Spices to Bring to Your Next Camping Trip
Everyone is a fan of delicious food. After spending all day on various outdoor activities while camping, the least you can do is prepare a delightful and flavorful meal by cooking with spices. Being outdoors should not be an excuse to eat mediocre food. Therefore, during your next camping trip, don’t forget the spices.
Salt alone cannot do the magic. However, since you want to pack light, you might not carry all your spices. Here are some essentials that can spice up your trip.
Cinnamon goes along with almost every meal. Besides making your meals in the wilderness taste better, it also has many health benefits. For instance, it has been proven to lower both cholesterol and blood sugar levels. You can add cinnamon to your yogurt or coffee in the morning or your hot apple juice after a long day for a kick.
Cayenne pepper is definitely every kitchen essential, including your camping kitchen. It comes in handy when preparing some chili for your family or friends. You can also add it to other dishes, like Mexican food.
Turmeric might not sound like an essential, especially during a camping trip. However, if you appreciate cooking with spices, you might want to bring it along with you. It goes well with beef and chicken. You can also use turmeric to spice up your freshly caught fish as well as giving your rice a pop of color. Just like cinnamon, it also has some health benefits. It helps with digestion and serves as an excellent anti-inflammatory.
Curry powder is a blend of many Indian spices, making it very rich with flavor. You can use it to prepare vegetable stews as well as meats. Since curry powder is a combination of many spices, you can ditch other spices and still achieve a bold flavor.
Since people season their food differently, you might need to experiment prior to the camping trip. That way, you will know what combination works for you and who you will be going with. Prepare a packing list so that you don’t forget the spices. Remember to pack your spices in waterproof containers.
See our varieties of spices here.
In Indian culture, it is a rare occurrence not to use garam masala when preparing dishes. It can be used with other seasonings or just alone. In the Northern part of India this mixture of seasonings is usually powdery. In contrast, in the Southern India it is made into a paste using water, coconut milk, or vinegar.
The seasoning comes from a blend of ground spices prevalent in Indian cooking, from soups to lentil dishes. The terms garam and masala means “hot” and “spices” respectively. So the name of this Indian blend of spices translates loosely to “warming spices.” As the translation suggests, this blend of spices serves the purpose of heating or warming the body and boosting the rate of metabolism.
Varieties of the Ingredients in the Spice
Before cooking with this spice, understand that its recipe tends to vary. The ingredients used for blending differ from one region to another because of individual taste and preference of a chef.
In the northern Indian region this ground spices blend usually only employs the use of black pepper as the hot element and mostly puts more effort into having sweet, aromatic spices. Cook with this northern blend if you want the spicing to be more mild.
In Southern India, the spice is much hotter because they use red chilies as part of the ingredients.
Cooking with this spice has been around for generations and its origin is thought to be in Northern India. Northern India has colder seasons so it is understandable why the use of warming spices is more widespread there. At present, the use of the seasonings blend is spread throughout India.
What is used to make the blend of garam masala?
Often the ground spices mixture is comprised of:
• Black pepper
Other ingredients that may also be used for the different varieties or recipes of the seasoning blend include dried red chilies, fenugreek, turmeric, tamarind, mustard seeds, etc.
To sum it up
When a person uses garam masala, it helps enhance the flavors of dishes and reduces the amount of other seasonings used. Adding it to your vegetables, chicken, rice, baked potatoes, even as simple as in your mayonnaise to liven up a sandwich can do wonders for you. The different ingredients used in the spice come with different health benefits including improving digestion and metabolism and increasing body temperature. Use this spice blend today to realize the many benefits.
Here is a link to buy our blend.
Cooling Spices for Summer
Summer heat can cause skin irritation, rashes, acne, sweating and body odor, and other risks such as heat stroke. Keeping the body cool during the summer months is critical. A form of Ayurveda,which is a type of ancient Indian medicine, involves using spices to prompt cooling of the body. As far as antioxidants and bioactive compounds are concerned, spices are among the most potent available. The 5,000-year-old Ayurveda food philosophy recommends using any combination of spics when outside temperatures soar to their hottest. These cooling herbs and spices can regulate body heat and help a person feel comfortable and fresh all summer long. Here is a list of the best ones for summer.
1. Organic Mint
Mint relieves bad breath but the perennial herb also works wonderfully in summer drinks such as lemonade and on top of a fresh salad. Growing mint is easy and a great hobby for families as well.
2. Organic Fennel Seed
Fennel seed is available in almost any supermarket. It is a spice that stimulates intestinal juices, in turn promoting proper digestion. The seed ranks high on the list of cooling spices used in ancient Indian medicine that should be a part of your diet. Fennel seed works wonderfully in a myriad of dishes.
Fresh cilantro is popular in Mexico and Thailand, where it’s been used for thousands of years for its wonderful flavor and health benefits. Use cilantro in more dishes during the summer since it ranks high as one of the best cooling herbs and spices recommended by Ayurveda medicine.
Ayurveda medicine uses coriander often as a cooling spice. It’s commonly used in Europe, North Africa, India, and China. It’s filled with health-promoting properties. Actually the seed of the cilantro plant, coriander adds flavor to almost any vegetable or meat in addition to its health benefits.
Cardamom is excellent for digestive purposes. It also helps stabilize blood sugar levels. Many people add it to their tea or almond milk, as well as in yogurt.
Cumin and cumin seeds should be added in small amounts to dishes. It’s flavorful and makes a wonderful detox. It helps ease gas and bloating. Use cumin and cumin seeds in grain dishes and vegetables.
Take our advice and get some of these here to help stay cool this summer.
What can I use Chimichurri for?
Chimichurri sauce may be unfamiliar to many, particularly those who are not familiar with South American cuisine. So what is Chimichurri? Chimichurri is an uncooked South American green sauce prepared using red wine vinegar, olive oil, fresh herbs, garlic, oregano, parsley, and other spices.
The sauce originated in the rural areas of Argentina and Uruguay. This sauce comes in both red and green versions. This uncooked and vibrant sauce, also known as Argentinian pesto, can be used in many ways including;
• As a dipping spice
• A marinade
• A condiment to drizzle over vegetables, meat, and more.
Ways to use Chimichurri Sauce
In most cases, this Argentinian pesto is served with steak. However, there should be no limits when using it. The sauce is also great on vegetables for vegetarians, it also works great on grilled chicken and fish.
Another great way to use chimichurri is by using it as a dip for toasted crusty bread. When it comes to this sauce, it is almost guaranteed that once you start using it, you will always find yourself looking for more ways to liven up your meal with it. To enjoy chimichurri for long period of time, keep a batch of the sauce in the fridge and sprinkle it on your meals throughout the week.
Other ideas on how to use Chimichurri
• You can brush the sauce on your kebabs after grilling them.
• When serving tacos, you can dab a spoonful of the pesto on them.
• Chimichurri can also be used as a substitute for mustard on hamburgers and hotdogs.
• It can be added to roasted potatoes.
• The sauce can be used as a tangy and light dressing for a vegetable pasta salad.
• When preparing a vegetable pizza, you can drizzle over after baking to add a zesty touch.
• You can substitute mayonnaise or use mix them both for a sandwich spread.
• You can sprinkle the sauce over a sunny side up egg to serve with toast.
How to store the South American sauce
Although chimichurri is best when prepared fresh, it can also be refrigerated for several days. However, the herbs wilt fast becoming less vibrant. Additionally, you can freeze the pesto in an ice cube tray but the herbs will be somewhat less vibrant.
Cooking with Ancho Peppers
A popular trend in cooking is to eat Mexican, Tex Mex, and southwestern cuisine with as much heat as the mouth can tolerate. Using peppers when preparing certain foods adds spice and flavor to your favorite meals. There are many varieties of peppers, and one that is normally used is the ancho pepper. Many may ask what are ancho peppers. These are the dried version of the poblano peppers that stay on the vines until they are ripened, turned red, harvested, and dried. They have a smoky quality, and sweet heat. Knowing how to use ancho chile, which is the ancho pepper ground up, is very important so as not to have foods too spicy. Cooking with ancho peppers adds a smokey, spicy flavor to any dish.
How to use ancho chile
When cooking with ancho peppers, it is essential to understand that although they have a moderately mild heat they still have a kick. On the Scoville Heat Units, the ancho peppers measure between 1,000 and 2,000 compared to a bell pepper which measures 0 and the jalapeño which measures 5,00. You know where you stand with the ancho pepper, and how much to use. The ancho peppers are normally re-hydrated before using. Place them in hot water for up to 30 minutes, and they are ready to use. Seed and stem them first, then they are ready to season sauces, stews, soups, salsa, and any food that you want to add some spice to. Learning how to use ancho chile is as easy as adding any other spices to your food when you want a mild to moderate heat content.
Other uses for ancho peppers
When someone asks what are ancho peppers, a good answer would be that they are the seasonings used for chili powder that gives chili that awesome flavor. The peppers are ground while they are still dried to make the chili powder, and can be used in many other recipes besides chili. the southwest region of the United States are not the only people who enjoy the spicy foods often prepared in Mexican cuisine. The ancho peppers have made their way into the flavoring of foods that are often used in many other cultures.
Here is a link to our ancho chile peppers.
See more of our spices here.
What Makes Saffron so special?
The way we value anything is largely dependent on the effort we put into getting it. This is especially true of saffron of which is asked why so special. Why is it “one of the most precious spices in the world”? Its highly labor-intensive production is one factor that makes it a most expensive spice.
What is saffron?
It comes from the saffron crocus flower. There are three stigmas in the center of each flower. These must be manually taken out, placed on a sieve to dry over a heat source to enhance the flavor. According to one source, it can take more than 75,000 flowers harvested by hand to make one pound of it. With so much labor going into the production of saffron it must be considered special.
The many uses and health benefits derived from the use of saffron also makes it a special spice. Research suggests that this spice is:
• an aphrodisiac, among the health benefits associated with its use.
• It also offers protection against cancer. Crocin, which it contains has been found to prevent the formation of malignant cells and trigger cell death for different types of human cancer.
• While not affecting normal body cells, it also stimulates immune cells that help destroy cancer cells.
Studies have also shown that crocin is useful for age-related mental problems and is used in treating memory loss, Parkinson’s disease, and inflammation. Saffron is also useful as a stimulant. A pinch in a tablespoon of milk is useful to promote hormone production in underdeveloped girls. As an aphrodisiac, it can be used for low libido to be taken at bedtime. Mixed in licorice and milk, saffron also is an effective topical application to promote hair growth. It is also an effective treatment for cold and fever that gives quick relief.
There are other ways in which this spice is used including it as food additives. It is also a culinary treasure that is used in combination with other condiments, to marinate fish and add color and a rich aroma to cakes and other foods and drinks.
The labor that goes into producing what is saffron and the many ways in which it is useful, makes it an incredibly special spice.
Come see our saffron here.
Eat Cinnamon Every Day For Better Health
Cinnamon rolls. Cinnamon toast crunch. Cinnamon apple crisp. These cinnamon-based dishes are not only delicious, but you may be surprised to hear that the cinnamon in them provides a wealth of health benefits, too. There are many health benefits of cinnamon that you may not have known about. After reading the following list, you may begin using cinnamon in your everyday cooking and food preparation more and more.
Cinnamon has antioxidants
Antioxidants are chemical compounds that inhibit oxidation. Oxidation is a chemical reaction that can produce free radicals in your body that may cause damage to your cells and lead to degenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and cancer. Cinnamon is chock-full of antioxidants. It even has more than the presumably healthier “superfoods” such as garlic or oregano. Therefore, a steady diet of cinnamon may help bring you to the regular level of antioxidants you need to avoid contracting these terrible diseases.
Cinnamon may prevent heart disease
Another major health benefit of cinnamon and its regular consumption is that it may prevent heart disease. Studies have been conducted that showed people who consumed small samples of cinnamon per day saw a significant decrease in their LDL cholesterol levels, which are known to clog arteries and cause heart disease. In addition, the people who ate cinnamon saw their triglyceride levels go down as well. These two factors combined make it likely that cinnamon consumption can reduce the risk of heart disease.
Cinnamon Can Fight Diabetes
The nutritional community is well aware of cinnamon’s ability to lower blood sugar levels. Studies have shown that taking as little as half a teaspoon of cinnamon per day can lower fasting blood sugar levels by up to 30%. It does this through two molecular interactions. First, it blocks several digestive enzymes which slows down the breakdown of carbs into sugar. Second, cinnamon mimics insulin and is able to have your cells take in glucose at a slower and more steady rate.
There are many health benefits of cinnamon that you may not have been aware of. Now that you have learned some major ones, go ahead and find more and more opportunities to eat cinnamon every day!
See our cinnamon varieties here.
What are the Health Benefits of Turmeric
Turmeric, in addition to being a popular spice used in many cuisines around the world, is also a staple ingredient in many supplements, as it has been scientifically proven to help with a multitude of ailments. Turmeric is derived from a chemical, Curcumin, which is a fat-soluble chemical that you can take as a daily vitamin. Turmeric is believed to help ward off dementia, relieve heart problems, and reduce general inflammation in the body. Keep reading to know the health benefits associated with turmeric and what it actually is.
How Do People Usually Ingest It?
Turmeric as a spice can be added to give flavor and an orange tinge to many savory dishes, including omelets or pasta dishes. It may also be steeped in hot water to produce a soothing, antioxidant-rich tea-like drink. The root chemical, Curcumin may be purchased at a regular supplement store, or even at some drug stores. You can take the recommended dosage (a capsule or two) with a full meal, as this chemical is fat-soluble, so just taking it with water will not do much for you.
Where is Turmeric Usually Found?
Those who love their food to be brightly colored and packing a ton of flavor probably know that turmeric is a spice that originated in India. It is a staple of the cuisine in that part of the world, and wild turmeric grows on plantations along the mainland of India and several Indian Ocean islands. It was in Indian medicine that turmeric made its emergence and people began to really learn what it is and its great health benefits. They saw that tea made from steeping the spice resulted in greater health and vitality.
With an Indian restaurant in just about every community, you have every reason to ask “What is turmeric?” Once you realize how it can be used to add color, flavor and a few health benefits to every meal, you will be sure to keep it in your kitchen. Add turmeric to your favorite dishes or brew some tea and see how this antioxidant and anti-inflammatory spice can help you.
See our Turmeric here.
So What Really is Rhubarb?
When you mention the word rhubarb, most people think first about the always popular rhubarb pie. While the pie is always amazing, cooking with it can really intensify a meal and satisfy any diner.
When is it used?
Really answering the question of what this ingredient is fairly simple. In addition to being used for food, it was used for medicinal purposes. Most people prefer to cook it with sugar, because of its bitterness. This versatile ingredient is often paired with strawberry because of the sweetness to help balance it out.
What kind of food is it?
Rhubarb resembles celery and is technically a vegetable but legally is designated as a fruit. This was for importing purposes and a New York court made the declaration in the late 1940s.
When can I get rhubarb?
It is normally in season and you can harvest rhubarb from April through June. The earlier you find it the more tender, while later it is more robust. Rhubarb stalks are generally very crisp. The ideal stalk has the leaves still attached and is a dark red color. Dark red makes for a much sweeter taste overall.
What is the best way to cook it?
There are a number of ways to think about when cooking with this “fruit”. This includes stewed, pureed, roasted, and sauteed. There is no need for a great deal of water when cooking it since it has high water content already.
There are a lot of different recipes to look at here MyRecipes.
The next time you are at the grocery store, be sure to consider trying this strange but unique ingredient. Or tell your friend who is ready to bring over a treat exactly what is rhubarb. The sweetness is simply amazing!
For more information on harvesting rhubarb yourself, check out this amazing article from Happy DIY HOME.
DIY Seasoning blends
One of the most popular trends being followed today is the trend toward healthier eating. Most people are trying to avoid unhealthy foods and seasonings that have additives and other harmful ingredients. A better way to accomplish the use of healthy seasonings is by making the blends yourself. You can add a combination of your favorite spice blends together for a do it yourself seasoning that is nutritionally better for the body. Some easy do it yourself seasonings include what you prefer, and like in your food.
Make a list
To start with your do it yourself seasoning blends, shop for your favorite spices. Get enough to make at least five different blends. You can either grow fresh herbs and spices in your garden or purchase them fresh from your favorite market. You can allow them to dry, or use them fresh. They will eventually dry on their own. Decide what spices will blend well together, and give you the flavor that you want.
Set up mixing materials
Get out the bowls, measuring spoons, and the containers to be used. Mason jars in various sizes are ideal for this project. This is something that the kids can help with. It will give them an opportunity to use their math skills. Once the spices have been blended, put them into containers and label. The herbs will sometimes clump together once they sit for a while, but just give them a stir and they are ready to use again.
Use the seasoning blends on favorite foods
A cajun blend will go great on chicken, pork, salmon, and burgers. Make up a chili blend to enhance soups, ground beef, and sloppy Joe’s. For grilling steaks, chicken, fish, and pork, a jerk blend is a perfect mixture. A tasty Mediterranean blend gives a zesty flavor to roasted vegetables, chicken, and seafood. These do it yourself seasoning blends puts you in control of your sodium intake and saves money on the expensive store-bought seasonings. Enjoy eating healthier and eliminating many of the harmful preservatives that are used in packaged seasonings by experiencing do it yourself blends.
You can purchase some seasonings here.