spice spoons

Modern cuisine is currently experiencing a massive trend towards healthier cooking and eating habits. Unfortunately, this leaves many people somewhat stumped with regards to balancing flavor and nutrition. However, with a little throwback to cooking secrets of older times, just about anyone can actually manage to achieve this! In the days before mass-processed, packaged foods, people could not resort to MSG or even large quantities of salt to flavor their foods. Instead, they did so with herbs and spices, many of which are very beneficial to different aspects of our health. Both are derived from plant parts, but while herbs usually consist of the leaves, spices are the powdered or whole pieces of plant seeds, roots or bark. Using too much salt over a long period of time can lead to a number of cardiovascular problems and diseases, while too much sugar can bring on diabetes. Moreover, with continued use of these ingredients in large amounts, the tongue gets used to them and then requires more in order to discern the taste. Instead of getting caught up in this cycle, follow the guide below for tips on how to use herbs and spices to bring out the true flavors of your food. You’ll soon see that it then only requires a mere pinch of salt (or sugar) in most cases to liven it up.

Anise has a strong liquorice flavor and is typically used to flavor candy, cookies and cakes. The flavor is brought out better when anise is cooked with sugar.
Basil is key in many Italian dishes for its ability to complement tomato-based foods so well. It can be used to flavor sauces and meats, or also as a fresh garnish. For a recipe that is almost entirely comprised of basil, try pesto.
Bay Leaves
One or two full leaves can be dropped into a stew or soup for plenty of flavor, or a group of leaves in a bouquet-garni can be added to roasts.
Chili Powder
Goes best with dishes that include beef, beans or hearty tomato-based sauces.
Add to dishes that use potato or sour cream for a light onion-like Replace Cravings for Sweets with Spices & Herbsflavor. Fresh, chopped chives can also be sprinkled on top of food before serving for a stronger taste.
Cilantro (Coriander)
Cilantro is often featured in Indian and Latin American foods. The dried leaves can be mixed into poultry and beef meat spice rubs, while the fresh leaves can be used in salads. Cilantro is also lovely with seafood, including shrimp.
In Western cuisine, cinnamon is typically associated with baked goods. However, Moroccan cuisine also features cinnamon to flavor stews and meat dishes. The traditional spice mix, Ras-El-Hanout, makes strong use of cinnamon and other spices.
Curry Leaves
Not to be confused with curry powder (which is actually a mixture of several spices), curry leaves are most often used in Indian cooking. Lightly fry it with onion before mixing it into dishes such Replace Cravings for Sweets with Spices & Herbsas curries, dal (cooked lentils), or vegetarian dishes.
Dill (also dill weed)
Dill is traditionally used with seafood. The fresh leaves can be used as a garnish on a fish filet, or incorporated into a tuna salad Cooking with herbs and spices also offers a host of safe, natural health benefits for diabetics.or accompanying dips.
Fennel seeds have a similar smell and flavor to anise. They can be crushed to use in spice rubs; best with beef or sausage, but use it sparingly since it imparts a strong taste. Fennel is complemented well by lemon and other citruses.
Garlic Powder
While fresh garlic adds a more pungent flavor, the powdered version works well in marinades, spice rubs and sauces. Garlic can be added to most types of foods, depending on personal preference.
Dried mint leaves added to a spice rub makes a delightful crust on roast pork. Fresh mint can also be added with orange juice to make a vinaigrette for salads, or incorporated in potato salads, or with basil in a pesto dish. Mint also goes famously well with chocolate and sweet dishes.
Paprika is widely used in Mexican and Hungarian cuisine. Try it Cooking with herbs and spices also offers a host of safe, natural health benefits for diabetics.with poultry or beef, sausages, stews, vegetables, shellfish and sauces. For extra flavor, try smoked paprika (a very aromatic addition to food) or Hungarian paprika, which is a bit spicy.
Curley-leaf parsley is best used fresh in salads or other vegetable dishes. The flat-leafed version is good for cooking and can be added to beef, shellfish, herb sauces and pasta. Parsley pairs well with garlic or lemon.
Pepper is a stable in most households, but its use can vary. Finely ground pepper in a shaker is best for the dinner table. Use coarsely ground black pepper for marinades and rubs. Pepper is also used to add a spicy flavor to some baked goods, such as gingerbread and certain German and Swedish cookies, including pfefferkuchen (pepper cake). Dried whole black peppercorns can be added to stews, while soft green peppercorns (typically preserved in brine) are delicious in brown sauces for steak and Replace Cravings for Sweets with Spices & Herbsother meat.
Sage complements chicken, turkey and other poultry very well, both for the rub and also in the stuffing. It has a warm, savory flavor and makes a good addition to autumnal dishes that include root vegetables, apples, or bacon.
Tarragon brings out the flavors of poultry and fish best, and is also a vital ingredient in French sauces, such as béarnaise sauce. It can also be used fresh in a salad dressing.
Thyme is a very versatile herb and can be used on its own or paired with other herbs such as rosemary or oregano. It complements many types of foods, including most meats, vegetable dishes and sauces.

Dried herbs and spices are easy to store and can simply be kept in bottled shakers or air-tight plastic containers in a relatively cool, shaded area. Make sure not to allow moisture into the containers as it could cause the ingredients to clump and harden. When dealing with fresh herbs purchased from the grocery store, remove them from the plastic packaging, loosely cover them in paper towels and store them in a brown paper bag. This will help ensure that the leaves stay fresh and do not wilt or rot for several days. If you grow herbs in a garden, simply cut the leaves during cooking and make sure to wash them in cold water before adding it to the food.

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