Some of you may have a whole cupboard full of spices. Others may have just the basics. Either way, many of us would like to use more spices, but are unsure, maybe even afraid of them. Hopefully you can learn a little more about a couple spices for your dishes besides the typical salt, pepper, and garlic. First, a few quick tips about the spices you might use:
- ~Although ground spices are more convenient than whole spices, (such as onion powder vs. Minced onion), they become stale quicker
- ~If stored properly, ground spices can last up to a year, while whole spices can last 3-5 years
- ~ Unless a recipe calls for it, try not to use more than three spices per dish.
- ~Avoid storing your dry spices by any humid source, such as a stove or coffee maker
- ~Seasoning food is an art, not a science, so have fun experimenting!
Interesting Fact: For the ancient Romans and Greeks, the herb was a symbol of lunacy. They believed that to successfully grow basil, one had to curse violently while sowing the seeds.
Basil's clove-like aroma makes it an ideal complement to tomatoes. Cloves also goes well with tomatoes. You can enhance salad and vegetables such as eggplant, zucchini, squash and spinach. It can also the flavor of vegetable and legume soups. It will bring out the best of the flavor if you add this spice within a half hour of cooking.
Basil also goes well with poultry when used in stuffing, or added to sauces or gravy. You can also spice up fish by brushing it wiht olive oil, fresh ground black pepper, and wrap it in foil and a few basil leaves for a great barbique dish.
Interesting Fact: Mexican and other Latin American dishes use chili powder regularly for unique flavor in their cultural dishes.
The powder is made from dried chilies, and is usually blended with garlic, onion, cumin, oregano, chili peppers, allspice, garlic, and salt. The color and spiciness of this can vary. It has an earthy, slightly sweet, and sometimes hot flavor. This spice usually dominates food rather than enhancing it, so be careful when using it!
Interesting Fact: Cilantro is often called Chinese parsley.
Cilantro has a daring flavor taht is commonly described as a combination of parsley, sage, and citrus. Cilantro adds flavor to many Latin American and Asian dishes such as stews, fish, curries, vegetables, tomato based sauces, and noodle dishes. Cilantro often goes well with white rice to make a simple dinner side.
Interesting Fact: Cinnamon can actually help with weight loss. Sprinkle a little in your oatmeal or yogurt for a skinny fun flavor.
Cinnamon has a characteristic earthilke, sweet flavor that is warming to taste. It is available whole, as cinnamon sticks, and ground. It is used in spiced vegetable dishes, meats, stews, and curries. We mostly see it in sweet dishes such as breads, pies, and cookies.
Interesting Fact: The name Oregano comes from two Greek words meaning "the joy of the mountain".
This spice is a member of the mint family, and one of the essential components in pizza. It is great for flavor to add to fish, meats and sauces. It also goes well with vegetables, roast beef, chicken and pork. Oregano can also be used in soups, stews, and even eggs. Go ahead a try it!
This dazzling red powder is a decorative spice that contributes to color and sweet pepper flavor. It is mostly found in a ground form. You will often see it as a garnish for light-colored foods such as fish, potatoes, eggs, and cheese dishes. It is also a common addition to many marinades and sauces. Unlike most spices, paprika should be kept in the refrigerator to retain its red color.
Let me know how your dishes turn out! Happy seasoning! ~Healthygirl