How can I use Green Cardamom?
Cardamom, pronounced kaar-duh-muhm is an ancient spice with a vast variety of benefits and uses that is sure to transform a casual home cook into a world-renowned chef at a dinner party. But what exactly is Cardamom and why are people so fascinated with not only its great taste but its very unique and aromatic smell?
Green Cardamom is a small, triangular-shaped seed with a light green texture (there are black and even white cardamom as-well). It’s used to add flavor and aroma to savory and spicy foods of all types. Cardamom grew into the spice it is today and found its way into many kitchens after centuries of ancient practices. The Greeks used it to add flavor to their sauces and vegetables while some Middle Eastern countries used it in various desserts and teas. Among its many uses in dishes of all sorts, it also has health benefits that can help to fight bad breath and has antioxidants that may help to lower blood pressure.
But in the context of culinary arts, cardamom is a game-changer, and a sure champion to start a conversation at the dinner table. But when you first look at cardamom, you might not know exactly what to do with them. You might think of just throwing a bunch in your dish, or blending them, or chopping them up. It all depends on what you’re cooking and the type of taste and texture you’re going for.
So if you’re cooking meats, most chefs usually crush the desired amount with a spoon or the bottom of a small pot. Doing so will allow the flavor to be kept and to cook just right.
If you’re looking to add seasoning to vegetables, you can add the cardamom in a grinder and sprinkle to the taste. This method allows other spices to perfectly mix in as you toss and turn the vegetables, giving it a light taste. You can also use crushed green cardamom in baked goods like layered spice cakes.
Roasting cardamom is another alternative. Doing so could be done by taking the seeds from the pods and putting them in a dry skillet for a few minutes. This method is most favored by chefs who want to try recipes like roasted chicken or roasted rice. This allows a crisp texture along with the signature cardamom aroma.
Cardamoms great health benefits, great taste and smell will give off a subtle feeling of a cleansing and calming atmosphere, fit for any kitchen. So if you ever run out of ginger or cinnamon, cardamom will be sure to add an amazing taste, texture, and aroma to your favorite dishes.
How will you use it?
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Healthy and Tasty Ginger
Ginger is a tasty spice and it is known to provide an abundance of health benefits to those who consume it. It is actually a natural and flowering plant and has been used as a form of medicine (folk). The actual plant had originated in Asia. It is known as one of the most healthiest spices in the world. Ginger is delicious and healthy all rolled into one spice. Ginger has a large variety of uses:
- syrups (simmered)
- much more
You will discover, there is much more to ginger than meets the eye because the health benefits are going to amaze you.
Ginger: The Enhanced Health Benefits
Ginger fights nausea and it is known to be anti-viral in the sense that it is highly effective for fighting off many viruses. It is viewed as one of the healthiest spices around. Ginger will enhance health because it has many antioxidants in it which provides many health benefits:
* anti-inflammatory; it can offer anti-viral benefits, antibacterial, and various healthy properties. This is according to some research that has been conducted
* relieves morning sickness; it fights nausea and is safe for relieving morning sickness when pregnant. It is useful to those who are receiving treatment for cancer because it is common to have nausea with various treatments
* relief from flu and cold symptoms; ginger is often used to help people to recover from flu and cold symptoms. Fresh ginger is known to offer protection for the respiratory system. Ginger is used by many to ease some common health ailments
* relieves some aches and pains; some research has shown that daily doses of ginger can relieve muscle pains which may be the result of exercise. It is even known to reduce painful menstrual cramps
* supports heart health; ginger may be beneficial to help lower cardiovascular disease as it supports the health of the heart. Some researchers hold the belief that more studies may prove that ginger may be a safe treatment for treating heart conditions
* reducing cancer risks; ginger is a very good source of antioxidants and it may be useful in reducing the risk of getting cancer
* it tends to stimulate the circulation; it is even known to provide some warmth in terms of the effects
* prevention for ulcers; many people use ginger in place of taking ibuprofen or aspirin. Ginger is viewed as a natural option
These are only a sample of the many benefits which are associated with ginger.
Ginger: A Variety of Forms
Ginger comes in several different forms. It is a tasty powdered spice that enhances many food items. It can be used fresh and dried, candied, crystalized, pickled, and preserved. Ground ginger is the most popular because many use it in their cooking. There are over 100 different ginger plants. Ginger has many varieties and is part of the Globba family. Many people choose to take ginger supplements to enhance their own health while others simply love to use it to add flavor to their food.
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Trying to eat better? Top spices for veggies.
We have all been stuck in our homes for too long, some have taken the opportunity to veg out, and some have been dabbling in eating better and cooking more. Either way you have gone, this article is sure to get you salivating, here are the top spices for veggies.
Rosemary: Strong and delicious
One of the best spices to use is Rosemary, which has been a staple classic with a strong piney flavor that will elevate bland tasting raw vegetables. It will change your perspective on eating veggies more regularly by adding a savory and sweet addition to your meals. They can be cooked with the vegetables in dried or raw form and each yields a different flavor.
Thyme: A classic taste
Thyme has the ability to add a savory quality to any vegetable with a remarkable flavor profile that has been used in cooking since ancient times. It has a slight mint profile but it doesn’t overpower. You can cook it with the vegetables in the same way as rosemary and can choose between raw or dry ingredients. This particular spice has every pleasant aromatic profile that sends your tastebuds on a journey. They are an excellent spice for vegetables.
Mint, coriander, and parsley
These herbs can be utilized on their own or are commonly combined into an herb medley that will accomplish a complex and delicious flavor profile. There are definitely ways to experiment with combining herbs to spice up your veggies, and sometimes it takes experimentation to accomplished the desired results. These are some of the best spices to use in combination for an incredible taste. It will be so good that you’ll forget you’re eating veggies. Finely chop these herbs and add some olive oil or butter to the mix while cooking with a delicious vegetable selection.
Italian mixed herbs
This is an example of a mixture of herbs that are combined to create a specific effect. In this case, the result will be a zingy Italian blend of oregano, basil, and thyme for an interesting and invigorating flavor. There are also some other herbs available in different blends that make it so powerful with one simple shake into your cooking apparatus. They are great for Italian meals that feature a vegetable side dish to make them compliment any dish with a mouth-watering aroma.
Cajun Spice seasoning to add a flare
Spice up your veggies by seeking a seasoning that steps outside the box and adds some heat to the mix. It doesn’t overwhelm but adds the perfect amount of spice for a fantastic finish. It can help to bring out the natural flavors of vegetables and is also a common spice blend used in cooking. The cajun spice seasoning features classics such as paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne, and a few more that make this an incredibly versatile option. It will definitely be a noticeable flare that will have you craving veggies again to remain healthy. Spices are a great way to make healthy vegetables taste great and trigger future cravings.
Spices Do Expire. Here’s Information On When And How They Expire
If you have begun your seasonal cleaning, try to be certain to include the spice rack. When cleaning out certain things, many think of the pantry, the freezer, and the refrigerator. Most, however, don’t even consider the spice rack. If you are wondering if spices ever expire, there is news that may well cause you to do a deep cleaning. Spices expire. If you wish to know how to tell when your spices expire, continue reading.
Store Spices In Their Original Container
The best way to store fresh spices so they’ll last is to either keep them in their initial, original containers or use ones that are similar to the original. The containers must be sealed and airtight. Seal the spices fully after each use. When seasoning blends are concerned, there is a guideline that says they last for two to three years. Store spices in an environment that is both dry and dark. A dark cupboard or a dark pantry will suffice.
The USDA considers spices to be products that are stable. They never actually expire. Although this is technically true, the flavor and the potency of the spice will change. The flavor and its potency diminish over time. Whole spices will be fresh for roughly four years. The expiration date, therefore, should be four years from the date of purchase. One to three years is the period that dried herbs will last. Consider the expiration date accordingly.
How Can You Tell If A Spice Has Reached Expiration?
Rub a small amount of it onto your arm and sniff it. If the spice is still fresh, it’ll be quite fragrant. If you cannot smell it, the spice is no longer fresh and has expired. Fresh herbs and vegetables will be fresh for about a week.
The color of dried, ground spices will tend to fade as they lose fragrance. The herbs that were fresh and leafy will begin to wilt.
It is suggested that you should put tape on the bottom of the spices when you purchase them. Write down the date of the purchase. When you decide to clean out the spice rack, doing this will make things a lot easier.
Ground and dried spices will tend to remain fresh for two or perhaps even three years. Steak seasoning that is bottled will last as long as two years.
Fresh basil may last for a week. Basil that is both dried and ground will last two or even three years. It’s the same for bay leaves that are ground and dried.
Spices do expire. It’s good to remember that if you enjoy fresh spices that have a strong flavor, keep a tab on how long you have them for and replace them if you do not use them all within a certain amount of time.
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Star Anise, the beautiful spice
Native to China and Northern Vietnam, star anise is a spice that has both health benefits and culinary applications. This is a unique spice and identified by its seven or eight-pointed pod that is found in the shape of a star. This pod is picked before it has ripened and then sun-dried giving the pod a rich brown color. The sun-dried pod is then utilized in various ways throughout the world.
Star anise is a staple of many Chinese dishes such as teas or roasted duck, and in Western cultures, it is used for baking. Cakes and cookies may find star anise amongst their ingredients list. In soups, such as the Vietnamese pho, the whole pod is utilized to enhance flavor. In baked goods, the pod is ground down and used like traditional spices. The flavor profile is similar to that of anise as they both contain the essential oil, anethole. Anethole gives a hint of licorice or cinnamon depending on how your pallet is because it is warm, spicy, and woody.
Health Benefits of Star Anise
The health benefits of star anise come from more than just the essential oil compound. Other compounds found within star anise are:
• Gallic acid
• Shikimic acid
Star anise’s anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-microbial properties may come from the combination of these compounds found within it. There have been some animal research testing that suggests the antioxidant component may contain anti-cancer properties. The types of properties that could potentially reduce tumor sizes.
Tamiflu has the main ingredient of shikimic acid, one of the compounds found within star anise. Since shikimic acid for some pharmaceutical products to treat influenza, star anise is the primary source utilized by pharmaceutical producers. The essential oil, anethole, has been shown by some research to treat viral infections like herpes simplex type.
In addition to its antiviral benefits, star anise also shows potential with antibacterial benefits. Some research has shown that it may help with preventing urinary tract infections. Other research has shown that an extract has effectiveness against some drug-resistant pathogenic bacterial. Finally, a study has shown that an extract can help prevent the growth of E. Coli.
Regardless if in the kitchen, home remedies, or in pharmaceutical production, star anise has a place amongst vast categories. Keeping this in mind, star anise should become a staple in the spice rack for any level of the culinary arts. The potential health benefits of what is in one’s spice rack can be a tasteful fight against ailments.
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Spice Up Your Hot Chocolate
During the colder months, hot chocolate becomes a standard drink in many households. It almost becomes a wintertime ritual on cold, blustery days. Whether it’s instant or made from milk and cocoa, every family has their “go-to” method of making hot chocolate. Warm your cold-weather hot beverage with a dash of spice.
Spices to add
- Commonly paired with hot chocolate, cinnamon adds earthy warmth. Stir in a dash of Saigon cinnamon for an added layer of flavor. If you start with milk and cocoa, use cinnamon sugar for a sweeter drink. Or sweeten the milk with a dab of molasses.
- There are many spices used in desserts and sweet dishes, including allspice. Despite the name, allspice is not a blend of spices. Allspice is processed from the dried berries of a plant in the myrtle family.
- Add a dash of green cardamom for a unique, complex flavor. Cardamon is often used in coffee and tea drinks. Cardamom is one of the most common main ingredients of chai. Use it sparingly, unless you already know you like cardamom.
- Pumpkin fans can create a fall pumpkin hot-chocolate with a little pumpkin puree (1 teaspoon per cup of liquid) and a dash of pumpkin spice.
- Turn up the heat with a dash of cayenne pepper. If you want ‘hot’ hot chocolate, cayenne pepper is the spice to use. Many chocolate manufactures produce chili chocolate. Take advantage of this spicy warm pairing on a day with colder weather. If you know you like it hot, use habanero pepper instead. Or try adding our habanero sugar for some sweet spice.
- If you miss the taste of gingerbread from the holidays of your youth, add ground ginger, allspice, cinnamon, molasses, brown sugar, and vanilla.
- Ground clove pairs well with chocolate and is often added to hot drinks along with cinnamon. Clove is another spice to add sparingly. It is easier to add more than diluting after the fact.
- Top off your mug with a dollop or spray of whipped cream. Garnish with a sprig of mint, a dash of cocoa, cinnamon, or nutmeg. Add some color with a maraschino cherry or some orange zest.
- In the morning, add an extra kick with a teaspoon of espresso powder. Turn your hot chocolate into an adult mocha treat by adding a shot of coffee liqueur.
Experiment with your own blend of spices for a truly unique warm hot chocolate experience. You will look forward to those days of colder weather.
Mole and its Ingredients
What is mole?
The term mole originates from the word mōlli of the Nahuatl (or Uto-Aztecan) language, which translated means “sauce”. The traditional ingredients in mole is an elaborate and sophisticated layering of flavors, extracted through a timely process from a variety of dried chilies, seasonings, spices, and fruits. Since the recording of the first written recipe in 1810, mole has been named the national dish of Mexico, and historically has been reserved for special occasions or holidays. Over the years the whole world has come to embrace mole, so much so that as of today there are more than 300 different moles with varying colors such as yellow, red, green, and even black.
Seven main variations of mole:
- Mole Amarillo: With a soft and slightly spicy flavor, the main ingredient is the yellow chilhuacle (a regional chile of Oaxaca, Mexico), thought to be one of the rarest chilies in the world.
- Mole Verde: Beloved in central Mexico, a vital element in the preparation of this mole is established by the grinding of tomatoes, pumpkin seeds, serrano, and hoja santa chilies.
- Mole Coloradito: Slightly sweeter than red mole, the combination of sesame, oregano, tomato, garlic, cinnamon, chile ancho, and chocolate, provide it with an extraordinary brick-red color.
- Mole Manchamanteles: The blending of ingredients such as white sweet potato, plantain, yellow sweet potato, and plum, provide this mole with a fruitier flavor.
- Mole Negro: Described to have a smokey flavor, the inclusion of a larger amount of chocolate in the preparation of this mole provides a darker color than others.
- Mole Almendrado: With a slightly sweet flavor and velvety texture, the inclusion of costly ingredients such as almonds, chile ancho, and chile guajillo, make this a historically popular dish with the upper class.
- Mole Poblano: One of the most popular moles in the US and Mexico, this mole has a soft flavor with a reddish touch to its predominantly brown color.
Common Ingredients of Mole Poblano:
- Dried Mulato Chilies
- Dried Pasilla Negro Chilies
- Dried Ancho Chilies
- Chipotle Chilies
- Plum Tomatoes
- Garlic Cloves
- Coriander Seeds
- Anise Seeds
- Pumpkin Seeds
- Corn Tortilla
- Bolillo Roll
- Ripe Plantain
- Raw Peanuts
- Blanched Almonds
- Mexican (or Dark) Chocolate
How can I use Mole?
Mole is commonly utilized in a variety of different ways, these include being served over rice, eggs, chicken, beef, or pork. It is also used as a smothering sauce for burritos, a base for taco fillings, and a topping for enchiladas which are then referred to as enmoladas.
For the best and freshest flavors, check out our mole.
History of Nutmeg
Nutmeg originally came from the “Spice Islands” of Indonesia and the West Indies. Historically, the whole nutmeg was used as a sachet, which is a small perfume bag to scent clothes. The Romans used it as incense. Nutmeg’s many uses started in the 1600s where nutmeg was used as an expensive commercial spice in the Western world. Nutmeg trees can grow to about 65 feet. They can grow fruit after eight years of sowing and can produce fruit for 60 years. The word nutmeg comes from the Latin words nux meaning nut and muscat meaning musky. Nutmeg was discovered in the 1st Century A.D.
What is Nutmeg?
Nutmeg is a seed that comes from the nutmeg trees. To make it into a seasoning, the seeds are dried in the sun. While it is drying, the nutmeg loses its hard seed coat. The spice is ready when the kernels rattle in their shells. While it is being shaken, it separates from the outer coat, which is the mace. It can be sold whole or ground up as nutmegs many uses. Nutmeg has a mild taste and is rarely used with mace in a recipe. It tastes nutty and sweet and has a strong distinct smell. Whole nutmeg is about the size of an apricot and lasts longer than ground nutmeg.
Nutmeg Used in Recipes
Nutmeg can be sweet or savory in recipes. It is known as a holiday spice. When using nutmeg in recipes, make sure to use it lightly as this spice can be very powerful. Nutmeg is very special and can be used in a variety of different spices including pumpkin pie spice, ras el hanout, and garam masala. It is well known for being used in drinks like cappuccinos and eggnogs. Nutmeg is a good flavorful spice for pumpkin pie and alfredo dishes. Popular substitute nutmeg spices are cinnamon, allspice, ginger, or ground cloves.
Where to Find It
Nutmeg comes in two different forms: ground or whole. Ground nutmeg is easy to find in local grocery stores. Although it’s convenient, it can easily lose its flavor and aroma fast. Whole nutmeg can be found in supermarkets, wholesale clubs, gourmet shops, and online. Other places that sell the whole nutmeg are specialty spice purveyors. It will most likely be found in the spice aisle, but if it’s not, it can always be ordered from our Spice Station website.
Nutmeg is historically from the “Spice Islands” in Indonesia. It was used by Romans, Dutch, English, and American people. It was used as a spice, sachet, and incense. The word nutmeg comes from Latin roots. Nutmeg is a seed that grows from tall nutmeg trees. The seeds dry in the sun for weeks until it can be used for our common recipes like pumpkin pie or eggnog. It can be a sweet or savory holiday spice and can be found almost anywhere.
Holiday Spice Guide
Do you ever feel like eating something festive during the holidays, and then wonder what the flavor that you are looking for is? The Holiday season is such a favorite for baking and creating dishes that are filled with spices that you do not normally use. All the way from Thanksgiving to New Years Day, we love creating new dishes or timeless ones. This holiday spice guide will help you with what to use in your cooking.
Nutmeg is what makes the most favorite flavors of the holidays such as Egg Nog, and Pumpkin Pie, and apple pie. Not only is it used for sweet treats, but this spice can also be used for roasting vegetables like carrots or sweet potatoes. Give it a try, you will not be disappointed.
Clearly cinnamon is a favorite year-round. It has that smell and flavor that scream holiday warmness after a day of sledding or a brisk walk in the cold. Coming in for a cup of hot chocolate with cinnamon sprinkled on it is divine, but have you ever sprinkled it in your coffee?
What a clever name for a warm spice. Allspice has sweet aromas of cinnamon and nutmeg, as well as cloves. This spice is usually ground and put into puddings or bread, as well as pies such as pumpkin or apple. Our whole version can be used when making mulled wine or even brining a turkey.
These are just a few of the flavors of the holidays that we love. Time off of work, sitting around with loved ones, what else are you going to do but cook and enjoy the flavors of the season. If you can not remember the last time you used your cinnamon, nutmeg, or allspice, we suggest throwing them out and treating yourself to the freshness of our spice station spices, all shipped to your doorstep. Enjoy and Happy Holidays!
Aux Poivres and Delicious Ways to Use It
First, a little history on delicious Aux Poivres. Over 1,000 years ago, the peppercorn was the star of the spice world. Marco Polo kept extensive records of where the peppercorn was harvested and sold, the Ancient Romans used the peppercorn as currency, fortunately, in the 17th century, peppercorns made their way into an increasing number of ports. Yet the peppercorn remains one of the humblest spices on today’s table.
Today, the peppercorn is used to add a savory zing to the finished dish. However, peppercorns can be more than the finishing product, they can be the star of the dish.
Know the peppercorns
Peppercorns come in three main categories: black, green and white. Black peppercorns are the most common variety and have the strongest, most pungent flavor. Green peppercorns are underripe black peppercorns with a slight spice and aromatic flavor. White peppercorns are black peppercorns with husks removed and a less pungent taste.
There are also Pink and Sichuan peppercorns. These two varieties are not true peppercorns. Pink peppercorns are berries from a South American shrub with a peppery bite and fruity undertones. Sichuan peppercorns are the seed of an ash shrub with a citrus undertone and heat that makes the mouth tingle.
Make an au poivres
Literally translated, au poivres means with peppers. The perfect peppercorn blend is our Spice Station Aux Poivres blend. Each color peppercorn adds a different dimension of flavor. Once the Aux Poivres is purchased, it is coarsely cracked and used to coat a high-quality protein.
The most popular dish utilizing this method is the French dish Steak au Poivre. The cracked peppercorns cover the steak in a thick crust which is seared at a high temperature with a small amount of oil and butter. The result is a rare to medium-rare, pepper-crusted steak.
Make a sauce au poivres
The Steak au poivres is finished with a luxurious sauce incorporating the pan fond, cognac, and heavy cream. In the same skillet, the cognac is flamed, then broth and cream are added and reduced. The resulting sauce is spooned over the steak and traditionally served with a potato side dish.
This rich sauce is not limited to Steak. A sauce au poivres is a simple, flavorful way to add dimension to salmon or pork dishes. The sauce au poivres is made by melting butter and sautéing shallots, then adding a peppercorn medley flamed with cognac and finished with broth and cream.
The sauce au poivres can also be modified to further compliment any dish. Using Dijon mustard, thyme, mushrooms, or any variety of add ins will personalize and balance the sauce to finish any dish.
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