Autumn is finally here! It’s such a wonderful time of year, perfect for baking all sorts of delicious treats, cuddling up by the fire, and watching your favorite movies. And there is no better way to ensure that your fall goodies come out perfectly than to make sure that you are using the best spices!
Now everyone has a pretty varied collection of spices hiding away in their pantry, but there are some spices that you want to make sure you have plenty of for this time of year! Another important thing to check for is that your spices are not too old! Oftentimes people will buy spices in large amounts and do not end up using the whole amount by the time the spice loses its potency. So be sure that you are buying the smaller containers of spices, even if you have to buy them more frequently.
Speaking of making sure that your spices do not lose potency, here are a couple of key things you want to do to prolong the shelf life of your spices. Always keep your spices in air-tight containers to protect them from moisture and oxidation. Keeping your spices in a dark cabinet or pantry will help as well to keep their color. Never store your spices above the stove or dishwasher, as the heat and humidity will rise up and quicken the rate at which your spices lose their quality.
Cinnamon has been used for thousands of years, from embalming, to anointing oils in rituals, and as seasoning for food. In fact, in Ancient Egypt, cinnamon was so sought after that it was valued higher than gold. There are two varieties of cinnamon, Ceylon and Cassia. Ceylon is often referred to as “true cinnamon” while Cassia is typically more commonly used. It has many health properties, including being a natural anti-inflammatory. Cinnamon has both anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties, which make it beneficial for controlling blood sugar and chronic inflammation. With such amazing health benefits, its a good thing that cinnamon is considered the top season of fall! So be sure to add some cinnamon to all of your fall baking goodies!
Another amazingly beneficial spice of the season is nutmeg. Nutmeg is also considered an aphrodisiac when used in small quantities. This spice is harvested to use as a spice for foods, butter, and even oils. Some of the benefits of nutmeg include pain relief, treatment for insomnia, digestion, and skincare. The easiest way to include this wonderful spice is to add a pinch of it to teas, soups, stews, or even to a glass of warm milk.
Cloves are a seasoning that originate from Asia, and uses of cloves date back to the 13th century. This spice has been used for centuries as a condiment but also for medicinal purposes. Cloves are especially helpful with preventing tooth decay, halitosis, headaches, reduction of stretch marks, and even as an insect repellent. An excellent way to use cloves are in tea, especially when they are whole. In general, whole spices are more flavorful as opposed to their ground counterparts.
Ginger is amazingly versatile and can be used ground, fresh, dried, as an oil, or juice. Not only is ginger loaded with nutrients, but it is one of the best ways to naturally cure a stomach ache. Ginger is highly effective in helping aid digestion and reducing nausea. It is also a favorite among pregnant women, as consuming ginger helps to relieve morning sickness. Another amazing benefit of ginger is that it has been shown to lower blood sugar levels of those with diabetes. Ginger can be used every day in a variety of foods such as soups, smoothies, teas, stir-fry, and meat marinades.
Allspice is unique in that it tastes like a combination of other spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, pepper, and cloves. However, it is simply a collection of dried berries from a single plant. Allspice can be used to help regulate overall digestion, and boost immunity. It is also a powerful antioxidant, as it contains large amounts of vitamin A, vitamin C, and eugenol. Along with these benefits, allspice is also considered good for improving brain function, metabolism, circulation, and heart health.