In a previous post, A Spicy Approach to Staying Healthy, I introduced five healing spices that are likely in your cupboard and that can help keep your immune system strong. How can we use turmeric, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, cumin, and cloves to make a difference in our health?
Here are some suggestions for using each.
How to Use Turmeric
You can choose to use either the ground powder or the fresh turmeric root. The powder is easier to find. Turmeric is largely used in Indian dishes. So you can use as an addition to homemade curry.
Turmeric is a great spice for many savory dishes – roasted vegetables (try cauliflower), rice, quinoa and other grains. You can make a turmeric broth, adding ground turmeric to taste in a bone, chicken or beef broth. It can be the base for soups, or you can drink the broth. Adding turmeric to soup or chili is a good boost also. Start with a small amount and add to your taste.
Turmeric tea is the easiest way to have the spice daily. You can easily add it to a basic green or black tea, or in a turmeric milk. This is often called golden milk and combines any type of milk you like with turmeric and other spices. It’s a soothing tasty beverage.
A spice rub or marinade using turmeric, ginger and other spices you choose can be great for chicken, beef or other meats.
How to Use Cinnamon
You can purchase cinnamon as a whole bark, or in dried powder form. The powder has a stronger taste than the whole bark does.
The bark/cinnamon sticks can be added to water to enhance the taste as you drink the needed amount each day. I like to combine them with apple slices in my infused water. And of course adding a cinnamon stick to a wide variety of warm beverages like apple cider, chai teas and more enhances the flavor.
Powdered cinnamon is an extremely versatile spice that is used in all kinds of baked goods we especially enjoy in the fall and winter – anything with apples or pumpkin and much more.
There are many ways to add cinnamon to your daily consumption by sprinkling it on top of yoghurt, granola, fruit (especially apples, bananas, and pears), or ice cream. You can add it to smoothies, whether fruit or those including peanut butter, chocolate, or honey. Stirring a little into juice, tea, or coffee is also great. Another morning tip is to sprinkle cinnamon onto your coffee grounds; it will go through into your coffee as it perks.
Fall vegetables including sweet potatoes, squash, etc. taste great roasted with cinnamon.
How to Use Cayenne Pepper
Cayenne peppers are a staple in Southwestern American, Mexican, Cajun, and Creole cuisine. They are used as a powdered spice for seasoning and used whole in many Korean, Sichuan, and other Asian recipes. Exploring those dishes can add to your menu.
Cayenne can be added to spice mixtures for barbecue rubs, or marinades and to olive oil vinegar, and other ingredients for a salad dressing with a kick. Look for recipes for salsas and slaws that incorporate cayenne – fruit salsas can be greatly enhanced with them.
How to Use Cumin
Cumin is an essential spice for Indian curries and chutneys, and also in many Mexican style dishes. It also works well in a variety of rice dishes, stews, soups, pickles, barbecue sauces, and chili con carne recipes. It’s even good in muffins and bread mixes.
Roasted Cumin Potatoes are simple and tasty dish. Use cubed medium potatoes or new red potatoes. Coat them with olive oil and sprinkle with cumin, salt and ground pepper and bake on a baking sheet for about 30 minutes at 375 degrees.
It is best to be conservative when cooking with cumin as its flavor can easily overtake a dish. You can always add more later.
How to Use Cloves
Whole cloves are often used to flavor warm beverages – apple cider, teas, etc. Put them in a tea infuser/strainer so they are easily removed when you are ready to drink. You can stud ham, onions, glazed pork or beef with them before roasting or baking.
Powdered cloves can be added to dishes that use curry powder. A good way to tell when clove will be appropriate for more savory dishes is to think about what you use curry in. For example, an Indian dish that is using curry powder, like rice, will taste great with clove as an added spice.
Cloves are a good addition to Asian dishes and as a marinade for chicken, fish, or other meat with other species like turmeric and ginger.
And of course, cloves are great in baked goods that include cinnamon. They are so complimentary.
I hope this introduction to five spices that can boost your immunity and health has been helpful. Having all of these powerhouse spices on hand and using them as often as possible can make a difference. Perhaps turmeric is a spice you are less familiar with. To see what’s available, check this out: https://amzn.to/3eS4hQE Stay healthy!!