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.
Spices are an essential part of creating delicious and flavorful dishes. It stands to reason that this would be true, especially when creating Italian dishes. Spices are particularly prevalent in Italian cooking in dishes from meatballs to different kinds of pasta to pizza. Aside from rich olive oil and fresh produce, Italian spices just may be the most important part of Italian cooking.
If you’re not experienced with Italian cooking and spices, what takes the most time to figure out is which spices to use with which components of each dish and which combinations work well together to create that authentic Italian taste you are looking for. Below are 5 Italian spices that are easy to use to get you started.
Not only is Rosemary easy to use, but it’s also easy to grow for yourself. There’s nothing quite like a freshly grown herb from your own garden to have fresh in your Italian meals. In traditional Italian cooking, Rosemary is frequently used when adding a spicy, peppery yet floral flavor to stocks and roasted meats.
When you begin creating your Italian dish, all you’ll need is to add a small amount of Rosemary to give your dish some big flavor. You’ll have a delicious dish with a woody, peppery taste. Rosemary is especially good when cooking homemade focaccia.
Basil is the second to none herb in Italian cuisine. The flavor of Basil is fresh and bright, and it goes well with Italian staples like balsamic vinegar, tomatoes, and cheese. Basil Pesto is another popular Italian favorite.
Basil can be used in both its fresh and dried variety. Fresh Basil is most commonly used in cold dishes. It can also be added after cooking. Its dry counterpart is used to flavor things such as soups and pasta sauces that take some time to cook. Basil also is beneficially antibacterial, which is good for your health.
Have you had the Italian dishes risotto, gnocchi, or the ever-common ravioli? If you have, you’ve most likely had Sage, a common herb used in these fabulous Italian dishes. Sage has been used all over the world for its health properties, such as its ability to aid in digestion and its anti-inflammatory properties. Sage has a naturally warm aroma and enhances heavier Italian dishes. Sage can also be fresh or dried and is a complementary herb in either variety.
One of the most universally used herbs in Italian cooking is Prezzemolo or better known as Parsley. The chances are that you will not find a sauce, soup, or pasta without Parsley.
Parsley typically comes in flat-leaf and curly-leaf varieties. However, the flat-leaf Parsley is so much more commonplace in Italian dishes. Although curly leaf parsley is great for fine chopping and garnishing, the flat-leaf variety has a more full-bodied taste for adding flavor to dishes as they cook.
Additionally, Parsley has many vitamins and minerals. It is also frequently added to a variety of dishes to complement other spices because of its natural ability to enhance other flavors.
Oregano is traditionally used in many Sicilian and southern Italian dishes. It works well in everyday cooking with tomato-based pasta sauces. Oregano is also used dry or fresh. Dried is more commonly preferred since the strong, spicy flavor comes out more after the herb has been dried.
Long-known stateside for lending its aromatic, heating qualities to desserts, cinnamon is a popular spice used in sweet but also in savory dishes. What many people don’t realize, however, is that there are multiple varieties that have completely different flavor profiles and organic compounds.
So, what kind should you buy? What kind of cinnamon is right for what you’re looking to do with it? Firstly, let’s take a closer look at what cinnamon is – and isn’t.
What are True Cinnamon and Cassia? What’s the Difference?
Cinnamon is the dried and rolled or ground inner bark of the tree known as Cinnamomum Verum (literally “True Cinnamon” in Latin), which is native to Sri Lanka, the Malabar Coast of India and Burma (also known as Myanmar). Renowned for not only its culinary properties, but also its nutritional, preservative & fragrant attributes, True Cinnamon – sometimes called “Ceylon Cinnamon” – was once the most profitable spice traded by the Dutch East India company. The high demand for the spice before the advent of modern electric refrigeration was partly attributable to its antibacterial compounds which impede the spoilage of meat. In ancient times, it served as an embalming agent and as a perfume or incense for religious rites.
Cassia cinnamon comes in three widely-produced varieties: Indonesian or “Korintje” (Cinnamomum Burmannii), Saigon (Cinnamomum Loureiroi), and Chinese (Cinnamomum Cassia). The Chinese variety is generally the most bitter and has limited culinary applications, although it is commonly used in traditional Chinese medicine.
Korintji (or “Korintje”) cassia cinnamon from Indonesia is less bitter and because of its sweetness & relatively strong flavor (as compared to Ceylon Cinnamon) is popular in American baking: because it contrasts well with sugar while delivering a cinnamon-flavored wallop thanks it to its higher amounts of cinnamaldehyde – the active constituent that gives cinnamon & cassia much of their flavor. Korintji cinnamon is best used for snickerdoodles, cinnamon buns and other traditional American baked goods, because it’s the variety that’s been most commonly used for such fare. Think of it as the most nostalgic variety of cinnamon; what you likely sniffed as a child waiting for cookies to come out of the oven.
Saigon cinnamon is known for its peppery, warm and intense flavor. It’s bitter when used in excess and is generally considered best for Vietnamese or other Asian dishes such as Phở, or as a component of Five Spice powder. This spice – which is generally grown in central Vietnam, far from its namesake city – contains even higher levels of cinnamaldehydes than Korintje, giving it a reputation as the strongest of the culinary-grade cinnamon & cassia varieties.
Ceylon cinnamon is often described as “soft” cinnamon because the dried bark is thinner and more delicate to the touch. True cinnamon has a lighter brown hue and a more complex flavor profile than cassia: some describe it as being floral, fruitier and gentler-tasting, with notes of citrus & clove. It can be used in every confection or dish that cassia usually is, but will naturally have a more subtle taste. It goes especially well in baked fruit dishes, such as spiced pears or apple pies, and is a favorite for making cinnamon ice cream that isn’t too spicy.
Where Can I Buy Cinnamon?
While each kind of cinnamon or cassia is a bit different from the other varieties, they all have unique uses & profiles that are suited to differing palates and dishes. Pick out your preferred kind or order a few different varieties – from sticks to ground cinnamon, to ready-to-use cinnamon sugar, you can sample them all and decide which cinnamon suits your tastes – all three varieties are available!
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.
In the world of spice, there is plenty of overlap: peppers that share hot or umami-like qualities, aromatic barks with similar notes and bright or floral notes in certain East Indian spices – but have you ever wanted to try a seasoning that tastes nothing like anything you’ve ever had before?
Native to only the southern end of the Greek island of Chios, the strangely resinous, pine-like and creamy mastic gum can offer you a culinary experience few outside of the eastern Mediterranean have ever sampled.
A Precious and Revered Spice with a Long and Colorful History
Harvested by scoring the bark of the Pistacia Lentiscus tree, Mastic gum appears as drooping “tears” of resin, which are then painstakingly collected and polished after they eventually harden and drop onto the calcium carbonate powder laid at the base of the tree by farmers. The process takes several months, from June through October, and the careful, diligent approach required for its harvest has historically been reflected in its market value.
Mastic gum was so profitable a spice for the Genoese occupiers of Chios in the 14th and 15th centuries, that they built fortified towns for the villagers tasked with the production of the resin. Complete with watchtowers, curfews and severe punishments for those caught stealing the product, the construction of these fortified settlements demonstrates the bullish demand and esteem for this spice throughout history. These mastichochoria, or “mastic villages” have retained their antique charm with cobbled streets, masonry that harkens to the origins of its Italian financiers, and unique black-and-white geometric patterns called Ksista etched onto its houses.
Apart from its uses as a spice in antiquity, mastic was sought after for its apparent health benefits. It is known that the Romans chewed it as a breath-freshener and that Hippocrates recommended its use in the treatment of several sorts of digestive maladies. Even in the present day, multiple studies have argued for the effectiveness of the resin in combating Helicobacter pylori, an ulcer-causing bacterium linked to gastric cancer. Other large studies have indicated that mastic gum can reduce plaque levels and even kill the bacteria that causes gum inflammation and gingivitis. The evidence seems to indicate that ancient peoples regarded mastic as a health tonic for very good reasons!
But what does mastic gum taste like? And what can I do with It?
Often described as “piney”, creamy or even vanilla-like, mastic gum has a distinctly eastern Mediterranean-sort of herbal flavor. Reminiscent of the rich, fragrant flora and oceanic salt air of that region, mastic’s creamy and resinous qualities lend themselves well to sweets, savory dishes and blending with other herbs & spices.
Home cooks can use mastic in a wide variety of Greek & Middle Eastern dishes, from the Cypriot cheese pies known as flaounes to Greek mastic bread or the nouveau Greek entrée known as Chicken Mastihato. Mastic can also be blended with a bit of sugar or honey and eaten as a spoon sweet – with a knack for helping a sweet tooth and a rumbling stomach – or merely ground up and used as part of a spice blend for rubbing and marinating chicken, fish or lamb.
Pick up some mastic gum today. We’ll ship straight to your door, and then you can get started making exotic Mediterranean fare (or maybe just enjoying its wonderful fragrance, taste and potential health benefits) right away!
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!!
Top Spices To Use For Beginner Cooks
The culinary arts are a common passion. A lot of people love to cook and know how to season their dish with just the right spices. Some, however, are just starting out as beginner cooks and need to hone their skill. It’s not usually a good idea to just jump in and improvise with spices, especially if you are making something for the first time. Yes, it can be hard to know where to start.
Not to worry though. If you fail, try again. That’s the beauty of art of any kind. When in doubt, you can turn to Spice Station Spices to figure out where to begin. They have a wide selection of beginner’s spices and more. Also, there are a few good spices to use in general if you are just starting out that you can almost never go wrong with. Here is a short list of such diverse spices for beginners.
1. Black Pepper
Right alongside salt, black pepper is among the most commonly used seasonings on the planet. Pepper can be sprinkled on a lot of things, from casseroles to soups, even simple rice dishes. Just like with any seasoning or spice though, you want to be careful of how much you use on one dish. Better too little pepper than too much! That way you can add a little more the next time you make your dish!
As with pepper, paprika is commonly used in dishes such as casseroles, potato dishes, and curry. You can be more liberal with paprika, as it is full of flavor but light on the spice. Again, if you find that you have used too much or too little, you can be more cautious next time!
Cinnamon is a very diverse spice. It can go on pies and cobblers, but it can also go in coffee or on oatmeal, among many other things. Most of the time, you can find a recipe for dessert that requires it. As with the other spices mentioned above, you will be safe to use too little then too much.
4. Italian Seasoning
Italian seasoning is a mix of oregano, parsley, basil, and other plant based seasonings usually associated with Italian food. None of them are extremely spicy or strong on the taste buds, but the all have their own touch of flavor. Italian seasoning goes well on most things pasta based. It also goes well on garlic bread and mashed potatoes.
So if you are a beginner cook, getting into the culinary arts and wonder where to start with spices, turn to Spice Station Spices. They can help guide you in the right direction! Their spices range from basic to professional, fit for any chef to use!