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Fall Spices

by Veronica Csak on October 24, 2016

During this fall season, you’re going to want to include in your kitchen the spices responsible for staple recipes and notorious flavors.  Nutmeg, allspice, cloves, and (of course) cinnamon are ingredients we have to thank for some of our favorite things, like pumpkin spice and chai.  Other than the flavors these spices bring us, they also have numerous health benefits.  These items have been used as natural remedies for a variety of issues.  Studies have even shown that these nutmeg and allspice have been linked to fighting cancerous cells.  With that said, it’s time to start making some delicious and healthy pumpkin pies!

Healthier-Pumpkin-Pie

Click to view the Healthier Pumpkin Pie Recipe

Nutmeg is one of two spices grown on the evergreen tree. It’s native to Indonesia, but this spice is used worldwide.  The Europeans valued nutmeg and strongly believed it could be worn to protect themselves from getting the plague.  Some of the beneficial vitamins and minerals found in nutmeg are vitamin B-6, manganese, dietary fiber, thiamin, folate, magnesium, and copper.  Health benefits of nutmeg may include pain relief, soothed indigestion, strengthened blood circulation, body detoxification, reduced insomnia, reduced cholesterol (LDL), relieved stress to boost concentration, improved oral health, and enhanced skin health.  A study has linked this ingredient to fight carcinogenesis by killing cancerous leukemia cells.  The essential oil in nutmeg has been used for its anti-inflammatory properties making in a natural remedy for pain relief and topical skin care.  Nutmeg in large quantities has been found to induce hallucinatory effectsso be sure to measure this ingredient carefully.

Allspice is a commonly used spice in Mexico and Central America being that it grows on the pimento evergreen tropical shrub.  Essential oils in allspice allow it to be used for medicinal purposes because of its anti-inflammatory, rubefacient, and anti-flatulent properties.  There are a variety of minerals found in allspice, such as potassium, manganese, iron, copper, selenium, and magnesium.  Significant vitamins found in allspice include vitamins A, B-6, C, riboflavin, and niacin.  These vitamins and minerals are essential elements to fuel the body and should be included in daily consumption.  Further studies have found the compound ericifolin in allspice which is associated with fighting prostate cancer.

Cloves are the spice derived from the unopened flower buds of an evergreen clove tree.  They are packed with nutrients, flavonoids, and the active component, eugenol.  These constituents are responsible for the the anti-inflammatory properties in this spice.  Alike to allspice, clove oil also acts as a rubefacient, meaning that it provides warmth to the body by expanding blood cells to increase blood flow.  Clove oil is popular in dentistry because it can be used as a topical anesthetic, especially for toothaches.  Eugenol is the essential oil that gives cloves their unique aroma therefore allowing it to be used in aromatherapy.  Besides the health benefits, cloves produce a sweet and intense flavor when used in dishes, try our apple pie for example!

One of the most popular spices is cinnamon.  It can be used in a variety of food dishes, drinks, and home remedies.  Cinnamon is the dried bark from trees in the cinnamomum family, mainly the cassia.  In 2000 BC, Egyptians used to import it from China because it was believed to be a scared spice.  Cinnamon has high antioxidant activity due to its polyphenol content, which protect the body from free radicals therefore protecting our cells.  These antioxidants also have anti-inflammatory properties.  Cinnamon also has been associated with the prevention of carcinogenesis.  In a study observing mice with colon cancer, cinnamon acted as a potent enzyme detoxifier in the fight against cancerous cell growth.  The antibacterial properties of cinnamon also help cure acne, making it an easy component to add to your skin care regime.  This spice enhances the flavors of fruits and vegetables in a variety of dishes and can be used all year round.  Whether you crave something sweet or savory, cinnamon can add the perfect flavors to your dish!

Ann’s Tips

Spices never actually go bad and spoil, however they do lose their potency.  If you notice your spices have been sitting on the shelf for over a year, it’s probably time to restock.  Try purchasing whole spices, they stay fresher for a longer period of time and grinding them yourself will ensure a fuller flavor.  Some of the freshest spices can be purchased at a local farmers’ market.  The best way to store your spices is in an airtight, cool, and dark place.  The limited exposure to heat and light will maintain your spices’ potency.  Lastly, these spices should be measured carefully due to their intense flavor.

Recipe Tips

Adding these spices to simple meals will not only give you flavorful dishes, but an antioxidant and nutritious boost too.  A delicious in season beverage you can try is our almond milk chai tea containing cinnamon and ground cloves.  If you prefer savory dishes, you can try our turkey stuffed apples.  Another fall must have is butternut squash soup and we’ve got you covered with this simple and nourishing recipe.

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