How To Spice Things Up When Cooking

Large collection of metal bowls full of herbs and spices -How To Spice Things Up When CookingHerbs and spices are used to enhance the flavor of food, either it be for cooking spaghetti carbonara or baking an apple pie.

An herb or spice can be a seed, fruit, root, bark, berry, bud or leafy part of the plant. They are principally used for flavoring food among other uses. They can be used fresh or dried.

Herbs And Spices Through The Ages

It is said that by the Middle Ages, the most common spices and herbs being traded and used were black pepper, cinnamon (including the alternative cassia), cumin, nutmeg, ginger and cloves.

Herbs and spices are useful for many things, among others are medicinal uses, cosmetic or perfume production uses, and of course they are used add flavor to a meal.

By 1000 B.C. medical systems based upon herbs were found in China, Korea, and India. Also the Egyptians used herbs and spices for their embalming practices and their demand for exotic herbs and spices helped stimulate world trade.

Extracting A Spices Flavor

The flavor of an herb or spice is derived by exposing the volatile oil compounds of the seed or leafy part, that oxidize or evaporate when it comes in contact with air.

As an example, fresh ginger is usually more flavorful than its dried form, but fresh spices are more expensive and have a much shorter shelf life.

Flavor of herbs and spices can be maximized by storing them whole and grinding when needed, as grinding greatly increases its surface area and so increases the rates of oxidation and evaporation.

If you decide to use dried spices, be sure to use them within 6 to 8 months of purchase. Ground spices are better stored away from light, as it also increases the oxidation of the volatile oils.

metal bowls filled with spices

How To Use Herbs And Spices

When using herbs and spices you’ll want to pick flavors that complement each other, such as the spice mix known as “pumpkin pie spice.” The ratios of cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg add great flavor to the pie, and each spice doesn’t over power the other.

The key or rule of thumb to spicing things up is that less is more. Avoid adding too much all at once. Instead, add a little at a time and add more to taste.

A good example of over spicing and unable to fix it, is when you use oregano or cloves. Their volital oils are great for flavoring culinary and pastry dishes, but they are strong in flavor, and only require a small amount.

When using spices to flavor your meat or vegetables, use only 3 different types at a time. You can even use herbs and spice to replace salt. Choose your spice or spices, add a little lemon juice and unsalted butter.

Which spices pair well together for the best culinary dishes you can make? Let’s examine some of the most commonly used spices and which spices pair well with them.

Improve Your Health in the Kitchen Not the Medicine Cabinet

 

Improve Your Health in the Kitchen Not the Medicine Cabinet

When we don’t feel good, most of us might turn to the medicine cabinet. As it may have pain relievers for sore muscles or a headache, stomach ache, fever or even diarrhea. The medicine cabinet and what it may offer to you in times of failing health is only temporary.

Why not look to your kitchen to relieve your aches and pains? Are we crazy asking that question, you may say. There is only food in the kitchen. That is the point. Our health is dependent on what we are eating.

When you choose to start living a healthier lifestyle and look for alternative ways to better your health, have you ever considered what the kitchen has to offer you in this respect?

There are particular food ingredients, and there are many of them that have positive health benefits, that are actually good for your aches and pains.

What are they, you are asking?  They are herbs and spices.

Here are a few of those healthy spices and what they can do for you.

Cayenne Pepper – This is known as a spice with a zing to it. Many spicy dishes contain cayenne pepper, and for this reason some shy away from eating it.

But actually, you should embrace it and use it more often. It’s known to increase your fat burning metabolism so you help shed pounds by as much as 25%. It also is an anti-inflammatory spice, reducing pain.

Garlic - Improve Your Health in the Kitchen Not the Medicine Cabinet Ginger Ginger is known for its ability to help with nausea, but can also calm an aching stomach, as well as reduce acid reflux.

Cinnamon – This is an excellent spice to help aid the bowls with diarrhea attacks and an upset stomach. It coats and sooths the stomach and digestive lining.

Garlic – Garlic can help keep lower cholesterol levels and it can decrease your blood pressure. Garlic is also an anti-inflammatory, relieving pain.

Allspice - Improve Your Health in the Kitchen Not the Medicine Cabinet

 

Allspice – Allspice is a natural stimulant that can help relieve problems in the stomach with indigestion and gas. It works much like cinnamon, coating and soothing the digestive lining, relieving pain and inflammation.

Mustard – This is an excellent spice for those who suffer from respiratory problems.  It’s another stimulant that is a helpful aid in squashing respiratory ailments.

Peppermint - Improve Your Health in the Kitchen Not the Medicine Cabinet Peppermint – This is a pleasure-filled spice that is tasty and helps with insomnia.  As an added benefit, it can help with digestive disorders and also bouts of tension.

Turmeric – This is an antioxidant that defends against free radicals.  It is a great anti-inflammatory and reduces pain throughout the body.

Herbs and spices are more commonly known as methods used to liven up our food. What most don’t realize is that there are certain spices that actually help you lead a healthy life while making your food taste good.

The next time you’re planning your dinner menu, think to yourself, “What can I be doing for my health when I spice up our favorite recipes tonight?”

 

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Food as Medicine – How to Add Healing Power to Everyday Meals

Food as Medicine Have you ever heard the ancient saying, “Let your medicine be your food, and food be your medicine”? It’s a wise saying by Hippocrates, the ancient Greek physician, from who originates the Hippocratic Oath taken by doctors. Oddly, while modern doctors recognize Hippocrates’ contribution to medicine in the form of the Oath, the idea that our food can be our medicine is generally not included in the practice of modern medicine.

The good news is, foods are still “medicines,” and you can affect your health positively with the foods you eat. If you’d like to incorporate more healing herbs and foods into your diet, here are some tips that can help.

Herbs

The healing power of various herbs is becoming more and more recognized and accepted. Here are some of the more readily available herbs that you can add to your foods to boost their healing power.

ginger a Food as Medicine * Ginger is an effective anti-nausea remedy and has significant antibacterial properties. The fresh root, sliced or diced, can be added to stir-fries, and it can be candied and eaten out of hand.

* Oregano is a tasty herb when added to pizza, spaghetti, and so forth, is considered an antioxidant. Antioxidants help mop up “free radicals” in the body, which are by-products of the body’s metabolic processes. Free radicals are implicated in the development of arthritis and other inflammatory conditions. So sprinkle this herb on regular dishes that are Italian or Greek in flavor.

rosemary a Food as Medicine * Rosemary is another antioxidant herb, and may help enhance memory and prevent cataracts. It may even help prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. Rosemary is very good when used in meat marinades and sprinkled on dishes like pizza, focaccia, or pasta.

* Turmeric is commonly found in Indian curries. It has a yellowish color and earthy flavor, and is said to help reduce the pain and inflammation of arthritis. Turmeric can be added to soups and stews, curries, stir-fries, and other dishes.

Foods

The food you eat – not just the herbs you put on it – can help heal, too. Here are some suggestions.

garlic a Food as Medicine * Garlic is a powerful food for the prevention of colds and flu, and it has anti-fungal and antimicrobial properties. You can make garlic sauce for pasta, or add it to soups.  Onion a Food as Medicine Garlic a simple food can be the base ingredient for main dish meals you prepare.
* Onions are like garlic in their healthful properties. They are perhaps even more versatile; they can be made into a dish on their own or added to other foods.

Berries food as medicine* Berries are known for their antioxidant power. Add berries to salads or eat them out of hand. You can also freeze them and blend them into smoothies.

 

 

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