When we say the word “spice” these days, people will most likely think of something spicy and chili-forward but today I want to shed some light on the warm spices – like aromatic cloves, nutmeg, ginger, allspice and of course cinnamon. They’re not just for apple pie, cookies and cinnamon rolls either.
In ancient times, spices were used as currency to do all types of trade and these warm spices have been used from Morocco to China for thousands of years.
In the Middle East, you will commonly find these flavors used for savory rubs on meats like lamb and in curries and stews. In India, cinnamon will often be used to flavor rice.
They are not only delicious, lots of research has shown these spices have been linked to amazing health benefits, like reducing blood pressure, improving cholesterol levels, and lowering heart disease risks.
Grandma may have told you to chew on a clove for a toothache, but now we know it’s because they’re great as an anti-inflammatory and have beneficial antioxidants. Did you know allspice has amazing detoxifying benefits too?
It’s easy to spice things up with these warm and flavorful spices. If you’re a juicer, try adding a pinch of your favorite aromatic spice blend to your recipe, or add in a cinnamon stick and a few cloves to your next batch of steamed rice, pasta sauce, or vegetables stew. For something sweet, mix 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon and nutmeg into your favorite cocoa mix for a wonderful hot cocoa. They also add wonderful warmth to coffees and teas. If you toast your spices before you add them to your dishes, it opens them up and brings out their flavors even more.
These simple spice staples can make a regular dish exotic in no time so try experimenting with warm spices in your dishes and find your new favorite “secret ingredient”– Kathy
Spice Blend Seasoning Guide
Apply spice blends more liberally than just salt and pepper since there are a lot of other ingredients besides the S&P. Also, you may want to put the spices on meat and seafoods a little while before cooking to allow the flavors time to penetrate.
Use about 1/8 – 1/4 teaspoon per large shrimp or scallop, about 1/2 teaspoon per small chicken breast or fish fillet, and about 3/4 – 1 teaspoon for a large steak.
Perfectly Persian Spice
A great blend to season up chicken, lamb, pork, grilled eggplant, onions or white fish.
Makes about scant 1/2 cup
1/4 cup kosher salt
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. mild curry powder
2 tbsp. sugar
Mix ingredients together well. Store in an airtight container if not using immediately. Be sure to re-mix after storing because ingredients will settle out a bit.
Star Anise Sprinkle
Sprinkle on tuna, salmon, chicken, duck, pork, sautéed or roasted carrots, steamed rice, or use in a quick onion or cucumber pickle.
Makes 1/2 cup
2 whole cinnamon sticks, broken into pieces
1/4 cup star anise
2 tsp. whole black peppercorns
1 tsp. whole coriander seeds
1 1/2 tsp. dry orange peel
1/4 cup kosher salt
2 tbsp. sugar
In a spice grinder or small coffee grinder, process spices to a medium-ground consistency; do not grind too fine. Mix spices with salt and sugar.
Copyright 2016 by Kathy Casey.