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Spices and the Holiday Season
Intriguing Spices and the Pleasures of the Holiday Season
The holiday season can be pretty tough. It can be difficult at times to anticipate what the people in your life want the most. One thing is pretty clear, though. So many people the world over are crazy about cooking and about food preparation in general. That’s why it can be hard to go wrong with gifts that involve food or the culinary arts overall. If you’re keen on the gift of cooking, then you should look into delectable spice choices that may be out there. COVID has us indoors, which is why more people are taking day-to-day meal preparation seriously. That’s why more people are looking to the universe of amazing and memorable spices to liven up their meals.
Getting People to Cook More With Fresh Spices
Why can spices make such fine gifts for the holiday season and beyond? If you give someone an amazing spice set for the holidays, this gift of cooking can be inimitable. People aren’t joking when they say that food is love. People care more about wellness than ever, and spices help boost flavor as well as other health benefits. Everyone wants their immune systems to be able to safeguard them from all kinds of hazardous illnesses. If you give a person you care about a present that includes spices, you may be promoting optimal health. It can help to look into particularly beneficial spices that are staples in cuisine. Turmeric is one such example. This spice is associated with all kinds of undeniable wellness perks. It at the same time is associated with delectable flavoring. If you’re keen on spicy and hot South Asian dishes that involve curry, then you cannot go wrong with turmeric.
Spices make great gifts for yet another big reason. There are so many mouthwatering varieties out there. It doesn’t matter if you love dessert spices that are milder, or if you like particularly piquant ones, either. People never have to settle for spices that just do not appeal to them. Give the gift of spices this year.
See our popular gift sets here.
The Many and Varied Health Benefits of Chile Powder
Chile powder is an amazing substance for a wide variety of reasons. Most people know it has a great taste, but that’s not where this substance’s impressive resume ends. Chile powder isn’t simply tasty. It also has a number of health benefits.
Chile powder alleviates coughing
One of the most important health benefits of chile powder comes from a substance called capsaicin. It works through a wide variety of different pathways within the body. But anyone who’s coughed while tasting something spicy may have experienced one of its most notable properties.
Capsaicin activates the transient receptor potential within one’s body. It starts by actually increasing one’s cough. But eventually, the transient receptor potential reaction is overwhelmed and it essentially shuts down for a while. Basically, one can think of the powder as a way of shorting out the cough reflex for a while. It’s best administered through a liquid that can coat the throat. Mixing 1/4th tsp chile powder into a cup of warm water is all it takes to find relief.
- Mix hot water and powder
- Drink the mixture while trying to maximize contact with one’s throat
- Wait while the capsaicin first triggers then suppresses the cough reflex
Chile powder can fight nasal congestion
Anyone who loves spicy food can attest to the fact that it can clear up congestion. One doesn’t even need to do anything special to take advantage of the health benefits of chile powder for nasal congestion. It’s simply a matter of eating or drinking something extremely spicy. On top of that, the powder also has some antimicrobial properties. This can help it fight off an infection while also clearing nasal passages.
- No special preparations needed
- Spices quickly reduce congestion
- Fights the infection causing the symptoms
Health benefit of chile powder can help people lose weight and keep it off
Weight is an important part of one’s health. And chile powder can help people burn fat or maintain a healthy weight. The powder is a known appetite suppressant. This means that meals using the powder are more filling. It’s also thermogenic which helps burn fat at a faster pace than normal. Finally, it’s a flavor enhancer with very few calories. It’s roughly half the calories of sugar per tablespoon. And the powder is roughly 1/4th the calories of cooking oil per tablespoon.
- Helps burn fat
- Low calorie
You can find our blend of chile powder here.
What Makes Saffron so special?
The way we value anything is largely dependent on the effort we put into getting it. This is especially true of saffron of which is asked why so special. Why is it “one of the most precious spices in the world”? Its highly labor-intensive production is one factor that makes it a most expensive spice.
What is saffron?
It comes from the saffron crocus flower. There are three stigmas in the center of each flower. These must be manually taken out, placed on a sieve to dry over a heat source to enhance the flavor. According to one source, it can take more than 75,000 flowers harvested by hand to make one pound of it. With so much labor going into the production of saffron it must be considered special.
The many uses and health benefits derived from the use of saffron also makes it a special spice. Research suggests that this spice is:
• an aphrodisiac, among the health benefits associated with its use.
• It also offers protection against cancer. Crocin, which it contains has been found to prevent the formation of malignant cells and trigger cell death for different types of human cancer.
• While not affecting normal body cells, it also stimulates immune cells that help destroy cancer cells.
Studies have also shown that crocin is useful for age-related mental problems and is used in treating memory loss, Parkinson’s disease, and inflammation. Saffron is also useful as a stimulant. A pinch in a tablespoon of milk is useful to promote hormone production in underdeveloped girls. As an aphrodisiac, it can be used for low libido to be taken at bedtime. Mixed in licorice and milk, saffron also is an effective topical application to promote hair growth. It is also an effective treatment for cold and fever that gives quick relief.
There are other ways in which this spice is used including it as food additives. It is also a culinary treasure that is used in combination with other condiments, to marinate fish and add color and a rich aroma to cakes and other foods and drinks.
The labor that goes into producing what is saffron and the many ways in which it is useful, makes it an incredibly special spice.
Come see our saffron here.
Eat Cinnamon Every Day For Better Health
Cinnamon rolls. Cinnamon toast crunch. Cinnamon apple crisp. These cinnamon-based dishes are not only delicious, but you may be surprised to hear that the cinnamon in them provides a wealth of health benefits, too. There are many health benefits of cinnamon that you may not have known about. After reading the following list, you may begin using cinnamon in your everyday cooking and food preparation more and more.
Cinnamon has antioxidants
Antioxidants are chemical compounds that inhibit oxidation. Oxidation is a chemical reaction that can produce free radicals in your body that may cause damage to your cells and lead to degenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and cancer. Cinnamon is chock-full of antioxidants. It even has more than the presumably healthier “superfoods” such as garlic or oregano. Therefore, a steady diet of cinnamon may help bring you to the regular level of antioxidants you need to avoid contracting these terrible diseases.
Cinnamon may prevent heart disease
Another major health benefit of cinnamon and its regular consumption is that it may prevent heart disease. Studies have been conducted that showed people who consumed small samples of cinnamon per day saw a significant decrease in their LDL cholesterol levels, which are known to clog arteries and cause heart disease. In addition, the people who ate cinnamon saw their triglyceride levels go down as well. These two factors combined make it likely that cinnamon consumption can reduce the risk of heart disease.
Cinnamon Can Fight Diabetes
The nutritional community is well aware of cinnamon’s ability to lower blood sugar levels. Studies have shown that taking as little as half a teaspoon of cinnamon per day can lower fasting blood sugar levels by up to 30%. It does this through two molecular interactions. First, it blocks several digestive enzymes which slows down the breakdown of carbs into sugar. Second, cinnamon mimics insulin and is able to have your cells take in glucose at a slower and more steady rate.
There are many health benefits of cinnamon that you may not have been aware of. Now that you have learned some major ones, go ahead and find more and more opportunities to eat cinnamon every day!
See our cinnamon varieties here.
What are the Health Benefits of Turmeric
Turmeric, in addition to being a popular spice used in many cuisines around the world, is also a staple ingredient in many supplements, as it has been scientifically proven to help with a multitude of ailments. Turmeric is derived from a chemical, Curcumin, which is a fat-soluble chemical that you can take as a daily vitamin. Turmeric is believed to help ward off dementia, relieve heart problems, and reduce general inflammation in the body. Keep reading to know the health benefits associated with turmeric and what it actually is.
How Do People Usually Ingest It?
Turmeric as a spice can be added to give flavor and an orange tinge to many savory dishes, including omelets or pasta dishes. It may also be steeped in hot water to produce a soothing, antioxidant-rich tea-like drink. The root chemical, Curcumin may be purchased at a regular supplement store, or even at some drug stores. You can take the recommended dosage (a capsule or two) with a full meal, as this chemical is fat-soluble, so just taking it with water will not do much for you.
Where is Turmeric Usually Found?
Those who love their food to be brightly colored and packing a ton of flavor probably know that turmeric is a spice that originated in India. It is a staple of the cuisine in that part of the world, and wild turmeric grows on plantations along the mainland of India and several Indian Ocean islands. It was in Indian medicine that turmeric made its emergence and people began to really learn what it is and its great health benefits. They saw that tea made from steeping the spice resulted in greater health and vitality.
With an Indian restaurant in just about every community, you have every reason to ask “What is turmeric?” Once you realize how it can be used to add color, flavor and a few health benefits to every meal, you will be sure to keep it in your kitchen. Add turmeric to your favorite dishes or brew some tea and see how this antioxidant and anti-inflammatory spice can help you.
See our Turmeric here.
DIY Seasoning blends
One of the most popular trends being followed today is the trend toward healthier eating. Most people are trying to avoid unhealthy foods and seasonings that have additives and other harmful ingredients. A better way to accomplish the use of healthy seasonings is by making the blends yourself. You can add a combination of your favorite spice blends together for a do it yourself seasoning that is nutritionally better for the body. Some easy do it yourself seasonings include what you prefer, and like in your food.
Make a list
To start with your do it yourself seasoning blends, shop for your favorite spices. Get enough to make at least five different blends. You can either grow fresh herbs and spices in your garden or purchase them fresh from your favorite market. You can allow them to dry, or use them fresh. They will eventually dry on their own. Decide what spices will blend well together, and give you the flavor that you want.
Set up mixing materials
Get out the bowls, measuring spoons, and the containers to be used. Mason jars in various sizes are ideal for this project. This is something that the kids can help with. It will give them an opportunity to use their math skills. Once the spices have been blended, put them into containers and label. The herbs will sometimes clump together once they sit for a while, but just give them a stir and they are ready to use again.
Use the seasoning blends on favorite foods
A cajun blend will go great on chicken, pork, salmon, and burgers. Make up a chili blend to enhance soups, ground beef, and sloppy Joe’s. For grilling steaks, chicken, fish, and pork, a jerk blend is a perfect mixture. A tasty Mediterranean blend gives a zesty flavor to roasted vegetables, chicken, and seafood. These do it yourself seasoning blends puts you in control of your sodium intake and saves money on the expensive store-bought seasonings. Enjoy eating healthier and eliminating many of the harmful preservatives that are used in packaged seasonings by experiencing do it yourself blends.
You can purchase some seasonings here.
How To Make Your Own Dried Herbs And Spices
There are several benefits to making your own spices and herbs, and you need to learn how to do that if you want to save what you grow in your garden. The process of drying the herbs and spices is easier than you might think, and they also taste better than what you can get in a store. Here are a few tips, as found on Farmer’s Almanac, for making your own spices and herbs.
Harvest The Herbs When They Are Small
You don’t want overgrown spices and herbs for drying, but you will want to pick them when they are small and fresh. The best time of day for cutting the herbs is once the dew is gone in the morning hours. Harvest them when they are healthiest so that they will taste great when dried.
Give The Herbs A Gentle Wash
You might be able to get away without washing some of the herbs if they don’t have the appearance of dirt on them, but those that look a bit dirty need to be gently washed. You can use a bowl of water to put them in and give them a gentle bath in it. Don’t touch them too much or you might bruise them.
Dry And Store The Herbs
Once the herbs are washed, you will need to find a good place for them to dry. You will want to keep the dried herbs out of the sun because the sunshine can ruin their flavor, and you will want to hang them upside down so they will dry quickly. Allow the air to dry them, and then get airtight containers to put them away. To store the herbs, remove the leaves from the dried plants and save them. Keep the containers in a cool part of your house to keep them fresh.
A Few Things To Keep In Mind For Dried Herbs
- Harvest them at an optimal time before they freeze.
- Make sure they are fully dried before you store them away.
- Store them away from moisture and sunshine.
See more about our herbs and spices here.
Transform your leftovers using spices
They say that fresh is best, but often, leftovers taste better the next day. Many, for example, think Thanksgiving Day turkey is great, but leftovers such as turkey sandwiches, perhaps with a little mayo and cranberry sauce, could sustain many for a week.
One way to really make those leftovers “zing” is by adding spices to them. Here are a few examples:
In India, they have a technique called “tadka,” which involves tempering spices by briefly heating spices in either oil or clarified butter in order to release the aroma of the spice.
Indian women who want to revive leftovers swear by taking a few cumin seeds, heating them along with a little onion in either clarified butter (ghee) or oil. Once the tadka is prepared, it is then mixed with yesterday’s dish, and you have a whole new and inviting meal.
Malaysian Fried Noodles
Have you ever cooked too much pasta and don’t have any spaghetti sauce to freshen it up for a meal. Most likely, since pasta is relatively cheap it went into the garbage, or maybe into your compost in the garden. But consider this recipe for Malaysian style fried noodles.
You add dried cloves, onions, ketchup, fish sauce, and sugar, (I personally like to add some white pepper as well,) add some pork or prawns, together with yesterday’s pasta along with some tomato and other vegetables, then heat it in a hot skillet with oil for a couple of minutes.
Spice-up leftover pizza
One thing that generally doesn’t taste better is yesterday’s leftover pizza. However, that’s because you don’t get creative with it. A popular Chicago pizza chain has these ideas: add mozzarella cheese, onion, pepper flakes, minced garlic, oregano, and melted butter together with some egg, and milk. Pour it over the leftover pizza and bake for 45 minutes.
Whether you ordered Chinese, Thai, or Indian, chances are you got too much rice and have two choices, throw it away or revive it. Throwing it away is so wasteful, so consider reviving it by frying it, then add onions, scallions, garlic, or ginger; chopped fresh or frozen and if you prefer some additional spices like cumin. Mix in a little hamburger meat and you’ve got something 10 times better than Hamburger Helper.
Look at our spices here.
Nutmeg is typically ground from evergreen tree seeds. It can be cultivated from any species within the genus myristica. It is made from the seed, and mace is made from the leftover webbing around the shell. Nutmeg has many uses. It was a staple of 18th-century cooking, and many people currently add it to sweet foods like cookies, oatmeal, and cake. Those who are wondering how this spice tastes should consider purchasing some raw seeds and grinding them for the freshest taste.
You should grate nutmeg fresh to preserve the flavor. If the natural oils dry out, then the taste will disappear. Whole seeds should be covered and stored in a cool place. An entire seed should provide approximately two or three teaspoons of ground spice. This spice also goes well with dairy products. It is often used in custards, puddings, and warm milk. Ice cream from Grenada often includes a lot of of this wonderful spice. Cooking with nutmeg is relatively simple. This spice can actually be used in just about any recipe. Some people add this spice to grilled steaks or popovers. Those who are considering cooking with this spice should start by using small amounts. Large quantities can overpower the flavor of a dish.
For delicious and timeless desserts, try baking with nutmeg. Try baking a cake can be made from nutmeg, sour cream, brown sugar, butter, cinnamon, and eggs. You can shop online to find a specialty product that suits your specific needs. This spice can be combined with:
When baking it’s important to remember that a small amount goes a long way.
How to Shop Nutmeg Online
It’s pretty easy to shop this spice online because the it’s inexpensive and easy to find. If you’re looking for a specialty product, then you may want to examine an online store that specializes in different spices. This spice has a very unique flavor and aroma. Learn more about the history of nutmeg, here.
Here is a list of herbs and spices to bring the spirit of the holidays to your home. These are simply the must-have spices for the holidays. You can do a quick google search of holiday spices online to find the best place to buy spices online.
Some more common ingredients include:
It can be used to make a deliciously cozy fall drink and is a key ingredient in the pinnacle of all holiday meals, Pie. You can find a pre-made spice mix in the grocery store, but they are often $5 for a few teaspoons. There is no need to purchase those overpriced plastic containers of pre-mixed herbs and spices from the store. Do a quick search for holiday spices online to find the best place to buy spices online. You won’t even have to leave your house!
You can make your own with just a few ingredients:
These are just a few of the must-have spices for the holidays. If you can’t find any of these herbs and spices in your local store, check out the best place to buy spices online.