of water in it for boiling. When the water starts boiling, add 1 tbsp oil, half tbsp vinegar, and Chinese salt according to your taste. Now add 2 cups of rice in the water pot and let it boil. After boiling the rice, take it out in a separate bowl.

For egg scramble, take a pan, put one tbsp oil in it and heat it. Beat 2 eggs in a separate pot and add salt and pepper according to your taste. Now pour the beaten egg in the pan and heat it until it sets a little. Now scramble the egg and it is ready.

Method to Cook Egg Fried Rice

After necessary preparation for making egg fried rice, you need to follow the simple steps mentioned below:

Take a pan and add oil in it. Add garlic in the heated oil and sauté it for few minutes. Now add onion and fry it so that it becomes translucent and loses its crunchiness. After adding onion, add and stir the finely chopped carrots, beans, and capsicum.

A high flame stirring is very important in the whole process but do not overcook the vegetables. Overcooking of vegetables can cause the vegetables lose their crunchiness.

When you are done with the vegetables, add cooked and cooled rice in the pan. Also add salt, white pepper, soya sauce, and cook it well.

Add the scrambled egg you prepared in the initial steps and toss well.

Your Egg fried rice is ready. Dish out and serve with garnishing.

Filed under Egg Fried Rice | side dish |

Super Bowl Drinks

Posted 01/23/2014

Super Bowl Drinks

Southwestern Bloody Mary - Tomato, Orange, Lime Juice & Habanero Puree

Apple Chai Martini - Rooibos Chai Vodka, apple Cider & Agave nactor

Grapefruit Crush - Grapefruit Tea, green tea liqueur & Tequlia 




Filed under Super Bowl Drinks |

Himalayan Salt Block Cooking Class

Posted 01/21/2014

Himalayan Salt Blocks are sourced from natural salt deposits found in the Himalaya Mountains. The dense salt crystals add depth and complex flavor to foods. Spice Merchants will help introduce how to cook with Salt Blocks to Amp up your Entertaining, Grilling and Seasoning.

Receive a $5 Spice Merchants Store Voucher & Take Home Grab Bag with Complimentary Product, Recipes, & Much more!

Instructor: Matt Perry of Spice Merchants
Part of our "Discover the Market" series

Register with us right now Inn the Store or Online; Seats are filling fast so register quickly!

Quick and Easy Potatoes

Posted 01/18/2014

1 lb. Ground Beef

1c minced onion

3/4 c A1 Steak Sauce

1 1/2 lbs potatoes, peeled boiled drained

1/2 c butter

1/4 c milk


Cook Beef and onions, drain and add steak sauce. Heat to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for 5 to 7 minutes.   While the beef and onions is cooking mash your potatoes with the milk.

Place the beef in a cassarole layer the potatos over the top evenly.  Bake for 350 degrees for 15 minutes. 

Filed under Potatoes |

Refrigerator Home Storage for Fresh and Processed Foods

Posted 01/16/2014

Refrigerator Home Storage (at 40 °F [4.4 ºC] or below) of Fresh or Uncooked Products

·         If product has a "use-by" date, follow that date.

·         If product has a "sell-by" date or no date, cook or freeze the product by the times on the following chart.

Refrigerator Storage of Fresh or Uncooked Products


Storage Times After Purchase


1 or 2 days

Beef, Veal, Pork and Lamb

3 to 5 days

Ground Meat and Ground Poultry

1 or 2 days

Fresh Variety Meats (Liver, Tongue, Brain, Kidneys, Heart, Chitterlings)

1 or 2 days

Cured Ham, Cook-Before-Eating

5 to 7 days

Sausage from Pork, Beef or Turkey, Uncooked

1 or 2 days


3 to 5 weeks


Refrigerator Home Storage (at 40 °F [4.4 ºC] or below) of Processed Products Sealed at Plant

·         If product has a "use-by" date, follow that date.

·         If product has a "sell-by" or no date, cook or freeze the product by the times on the following chart.

Refrigerator Storage of Processed Products Sealed at Plant

Processed Product

Unopened, After Purchase

After Opening

Cooked Poultry

3 to 4 days

3 to 4 days

Cooked Sausage

3 to 4 days

3 to 4 days

Sausage, Hard/Dry, shelf-stable

6 weeks/pantry

3 weeks

Corned Beef, uncooked, in pouch with pickling juices

5 to 7 days

3 to 4 days


2 weeks

7 days

Hot dogs

2 weeks

1 week

Luncheon meat

2 weeks

3 to 5 days

Ham, fully cooked

7 days

slices, 3 days; whole, 7 days

Ham, canned, labeled "keep refrigerated"

9 months

3 to 4 days

Ham, canned, shelf stable

2 years/pantry

3 to 5 days

Canned Meat and Poultry, shelf stable

2 to 5 years/pantry

3 to 4 days






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