Cooking with ingredients that are fresh and in-season is sensible and inexpensive, this same method applies for seasonings as well. One of the many great features about spices is that they can be used in both meals and dessert dishes. Spice and warm up your winter meals with these 8 spices:
Who doesn’t love cinnamon? When you think of winter, cinnamon is truly among the most prominent spices, because it’s sweet and potent taste makes the perfect addition to not just desserts, but also many hot winter drinks including hot coco and coffee.
Whatever you do, do not eat cinnamon by the spoonful. This can be bad for your lunges and not to mention the taste of plain cinnamon is horrible. However, this can become a healthy addition by adding it to your tea with some lemon juice and honey, this helps with cold and flu season.
Use cinnamon in spice blends for things like curry or a jerk seasoning. But even just bringing the smell of cinnamon in your home with cinnamon sticks has a warming, cozy feeling.
The asian spice ginger is versatile, really well known and obviously one of the main ingredients in gingerbread. Ginger is great for settling upset stomachs too, so make a ginger tea the next time your stomach is upset. Just steep it in hot water. You can use ginger in desserts, to season roasted vegetables and meats, and for seafood and stir fries. It’s the perfect complement in soups like carrot or sweet potato soups. Typically I will add ginger to my morning coffee as well.
Nutmeg has a very strong, sweet taste, while also being quite pungent. It taste great sprinkled over vegetables, especially squash and spinach. You can use it to spice both red and white meats, fish, desserts, and white sauces. Of course it’s integral in your eggnog, but go ahead and try it in other drinks like coffee, tea, or hot cocoa. When you are going for the sweet and savory taste with nutmeg, remember that a little goes a long way, be subtle when using nutmeg.
This spice is the dried berry of the Jamaican pepper tree which can sometimes be mistaken for peppercorn. The allspice berry is best when dried before it reaches its full maturity, because this is when it possesses the most flavor. Allspice is used in many Caribbean and Latino dishes and it’s great in savory and sweet dishes. It makes great tomato and barbecue sauces as well as great desserts such as applesauce, fruit compotes, and oatmeal cookies. It couples well with cloves and cinnamon for a delicious spice cake.
Generally known as the “Queen of Spices,” this spice comes from India and is smoky in flavor. Cardamom mixes well with citrus flavors. It’s great in sweet and savory dishes like curries and rice. Ground cardamom can be used in soups, pates, stews, and purees. Add a few seeds of cardamom to rice pudding, ice cream, custard, or sprinkled over fresh fruit. Cardamom can also be used to treat indigestion or other stomach problems and it’s a natural diuretic.
These are dry flower buds of a tree native to Indonesia. Cloves are great in roasted meats – think ham, baked beans, split pea or bean soup, desserts like apple pie, stewed and baked fruits, and pickles. Add cloves to broccoli or cabbage to aid in the digestion of these vegetables. Flavor soups and barbecue like sauces with cloves. Added to curries and other spicy dishes it will help with the heat.
Cloves make for a great home remedy for toothaches and other mouth or throat problems. A clove is also great for skin problems like acne or even scars on the eye. Wet the clove with some water and apply it directly to the eye. Cloves have a soothing, warming effect that really helps with home remedies.
This spice comes from the cilantro plant. The seeds of coriander have a flavor similar to lemon peel. It’s perfect for tempering other spices that are too pungent or that you have over spiced with. It’s great at balancing out flavors.
Coriander works particularly well with cumin. This is great in Latin American cuisine like enchiladas or even in a pot of beans. It can also be found in many curry dishes. It’s perfect in spice rubs for chicken and fish. Lightly toasting them really brings out the flavor. Use them un-toasted in sweet dishes.
8. Star Anise
This spice that has a strong licorice taste. Star anise is used in many Asian dishes. Try it in fresh and pickled fruits, soups, stews, braising broths, curries, stir-fries, and with pork. It adds a sweet licorice pepper flavor to savory dishes. Use it sparingly, but making a braise for meat with it is great. Mix it with broth, onion, and soy sauce. These flavors work well with star anise to naturally intensify the flavor of the meat.
The winter is about warm and hearty foods and all of these spices work well in soups and stews. That’s what makes them all great ingredients to add that extra flavor to your dishes and many of them can even be used for health benefits. Many people get sick in the wintertime, but by adding these spices you might just help keep the sickness at bay. So experiment with all of these great winter spices and really embrace each and every one of them.