Occo: Spices by the 1/4 Teaspoon Ensure Freshness and Sustainability
For recipes that require only fractions of teaspoons of spices, you have to wonder why such big jars of those same spices are necessary. To use a whole one in the 3 to 6 month window flavor experts advise, you would have to make the same recipe about 200 times. Because spices do indeed go bad, at best losing their flavor and at worst becoming carriers of foodborne illnesses, in order to be safe and to enjoy your favorite dishes at their most flavorful, you will probably wind up throwing away most of the contents of those jars.
Occo is a new way to buy and store spices. It uses modified atmosphere technology to seal 12 special aluminum chambers that each contain only a 1/4 teaspoon of spice. This technique involves using food-safe Argon gas to force the oxygen out of each little spice pocket. Oxygen is what causes decay in spices; without it, bacteria cannot survive. And because the chambers are so little, odds are you will easily use all the spice included on the card within a reasonable amount of time. In this way, you are paying only for what you use, and not for that plus everything you throw away.
The material for the spice chambers was thoughtfully selected. Aluminum is the most recyclable and recycled material in the world. 75% of the aluminum ever produced is still being used today. Between the conservative amount of spice sold per card and the smart use of resources which that entails, an idea like Occo has the potential to really make a difference.
Occo’s Kickstarter has been wildly successful, attracting over a thousand backers. The creators are selling their spices in several different collections. The Essential Collection consists of 12 of the most diverse and commonly used spices, including cinnamon, basil, paprika, mustard, ginger, oregano, and others. There are also five different mini collections that group spices into separate flavor profiles. The Heat Collection includes chili, paprika, and curry. The Sweet Collection includes cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. The Savory Collection includes basil, oregano, and fennel. The Earth Collection includes mustard, cumin, and coriander. And for very basic recipes, the 101 Collection includes black pepper, onion, and garlic.
Occo’s spices come from all over the world, everywhere from Hungary to Indonesia, so you can be sure that the creators put in the legwork to ensure their spices are of the highest quality. They even promise that all their spices were organically grown and harvested within a year of the date they packaged and sealed them. If they aren’t sure, they won’t sell it.