Do you use spices in your kitchen?
They are a great way to add flavour without added sugars, salts and fillers. In the winter I can’t get enough homemade mulling spices with the cold pressed apple juice we made from our orchard. These warming spices when bought organic and not irradiated are a very beneficial to add our diet.
The Ceylon Cinnamon is loaded with vitamin K and E giving it strong anti-oxidant, antibacterial and antiviral properties. The perfect combination to help avoid the seasonal flu going around or that pesky head cold. Ceylon cinnamon is also known to help balance blood sugars and has been used since 2000BC for joint pain and digestive troubles. The adequate amounts of manganese and calcium can be beneficial to peoples with type 2 diabetes and hypertension. You can add cinnamon to oatmeal, smoothies, or roasted vegetables.
Nutmeg is another component of my mulling spices brings warmth. In Chinese and East Indian cultures it is used as an aphrodisiac. These features are due to the nutrients potassium, manganese and zinc supporting the cardiovascular system. Phytochemical’s in nutmeg also calm the mind while they can also stimulate other parts of the brain acting like an antidepressant. Nutmeg goes well with sweet vegetables or squash, also great with chicken or turkey and curry.
Star Anise is reported to yield a fair amount of Shikimic Acid, which used in medications for treatment of influenza. It is also loaded with the B vitamins; niacin(b3), pyridoxine(b6), pantothenic acid(b5)and riboflavin(b2). B vitamins help with in energy metabolism improving the way oxygen is used by he body. Star anise seed has a sweet licorice-like flavour and can be used to infused soups and stews.
Cloves in small amounts is known to have many beneficial properties. It contains eugenol having local anesthetic and antiseptic properties. Vitamin A, beta carotene, vitamin C, vitamin K act as the anti-inflammatory factors. The cloves properties together increase gut motility and improve gastrointestinal enzyme secretions. Cloves are used in many recipes and taste great with pork brines, seasonal winter drinks and curry’s.
I usually make a batch of spices to last me through the season, but not more than that. Spices start to oxidate causing them to lose flavour and nutritional benefits.
What to look for in the store!
Though this symbol may look friendly and clean this means the product labeled has been irradiated
Here in Canada to
avoid pesticides and herbicides grow your own or look for this symbol.
Support fairtrade farming practice to ensure labor was done with fair pay and work conditions.
Almost all spices on the market, unless specifically stated as “non–irradiated” have undergone a process of ionized radiation in order to increase shelf life and kill any possible bacteria existing on the herb or spice.
Where they take one of three types of radiation; gamma, x-ray or electron beam and blast away bacteria or insects to extend self life. Except not all bacteria are bad for us, we have now proven that bacteria that there is more bacteria DNA in our Bodies than our own. The radiation also damages the nutrient value of the food rendering somethings useless for our health.
We sourced out a local juice company to cold press 140 pounds of apples and 10 pounds of pears into a rich textured nectar that has been oh so hard to moderate until next harvest. We ended up with about 70 litres of cold press juice full of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Once pressed and bottled we froze it to preserve it.
Mulled spices will work in store purchased apple juice if fresh cold pressed juice is not an option. Many also like to make mulled wine for special occasions with a similar recipe of spices.
Mulling Spice Recipe
Yield 15 servings
Total Time: 15 minutes Prep Time: 5 mintes
8 ceylon cinnamon sticks
6 whole nutmeg
1/3 cup dried orange peel
1/3 cup dried lemon peel
1/3 cup star anise seed
1/4 cup whole clove
1/4 cup all spice berries
With a mortar and pestle or ziplock and rolling pin grind up the cinnamon sticks and put into a bowl. After crush and grind up the whole nutmeg, add it to the same bowl. Chop the orange and lemon peel into small pieces. All other spices can remain whole and be mixed in. I store in glass mason jars in my spice cupboard.
Mulling spices are so flexible and can easily be changed by adding and removing other herbs and spices. Don’t be afraid to add in cayenne or peppercorns to your mulling spices for more depth.
Soil is more than just dirt…the state of our soil impacts everything from human health to climate change.