From as long as I can remember I have always loved cooking with herbs and spices.
A trip to my local spice store is like most kids going to a Candy store.
I am just in spice heaven, the fragrant aroma of all those spices together is so intoxicating.
I have two huge cabinets dedicated to just herbs and spices and you will be hard pressed to find a herb or spice that I don’t have. I never buy spice mixes, I love making my own blends and putting them in pretty little jars, they also make a great little
hostess gift. One trip in life I still have yet to make is to one of the Indian spice markets, I often watch them on the travel shows and feel so envious.
Can you imagine a whole open-air market dedicated to herbs and spices?
Oh I can just smell that sweet smell from here, one day a trip to India will be a reality.
How much should I buy?
Experts say that a good guide to spice buying, is to buy a one-year supply of ground spices and herbs and one to two years supply of whole spices.
The Governments guideline for freshness dating is four years for whole spices and two years for ground.
When in doubt about a spice, just smell it. If it still smells spicy and strong, use it or not its time to replace it.
How should I store my spices?
Spices must be stored correctly to properly maintain their strong, fresh flavor.
Light, heat moisture and air all speed up the loss of colour and flavor. DO NOT store your spices near a heat source. E.g. on top of the dishwasher, refrigerator, stove or microwave.
The best way to avoid light is to store inside a cupboard or drawer.
If your only option is an open spice rack then make sure it’s out of direct sunlight.
Some people say that all spices need to be stored in either the fridge or freezer, the only problem with that is they are often forgotten once stored out of the way. Whole, crushed and Ground Chili Peppers, Poppy seed and sesame seed will stay fresh
and more colourful if stored in this way.
Seven Miracle spices with huge health benefits
Spice up your life by using these herbs and spices.
As well tantalizing your taste buds, these have huge health benefits too, from keeping your heart healthy to reducing pain and some even say warding off Cancer.
Add a little heat to your dishes, to get the maximum amount of Capsaicin possible choose a spicy version.
Capsaicin, the ingredient that provides the plant with its spice also has many medical benefits that include pain relief, heart health, stopping ulcers and fighting prostate cancer.
If you can take a hot pepper then try habanero or Scotch Bonnet for something with a little less kick go for Spanish Pimentoes, Cherry Peppers or my favorite Jalapenos.
We already love and use cinnamon regular in Cinnamon rolls, raisin bread, pumpkin pie and even cinnamon sugar toppings.
But there are other ways to add more cinnamon to our diet, like adding it to coffee, sprinkle it on your morning oatmeal or stir it in to your peanut butter are just a few examples.
Cinnamon is known for helping to keep your arteries healthy, lower cholesterol and manage blood sugar levels.
I was a little shocked to discover that the brightly coloured Tumeric actually comes from the same family as ginger.
Which means that both plants can reduce inflammation in arthritis patients.
How often have we overlooked Parsley, its just used as a garnish to our main dish.
We always think it decorative, but then discard it giving little thought to its benefits.
But this early spring green has been connected to good health since the time of the Romans.
Today it is believed to help pass Kidney Stones, prevent buildup in the arteries and even to battle deafness.
Next time you shake Oregano on to that home made Hawaiian pizza, just remember you aren’t just adding a little classic Italian flavor to your slice but actually helping to fight off infection.
Oregano is a major source of Caravacol and Thymol, two major antibacterial agents that fight off infection.
It also has quadruple the antioxidants as blueberries.
What would my life be like without garlic? Love it or hate it, you can’t deny that garlic is good for you.
It’s a staple of most natural remedies. Studies show that it can stop blood clots from forming in your arteries with its antibacterial and antiviral effects.
It’s so easy to add garlic to our diet, try it roasted with other vegetables, on pizza, mixed in pasta or finely chopped in homemade spreads. Yum!!
The strong flavor of thyme, straight away makes you think comfort food.
Thick wintery stews, soups and roasts. The health benefits go far beyond just warming your body on a cold and blustery night.
This herb’s oil is antiseptic and antibacterial and studies have shown that this herb can help to kill MRSA infections, which are resistant to other antibiotics.
I can’t wait to hear all about how you use herbs and spices in your cooking.