15 Flavorful Facts On Spices
- All spices are rich in various types of antioxidants, making them a tasty way to bolster the body’s defenses against different diseases and illnesses.
- Those living in hot climates tend to cook with more spices because the spices inhibit spoilage. Taste preferences are passed on genetically, and those who eat the most seasoned food tend to be healthiest, live longer, and have more offspring.
- Herbs come from the leaves of plants while spices are produced from other parts (bark, buds, roots, seeds, etc). Some herbs and spices with very different flavors can come from the same plant, such as cilantro leaves and coriander seeds.
- The best all-around anti-microbial spices are thyme, cinnamon, tarragon, and cumin. Spicy chilies and hot peppers kill up to 75% of bacteria, while black pepper, ginger, celery seed, and lemon juice kill about 25% of bacteria.
- Some spices—especially cinnamon and garlic—appear to have a pronounced beneficial effect on blood lipids, making them a good choice for heart health.
- Nutmeg and mace come from the same seed, but nutmeg is the seed while mace is the lacy reddish covering on the seed. Mace has a similar flavor to nutmeg but is slightly more pungent.
- Fenugreek can safely help increase milk supply in nursing mothers.
- Saffron threads are stigmas from flowers cultivated in the Middle East. The flowers bloom for only one week of the year, and each flower produces only three threads that must be hand-harvested; it’s no wonder that saffron is expensive! Saffron has a unique flavor that adds a distinctive and sophisticated touch to dishes.
- Oregano has strong anti-microbial properties, improves blood sugar, kills cancer cells, and can even function as a powerful antiseptic used in food packaging and the medical industry.
- Researchers in Brazil found an antioxidant in parsley, thyme, chamomile, and red pepper that improves neuron formation and strengthens the connections between brain cells.
- Historically, spices were a valuable currency for trade. They were prized for not just food seasoning, but also medical purposes. Many modern pharmaceuticals are based on compounds originally found in spices and plants.
- Cinnamon has many benefits including blood sugar management, anti-microbial properties, heart benefits, cancer prevention, and even brain-boosting properties.
- Cayenne and other spicy peppers have been shown to increase metabolic rate and aid weight loss. Spicy peppers also aid digestion and have been shown to cut cancer risk.
- Turmeric contains powerful antioxidants that work well as an anti-inflammatory and can even act as an alternative to traditional over-the-counter pain relievers. With a slightly pungent and sweet flavor, Tumeric is very popular in Indian cuisine. Its vibrant golden hue works well as a natural alternative to food coloring—you might just see it in organic macaroni and cheese!
- Foods that are well-seasoned can be more palatable with less salt. Before reaching for the saltshaker, see first that your food is seasoned well with herbs, spices, and something sour such as vinegar or lemon juice. These alternatives can enhance a salty flavor without adding more salt.
Visit your local Brookshire Brothers to find your spice!
What is the pistachio and where did it originate?
When and where do they grow now?
How are they picked?
Are pistachios good for you?
How much should you eat per day?
Raw vs. Roasted Pistachios: Which one is better?
What to do with pistachio nuts?
Apricot-Pistachio Rolled Pork
- To cut pork roast into a large rectangle that can be filled and rolled, cut lengthwise about 1/2 inch from top of pork to within 1/2 inch of opposite edge; open flat. Repeat with other side of pork, cutting from the inside edge to the outer edge; open flat to form rectangle.
- Sprinkle apricots, 1/2 cup nuts, the garlic, salt and pepper over pork to within 1 inch of edge. Tightly roll up pork, beginning with short side. Secure with toothpicks, or tie with string. Pierce pork all over with metal skewer. Brush brandy over entire surface. Let stand 15 minutes. Brush again with remaining brandy. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours but no longer than 24 hours.
- Heat oven to 325°F. Place pork, fat side up, on rack in shallow roasting pan. Insert meat thermometer so tip is in thickest part of pork. Roast uncovered 1 hour 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in 2-quart saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in cracker crumbs, 2 tablespoons nuts and garlic salt; cook and stir 1 minute. Cool slightly.
- Brush preserves over pork. Sprinkle with crumb mixture. Roast uncovered 30 to 60 minutes longer or until thermometer reads 160°F. Cover and let stand 15 minutes before serving for easier carving.
- Heat oven to 350°F. Line cookie sheet with Reynolds Parchment Paper; set aside. In large bowl, stir together cookie mix, pudding mix and flour. Stir in melted butter and eggs until soft dough forms. Add pistachios and cranberries; mix well.
- Using small cookie scoop or teaspoon, drop dough 2 inches apart on lined cookie sheet. Press with fingers to slightly flatten.
- Bake 9 to 11 minutes or until edges are light golden brown. Cool 2 minutes; remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely. Store tightly covered at room temperature.
Fun Hatch Facts:
- One fresh medium-sized green chile has as much Vitamin C as six oranges.
- Green chiles are also a great source of Vitamin A, Vitamin B, and fiber.
- Capsaicinoids—the chemical that make chile peppers spicy—are used in muscle patches for sore and aching muscles, as well as pepper spray!
- You might think that green and red chiles are different types of peppers, but they are in fact fruit of the same plant picked at different times. The red chile is the fully ripened version of the green chile.
- These spicy peppers are finding their way into everything—sauces, breads, cheeses, even ice cream! Check your local store for all the available Hatch chile products.
How to: Roasted Hatch Chiles
- Broiler: Preheat broiler on high. Place chiles on a baking sheet and place under the broiler for 6-10 minutes, turning often, until chile skins blacken and blister.
- Charcoal or Gas Grill: Preheat grill and place chiles 4-6 inches from heat. Cook, turning often, until chile skins blacken and blister.
- Gas Stove: Turn stove to high. Using tongs, hold chiles over flames, turning often, until skins blacken and blister.
Hatch Chile Deviled Eggs
2 teaspoons juice from a jar of sliced jalapeños
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, minced
½ teaspoon oregano
1 Hatch chile, roasted, skin and seeds removed, finely diced
paprika, for sprinkling
Roasted Hatch Chile and Peach Salsa
View other recipes from Brookshire Brothers Catering Coordinator, Kate Rudasill.
Kate Rudasill, Catering Coordinator for Brookshire Brothers, has been in the food-service industry for the past 14 years. As a graduate of Texas A&M University, a student of The Texas Culinary Academy, and a Nacogdoches, Texas native, Kate grew up with Southern tradition in her blood which caused her to have a deep love for bringing people together with food.