By Mike Riccetti

If you were to ask around, you'd be hard pressed to find someone who isn't familiar with Italian seasoning. That's because, for a long time, it has been a staple in most American kitchens. The mixture of dried herbs is named for the location where it's ingredients were traditionally grown --Italy and its surrounding regions. The seasoning gets its popularity from its versatility. Italian seasoning can be used to add flavor to virtually any dish-- from stews, veggies, beef, poulty, pastas, the list goes on. Typically the seasoning includes some combination of store-bought or home-made herbs like basil, black pepper, coriander, garlic powder, marjoram, onion powder, oregano, red pepper flakes, rosemary, sage, savory, and thyme.

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There are many components and combinations that make up Italian seasoning.

Recipe Similar to McCormick’s

The Italian seasoning from the spice company McCormick contains a mixture of dried basil, marjoram, oregano, rosemary, sage, savory, and thyme. To make a version similar to McCormick's, simply mix together 1 tbsp. of each of the aforementioned spices. Be sure to mix the spices thoroughly for even dispersion. It can be used immediately. Afterward, it should be stored at room temperature in an airtight container. Tip: glass bottles or jars work well for storing spices

Elaborate Italian Seasoning

If you're looking for a more elaorate Italian seasoning, you'll need to add a wider range of ingredients. This recipe is more complex but gives the seasoning a strong, zesty flavor. In a bowl, combine 1 tbsp. of each of the following spices: black pepper, dried basil, garlic powder, dried marjoram, onion powder, dried oregano, red pepper flakes, dried rosemary, and dried thyme. Mix until all the herbs are well-blended. Use immediately, or store at room temperature for later use.

Simple Italian Seasoning

If you're limited in the number or spices you have on hand there's a simple Italian seasoning that requires fewer herbs. While it may not be as savory as the other mixtures, it will still give your dish a reconizable Italian flavor. To make this simple blend, combine 1 tbsp. of each: dried basil, oregano, sage, and thyme. Mix until well-blended. Again, use immediately or store for later use.