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Ingredient of the Week, July 15: Old Bay Seasoning

Posted by on Jul. 15, 2012 at 9:27 AM
  • 10 Replies

                      Epices at Cuilleres

Old Bay Seasoning is a blend of herbs and spices that is currently marketed in the United States by McCormick & Company, and produced in Maryland. It is produced in the Chesapeake Bay area where it was developed by German immigrant Gustav Brunn in the 1940s, and where the seasoning is very popular to this day. At that time, crabs were so plentiful that bars in Baltimore, Maryland, offered them free and seasonings like Old Bay were created to encourage patrons to purchase more beverages. Old Bay is just one of many crab seasonings created during that era, yet it is one of only a few that survived. Notable others are J.O. Spice and Baltimore Spice.

 

Old Bay Seasoning is named after the Old Bay Line, a passenger ship line that plied the waters of the Chesapeake Bay from Baltimore to Norfolk, Virginia, in the early 1900s. Gustav Brunn’s company became the Old Bay Company, producing crab seasonings in the unique yellow can container until the company was purchased by McCormick & Co in 1990. McCormick continues to offer Old Bay in the classic yellow can.

                                                

The seasoning mix includes mustard, paprika, celery seed, bay leaf, both black and red pepper, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, nutmeg, cardamom, salt, mace and ginger. It is regionally popular, specifically in Southern States and parts of the Gulf Coast. Due to the strong presence of the United States Navy in Maryland and Virginia, it is a common fixture in galleys onboard Navy ships. It is chiefly used to season crab and shrimp.

In addition to flavoring seafood, the seasoning is often used as a topping on popcorn, salads, eggs, fried chicken, french fries, tater tots, corn on the cob, boiled peanuts and potato chips. Several movie theaters in the Chesapeake region offer it in the condiment section. Potato chip manufacturer Utz created the original "Crab Chip" based on an analogue spice mix. The popular potato chip variety was later copied and marketed by Herr’s (however, Herr's uses the Old Bay seasoning and it is sold as "Herr's Old Bay Chips").

 Early in its history, the Subway sandwich shop used Old Bay when mixing their seafood and crab salad. Many local Subway shops in the Baltimore region still have Old Bay for use on sandwiches. Old Bay is also occasionally used around the Chesapeake Bay region as an ingredient in Bloody Marys.

                                    

Do you use Old Bay Seasoning? What do you use it on?

 

by on Jul. 15, 2012 at 9:27 AM
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Replies (1-10):
michiganmom116
by Rhonda on Jul. 15, 2012 at 9:41 AM

I LOVE Old Bay seasoning in any seafood/fish dishes!  I add it to my tuna/salmon cakes and it's an ingredient when I have tuna/salmon chef salad.  I have also sprinkled it on fish before baking.

SweetLuci
by Platinum Member on Jul. 15, 2012 at 10:06 AM

 If you can't find Old Bay Seasoning in your area, here's a recipe for a seasoning mix that's similar

Seafood Seasoning

1 tablespoon ground bay leaves
 2 teaspoons celery salt
 1-1/2 teaspoons dry mustard
 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
 1 teaspoon sweet or smoked paprika
 1/2 teaspoon ground celery seeds
 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
 1/8 teaspoon ground mace
 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
 

 
Combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly. Store in an airtight container and store in a cool place. Use with seafood or chicken. Makes about 1/4 cup.
 If you want to make this with fresh spices you grind yourself, use this recipe, but  be sure to use dried bay leaves, not fresh, and grind to a powder. And, as always, adjust the spices to your own taste. 

La-Belle-Vie
by on Jul. 15, 2012 at 10:54 AM
I use to hate it but then living about 20 minutes outside if Baltimore made me learn to love it.
I will do an old bay chicken wing, just coat the wing in some melted butter and coat with old bay.
I also use it for my shrimp cocktail. I boil the shrimp in a big pot of water that has beer, lemon, chili powder, and a lot of old bay.
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aenima49
by on Jul. 15, 2012 at 11:09 AM

Not a huge old bay fan, which as a lifelong marylander, seems like blasphemy!!

4kidz916
by on Jul. 15, 2012 at 2:26 PM

Old Bay is a pantry staple in our area.  

VanBurren
by on Jul. 17, 2012 at 1:21 PM

 

Quoting SweetLuci:

 If you can't find Old Bay Seasoning in your area, here's a recipe for a seasoning mix that's similar

Seafood Seasoning

1 tablespoon ground bay leaves
 2 teaspoons celery salt
 1-1/2 teaspoons dry mustard
 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
 1 teaspoon sweet or smoked paprika
 1/2 teaspoon ground celery seeds
 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
 1/8 teaspoon ground mace
 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
 

 
Combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly. Store in an airtight container and store in a cool place. Use with seafood or chicken. Makes about 1/4 cup.
 If you want to make this with fresh spices you grind yourself, use this recipe, but  be sure to use dried bay leaves, not fresh, and grind to a powder. And, as always, adjust the spices to your own taste. 

 I've never bought Old Bay seasoning, but I hear it's wonderful.  I always keep these spices on hand, so maybe I'll make my own and try it out. 

andrea96
by on Jul. 17, 2012 at 1:42 PM

I have never used it. I don't think I've ever even seen it in a store.

SweetLuci
by Platinum Member on Jul. 17, 2012 at 2:36 PM

 I've never heard of using it on wings. That sounds good.

Quoting La-Belle-Vie:

I use to hate it but then living about 20 minutes outside if Baltimore made me learn to love it.
I will do an old bay chicken wing, just coat the wing in some melted butter and coat with old bay.
I also use it for my shrimp cocktail. I boil the shrimp in a big pot of water that has beer, lemon, chili powder, and a lot of old bay.

 

jessicasmom1
by Platinum Member on Jul. 17, 2012 at 7:08 PM

we like it on seafood

4kidz916
by on Jul. 25, 2012 at 3:41 PM

My son likes it sprinkled on french fries.

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