Sumac is an exotic berry with a rich history of use in many different countries around the world. It’s most commonly known in several areas of the Middle East where it is said to originate from. There are also reports of it growing in areas of the Mediterranean and even North America. Yet despite that, it’s no cakewalk trying to find sumac in stores and supermarkets. Many people are familiar with the word sumac because of the poisonous shrub that grows. The edible sumac is easily distinguished by its shape and color.
Sumac has a rich culinary history of use in Turkish, Arabic, and Lebanese cuisine. The Roman empire also used and enjoyed sumac for its unique flavors and health benefits for many years. There are even records of the medicinal benefits of it in ancient Greek texts. From spice rubs on meats, to desserts, vegetables, soups, stews, and side dishes, sumac has a wide culinary range. It blends well with sweet and savory dishes to add hints of tartness and citrus.
In most dishes, it works best when used as a small part of a blend rather than as a sole flavoring agent. The slightly sour, tart, and citrus notes compliment flavors such as cilantro, cumin, lemongrass, cardamom, spicy dishes, thyme, saffron, cinnamon, and brown sugar. With sumac, it’s important not to overdo it in quantity. Despite its versatility, the most exciting part of this berry is the multitude of health benefits it offers.
For starters, sumac berry is a very powerful antioxidant. The word antioxidant is so incredibly overused and abused in the health world. Everything is touted as having these potent benefits that will allow you to ride off into the sunset unperturbed by these damaging free radicals.
When compared to just about any other superfood, berry, herb, and spice, sumac is vastly superior as an antioxidant. In fact, it is often 20,40, to 100 times more potent than other powerful antioxidants. It usually comes in as number 1, or at least top 3 on any ORAC rating (measuring antioxidant capacity) list. Despite all the boasts and claims of most of these mainstream nutrients, this humble, barely known berry tops all of them with ease.
The benefits for of sumac berry for diabetes are quite significant according to research thus far. Several studies found a very big reduction in postprandial spikes in glucose levels. The insulin and glucose spike following a meal is one of the more damaging processes that occur in the body. Especially if meals are filled with unhealthy ingredients. This gives even more incentive to use sumac in cooking.
As we see, sumac can impact diabetes in many important ways such as improving insulin resistance, lowering glucose levels, as well as leptin levels. In many people, this hormone is out of balance and causes overeating. In human clinical testing, several measurements that hold great importance in health such as CRP, malondialdehyde, and insulin levels were positively impacted by sumac.
A study using a sumac extract improved cholesterol and lipid profiles in obese subjects. The extract cause HDL (protective) cholesterol to increase and LDL to decrease. The same study also saw a decrease in triglyceride levels. One of the main protective benefits is the effect sumac has at decreasing cholesterol from oxidizing and producing “foam cells”. This is when things become more dangerous. Studies show that stable cholesterol on its own isn’t harmful like we once believed.
A second study backed up sumac’s protective effects on the arteries. This study proved that this potent berry can lower a harmful type of cell from forming and migrating into the vascular walls. This cell, called a vascular smooth muscle cell, is an indicator of arterial disease. In addition, sumac shows promise for those suffering with high blood pressure.
Other noteworthy attributes include possible benefits for respiratory disorders, weight loss, infectious pathogens, and even bone loss. Human research is lacking for bone loss, but it still holds excellent potential based on what we know so far. The tart, tangy subtlety coupled with the fantastic health benefits may cause it to be a favorite in your spice cabinet. At Spice Station, we carry two high quality forms of sumac from Turkey and Syria.
Summer is finally here and we bring to you the Summer Spices and Herbs that are aromatic, refreshing, and unforgettable! Here at Spice Station is your one-stop shop for unrivaled selections of spices and herbs from around the country, the world, and for every cuisine conceivable.
You want to put your culinary skills on display, so what better way is there than to dabble in the art of presenting flavorful foods with every dish, at every sitting.
Spices we can’t live without
Vanilla bean is an extraordinary summer spice as a blastoff in the morning with oatmeal (or in a fruity smoothie), sweetened with maple syrup, or honey.
-The vanilla bean is a reliable source of essential oils, vitamins, and minerals that include antibacterial properties.
-It supports the nervous system, and regulates the body’s metabolism.
-Lowers stress and depression.
-Works well as an antioxidant.
It’s easy to know where to begin on the subject of nutmeg! The positive findings of this incredibly celebrated summer spice are numerous. It’s a favorite in breakfast dishes, and in other sweet or savory dishes.
-Many studies have proven that nutmeg’s antioxidant and antibacterial properties provide relief from toothache pain; halistosis (bad beath),
-Because of the potency of its oils, nutmeg aids in the relief of cough, colds, gastrointestinal diseases, and other maladies.
One great way to enliven your smoothies is with this freshly grated summer spice–ginger!
Awaken the flavors of your Asian, European, and other dishes, soups, potatoes, baked sweet or savory delights.
-Ginger is popularly known for its relief of nausea.
-Removes toxins from your body.
-It is regarded as an overall health booster.
Summer herbs that brighten our days
These delicate and versatile blossoms are bursting with goodness for both your inner and outer health. The pleasant aroma of this summer herb is not intrusive but seems to blend well with other herbs. Chamomile is a versatile herb and its popularity for beauty and health dates back to ancient Rome, Greece and Egypt. It is also used in some desserts and drinks.
-Famously known to calm the nerves and allows a good night sleep.
-It can be added to strawberry smoothies for a calming and enjoyable drink that can minimize stress.
-Controls allergies such as eye itchiness when used as an eye wash, and when used as a steam can ease nose stuffiness.
What looks more inviting than a sprig of mint leaves attached to the glass that’s holding your favorite drinks! Just rubbing a couple of mint leaves together in your hand and inhaling the aroma is so refreshing. It is a savored summer herb in most cuisines around the globe for its use in the following:
-Making delicious ice creams, mint julep, mojitos, smoothies, cookies, and candies; hot mint tea and hot, creamy mint chocolate
-Sauces, stews, grilled salmon, buttered beans, and salads
-Dishes like leg of lamb, veal, steak, and poultry
-Mint is often used as an aid to the common cold, relieves headaches, eases the discomfort of asthma, and promotes a healthy digestive system.
-Research shows that it may improve brain function.
-It is well known for its effects in improving breath freshness.
-Mint is rich in nutrients such as Vitamin A, Iron, Manganese, and Folate.
Thyme is highly prized for its longevity in the chef’s kitchen. The aroma of this summer herb stands out among many of its counterparts as a source of providing distinguished flavor to delicious meat and seafood dishes. The nutritional values it provides are lengthy. Here are some:
-Vitamins A and C
-Works as a guard against chronic inflammation in the body.
-Remedies coughs, colds, sore throats.
-Promotes bone health, prevents the risk of bone diseases.
-Rich potassium content, which controls the rise of blood pressure.
This long recognized and favorite summer herb lives up to the standards of culinary expectations. Rosemary is the seasoning for a variety of well-known recipes and exudes a pungent aroma that satisfies the longings of those who crave well prepared dishes such as:
-Seafood and pork
-It is well known and recommended for stimulating brain functioning and improving the memory.
-Aids in improving and treating digestion.
-Studies have suggested that rosemary combats damage to the brain and nervous system.
-Can improve mood and concentration.
-High in antioxidants.
These summer spices and herbs can be found at Spice Station.
Clove is a unique and powerful spice in both flavor and medicinal effects. Some say it originates from Indonesia, although there are reports of its existence dating back to ancient Syria. According to so evidence, traces of clove was found in a burnt down kitchen in Mesopotamia around 1700 BC. One of the original uses of clove is for freshening breath.
Since then, research on clove is uncovering an array of benefits and properties of this pungent spice. The strong potency and flavor are what stands out about it. Most people either like it, hate it, or perhaps tolerate it if disguised enough by other flavors. With clove, it’s all about the subtly and using it in the right way in cuisine. However, the health benefits make it worth tolerating, especially if you battle with certain ailments. So, what can you gain by adding more clove into your diet?
Blood Sugar & Diabetes
Research has uncovered some interesting and potent effects for diabetes and glucose levels. A study published in 2019 showed that the potent antioxidants and nutrients in clove may help lower glucose following a meal. The benefits were even greater for those that had pre-diabetes. The clove extract reduced the post meal glucose spike by over 25%!
Furthermore, clove may help promote insulin production and sensitivity when paired with cinnamon. The effects of both are enhanced when combined with each other. In addition, fenugreek may also add valuable benefits for diabetes and pre-diabetes when used on a regular basis. Several studies have further verified clove as one of the most potent spices for these conditions.
Clove for Infection Defense
One of the most powerful attributes of clove spice is its effects on different pathogens. Moreover, the oil has shown in many studies to defeat and disrupt many different types of infections. The compounds within it help halt the growth and spreading of organisms that can cause problems in the body if left uncontrolled.
However, the spice itself can also be helpful when germs are lurking. Its anti-microbial properties are what made it such a great breath freshener for so many years. In addition, clove is helpful for different types of fungal and yeast infections when used properly. If using clove essential oil, it must be diluted in order to be safe for use.
Clove may Lower Triglycerides
Triglycerides are certainly one of the biggest enemies of cardiovascular disease. Along with c-reactive protein and certain cytokines, these markers are important to keep stable. One small study saw a significant drop in triglyceride and LDL (the bad) cholesterol. Another study at Penn State noticed a 30% reduction in triglycerides when comparing a meal with clove, paprika, oregano, cinnamon, turmeric, and garlic to a similar meal without the spices included!
Clove is well known for providing relief for toothaches. However, it is also helpful for muscle aches, bunions, wounds, and cuts. It’s important to properly dilute it first if using the oil or it will sting. Making a water-based extract from the tea and spice is fine to apply as is.
In addition to the aforementioned benefits, preliminary research shows potential benefits for certain types of cancer, liver health, parasites, hypertension, digestion, ulcers, and more! Some of these aren’t yet totally proven, but encouraging research exists. Since it is safe to use, there’s no need to wait years to start benefiting from it.
Clove is also one of the most powerful antioxidants in the world. The ORAC value is much higher than most superfoods that are always pushed for their antioxidant value. In hundreds of herbs, foods, and spices tested, clove ranks as number 2 behind only sumac bran. Very impressive potency for a humble and overlooked spice.
Spice Up Your Fruit Salad
Who doesn’t love a fresh and tangy fruit salad in the summer? This classic dish is popular with all ages, and it can be done many ways. Fruit salad can be too sweet for some people, and spicing it up will give it that savory flavor that takes it to the next level. If you haven’t tried adding some Spice Station spices to your fruit salad, you are missing out!
Fruits to Use
Feel free to mix it up and substitute in other fruits, or even neutral vegetables such as cucumber. Fruits that are in season will have the best flavor, so it will depend on the season. Chop up your larger fruits into bite size pieces. You can even use a melon ball tool for the watermelon and cantaloupe if you are feeling fancy! The great thing about fruit salad is that you don’t have to measure anything to make it. Just grab the fruits that you love, and fill up your bowl! Load up your chopped fruit into a big, decorative bowl and then get started on your seasoning.
- Lime Juice
- Chile Powder
Squeeze the lime juice over the fruit in the bowl and mix well to make sure all fruit is coated. Then sprinkle on the chile powder and mix again to ensure all fruit is evenly coated. The amount of lime juice and chile powder you will need will depend on how much fruit you are using and how big you want your fruit salad to be. You can adjust the levels of both ingredients based on how tangy and or/spicy you want your fruit salad!
Bring some spice to the sweetness with this refreshing combination that is perfect for those hot summer days. This spiced up fruit salad will be a hit at summer picnics and potlucks, and brings a Mexican twist that will appeal to kids and adults alike who appreciate some spice!
Cooling Herbs for Summertime
When the weather is hot and humid during the summer months, you need something to cool you down since staying comfortable can be a considerable challenge. One effective way to help you stay cool is drinking some herbal teas. Not only are herbs delicious, but they are also beneficial to you. Since summer, there’s always a rise in the sense of heat in the body and mind that may bring symptoms such as heat rash, digestive issues, or irritability; you can use these five cooling herbs to refresh yourself in the heat.
Peppermint is a popular and common herb that will help you stay cool in the summer. The menthol in peppermint offers a cooling effect. You will find the fresh and minty flavors to be very refreshing. Peppermint is a member of the mint family, but it has a stronger flavor than the other members. You can add mint leaves to your drinks to help enhance the flavor. If your sinuses are blocked during summer due to pollution or humidity, the menthol in peppermint will open them as it’s good for clearing respiratory passages. Moreover, peppermint has some anti-inflammatory properties. Therefore, the sunburns and heat rash caused by summer heat can be soothed using this special herb.
Hibiscus offers many health benefits and can also cool during summer. The herb is full of antioxidants that will help you fight stressors related to UV rays. During summertime, when the days seem to be longer and hot, you will reap the cooling benefits of this beautiful herb. In addition, it has some thirst-quenching abilities that make it popular for ingestion during summer. You will also get rid of bloating when you use this wonderful herb. In the summertime, people hydrate a lot, thus add some extra water weight. The herb will help you dispel some of the excess water, and you will be more physically comfortable and enjoy your beach body.
Roses are used to making rose oil or perfumes and can also be used as an herb for internal medicine. When you wear a rose on your skin, your mind becomes calmer, you become less irritable, and the herb also provides heart soothing effects. In addition, if you ingest roses, you get somebody cooling effects, and it may also help you ease the menstrual cramps. The herb can also be used in relieving diarrhea. To cool you down, spritz some rose water on your face, and your body will cool down immediately. If you prefer herbal drinks, you can purchase organic pink, and red dried rose petals and add them to your mint tea.
Chamomile is a safe and effective herb used to cool the body, reduce anxiety, or ease insomnia. The herb also has some tremendous digestive effects. Use this herb, mix the dried leaves with some water, rinse your hair, or spritz it on your skin. Cooled chamomile water will help soothe inflammation from sunburns and also skin bites.
Herbs are some of the best ways to cool yourself during the summer heat. You can get mint rose, chamomile, and hibiscus in most grocery stores. Do not let the summertime heat keep you from enjoying your vacation or time at home. These herbs will help cool you down.
Peruvian Sea Salt: Baking Magic and Health Myth
From the majestic peaks of the Andes comes the magical product known as Peruvian Pink Salt. Peruvian Pink Salt is hand harvested from the fresh springs of the Maras Mountain Region. This sea salt has a course and uneven texture that can be used for many different aspects of life.
What Is Peruvian Pink Salt?
Peruvian Pink Salt is a mild salt that comes from the Andes Mountain Region that holds the key to many health benefits as well as helping to smooth out the taste of many fine foods. Peruvian Pink Salt contains many different nutrients that are believed to be helpful to the human body when ingested with care and precision. So when you ask: What is Peruvian Pink Salt we are able to safely and confidently tell you that it is a mild salt that will keep your health on the top tier when it comes to supplying you with needed minerals and nutrients. These will keep your body operating in an optimal condition.
Uses For This Spice
Peruvian Pink Salt can be used for:
* Seasoning Foods
* The salt is used to regulate your sodium intake because it is easier for your body to absorb the minerals from Peruvian Sea Salt that it is from regular table salt.
* Peruvian Sea Salt is also known to have healing properties. The best way to partake in these advantages is to utilize the salt in a salt bath. This will relax the body and all for your muscle to fully relax and become rejuvenated from the minerals and healing properties.
* Sea Salt can be used to create a face/body mask. The properties of the Sea Salt have anti-inflammatory properties. These aspects can be used to heal and soothe troubled areas of the skin. For those that are troubled with breakouts and skin irritations easily, this is a great addition to your daily skin care routine.
* Sea Salt can also be used to create a homemade body scrub. This salt is very coarse yet smooth and can assist in removing unwanted layers of skin from the body.
* Peruvian Sea Salt can also be used to treat dandruff on the scalp. Please consult a medical Pediatrician before using this on a baby. However, for an adult the properties in salt calm the inflammatory aspects of the scalp that are triggering the dandruff and it absorbs excess oil from the scalp that can be causing bacteria to grow.
* Sea Salt can also be used to whiten your teeth as well as a mouthwash for after brushing. The Sea Salt kills bacteria that can be found in the mouth and can cause bad breath.
Peruvian Sea Salt has many different attribute and characteristics and uses for this spice but one thing that we can assure you of is that it is a great addition to your daily health and meal plan. The minerals that are found in the Peruvian Sea Salt are amazing and can work wonders for the body.
Making Margarita Salt Rims
The Classic Margarita
If you are a fan of tequila, there is no more quintessential beverage than the Margarita. Making a Margarita is easy and uses simple ingredients common in many households. Tequila, Triple Sec, and lime juice, with a salty flare at the rim. As such, the Margarita is also the perfect cocktail to get creative. If tequila is liquid bliss, a Margarita is liquid bliss with style. Rather than continuing to look for your lost shaker of salt, why not try something with a bit more spice or sweetness.
For those who also enjoy a spicy margarita, try one of the many spice station blends, such as Chili Lime Salt, as your margarita rim. The green chili, combined with flaky salt, provide just the right amount spice to complement your afternoon beverage. Enjoy on its own, or with a bowl of tortilla chips to leave you both satisfied and craving for that next irresistible taste.
If, however, you have more of a sweet tooth, try a Margarita rimmed with Lemon Twist Salt. Just the right combination of exotic and classic, each sip will reward you with a melody of flavors swirling with the citrusy base. The perfect combination for fall or winter, and excellent either before or after a meal, Lemon Twist Salt is sure to be a winner, you can even mix it with a little bit of sugar.
How to Make a Salted Rim
Whether you try a spicy or sweet blend, try something new and interesting. It may just become your next favorite drink. Once the perfect blend is selected, applying your rim is easy.
- Step 1: Take an empty Margarita glass and slightly wet the rim either with your fingers or lime wedge.
- Step 2: Spread the spice station blend in a thin layer on a small plate and touch the damp rim of the glass to the blend.
- Step 3: Fill the glass with a classic Margarita base and you have your very own drink creation. You now have a Margarita with style. A Margarita with your style.
Make It Your Own
The next time you grab for that bottle of tequila, get creative. If Chili Lime Salt or Lavender Vanilla Sugar does not define your style, try one of the other beverage spice station blends. Perhaps try Vulcan’s Fire Salt, or even Hibiscus Blossoms. Experiment with different flavors or try mixing more than one blend to create your perfect Margarita. While the Margarita may be an old standard, making it your own never gets old.
Making Your Own Salad Dressing
Have you ever thought about making your salad dressing but are not aware of how to do it? You are not alone, but it is effortless to create and tasty at the same time. Your salad dressing requires a few ingredients. When ready to make your dressing, there are many varieties to choose from such as Ranch, Creamy Italian, Honey Mustard, Classic Vinaigrette, Creamy Blue Cheese, Asian Sesame, and more. Be aware that any extra salad dressing you make can last just over several weeks when stored firmly in a jar or bottle.
Try a Vinaigrette.
Vinaigrette is very easy to make. Just mix a few tablespoons of olive oil or avocado oil, balsamic vinegar or red wine vinegar, three tablespoons yellow mustard, a few drops of fresh lemon juice, salt and pepper, and minced shallots to taste. Once thoroughly mixed, place your newly made dressing securely in a mason jar and keep it refrigerated. When you are ready to use it, simply shake it before pouring it out.
The good thing about this dressing is that you can always experiment with its taste by adding or lowering the balsamic vinegar and olive oil.
When you want to make your salad dressing the freshest tasting, try to add Spice station spices to it. Making your own dressing can help to lower cholesterol, help with asthma, reduce high blood pressure, and specific respiratory issues due to all natural ingredients and less processed ingredients.
A Few Great Tips When Creating Your Salad Dressing
Give your dressing a boost by adding fresh herbs. Always experiment when adding herbs like thyme, basil, or even rosemary. Be sure to add these herbs after the olive oil and blend everything smoothly.
Cut back using mustard powder, but instead, use fresh yellow mustard. The flavor is important but cutting back on mustard powder gives your dressing a good source of flavor compared to the other ingredients.
If you can use a different form of balsamic vinegar, your dressing will come out slightly different every time. If you want the best flavor for yourself or sharing it with friends and family, a little goes a long way.
Homemade Salad Dressing Has Health Benefits
Homemade salad dressing has health benefits because you will not be adding extra unwanted sugar, oil, and sodium to your body. It comes out fresh and tasty compared to store-bought dressings.
Save Money Today!! Create Your Own Salad Dressing!!
Meet Bloody Mary’s Spicy Cousin: Bloody Maria
The Classic Bloody Mary
The Bloody Mary first graced our palates in the 1920s or ’30s, but its exact origin and namesake is a bit of a mystery. It’s no mystery, however, that the tomato juice and vodka-based breakfast beverage is the perfect hangover cure.
History on the Bloody Mary offers a few different perspectives on where the name originated. Is it named for the last victim of a crazed serial killer, Jack the Ripper? Or does it hail from the bloody reign of terror held by Queen Mary I, the first Queen to rule England? Alternatively, it could be named after a young waitress who worked at a Chicago Diner called “Buckets of Blood.”
However it came about, we’re sure glad it did. Nothing goes better with a Sunday brunch than tomato juice and liquor. Bonus points for crunchy, green garnishes!
If you enjoy a Bloody Mary, try a Bloody Maria!
Now, onto Maria. We all have our preferences, right? Our “drink of choice,” if you will. Well, the Bloody Maria uses tequila instead of vodka, so if that matches your style, you should take note.
Much like its birth story, the exact recipe for a Bloody Mary isn’t written in stone. Vodka and tomato are standard and add-ins such as hot sauce and seasonings vary by the bartender.
After swapping out vodka for tequila, you’ll need some other ingredients:
- Worcestershire sauce
- Hot Sauce
- Lime Juice
- Salt & Pepper
- Celery Salt
Garnishing, the final touch on a beverage, is crucial when it comes to Bloody drinks. For a Bloody Mary or Maria, the more the Mary-er. Some things to include on the rim of your glass:
- celery stalks
- pickle spears
- fried foods
- pickled peppers
After that Bloody Maria quenches your thirst, consider what spice station spices might kick your recipe up a notch. This is a fun drink to experiment with if you enjoy cooking with spices because the possibilities are limitless. History on the Bloody Mary consists of essentially nothing but experimenting with different ingredients to make the perfect spicy brunch beverage!
So Many Different Types of Salt out there, What Kind Should I Use?
Even though salt is regarded as being one of the most simple cooking ingredients, in all actuality there’s much more to it, than you may know. For starters, there are different kinds of salt and they each have their own characteristics that make them slightly different, so what kind should you use? While some are highly concentrated, other types of salt dissolve easier than others. In fact, if you aren’t aware of the differences between different types of salt, you could end up over or under-salting your food. Let’s take a look at different kinds of salt and when to use them.
1) Sea Salt
Chances are that, if you’ve heard about different kinds of salt before, you’ve heard about sea salt. Sea salt us less concentrated and finer than the traditional salt that we use. Sea salt is a popular choice amongst seafood restaurants, because its fine crystal makes it the best type of salt to use on delicate foods like shellfish and fish. Additionally, because it disperses evenly, sea salt is great for baking as well.
2) Iodized Salt
Iodized salt, commonly referred to as table salt, consists of anti clumping agents, which contribute to its distinctive metallic taste. Because of the fact that it’s highly processed, it has a weaker flavor and salinity than traditional salt. Meaning, you would have to add a greater amount of iodized salt, to get the same level of saltiness that you would get from using regular salt. Iodized salt is ideal for people who have to watch their sodium intake.
3) Coarse Salt
Coarse salt, also come from the sea. However, unlike sea salt, it’s more concentrated and doesn’t dissolve as easily. Most chefs proclaim that coarse salt should be used as a topping at the end, as opposed to using it as an ingredient in the cooking process.
4) Flaky Salt
Most people enjoy flaky salt more so for its texture than its taste. It has a distinctive crispy texture, which makes it great for adding a finish touch to a dish which has already been prepared. Based on the fact that it’s more expensive than other kinds of salt, most people who love it tend to avoid using it for general cooking purposes, and save it for special occasions.
5) Pink Himalayan Salt
Pink Himalayan salt, as its name suggests is pink in color as a result of its potassium, calcium and magnesium content. These extra chemicals which are not found in other types of salt, gives it a distinctive flavor. Most chefs proclaim that it’s ideal for finishing a dish.
6) Kosher Salt
Despite its name, kosher salt, isn’t exactly kosher. But, it’s called that due to the fact that the best use for it is to kosher meat, which is a process by which blood gets removed from the meat. Many chefs use kosher salt, because it has a low salinity which means that it’s quite difficult to over salt foods that you use it on.
With all these types of salt, we hope we answered your question of “what kind should I use?” At our Spice station online store, we also have an abundance of salt blends, including chile lime salt, and garlic pepper salt.
For something even more interesting and fun, check out our Hiwa Kai Black Lava Salt!