THURSDAY 13 edition my #2 (130) Spices & their uses


hosted by Thursday Thirteen edition 130

  • 1) Cinnamon is derived from a Malaysian word which means ‘sweet wood’ and its flavor is due to an aromatic essential oil which is really only a small component of its whole. It is largely used in the preparation of desserts here in the USA and in the middle east it is often used with chicken and lamb. Cinnamon is also sometimes used in pickling. Cinnamon bark is one of the few spices that can be consumed directly. It once had a reputation as a cure for colds. It has also been used to treat digestive problems as well as food preservation. It has been used to treat toothaches and bad breath.
  • 2) Thyme is a member of the mint family, with over 100 varieties. Common varieties include: garden, lemon. Thyme is a welcome flavor in salads, soups, sauces, meats, vegetable as well as many breads and desserts. Lemon thyme works well with fish. Repels most insects. You can make a cup of tea from the thyme leaves and spray it around doors and windows to repel insects.
  • 3) Oregano is derived from Greek and means mountain delight. The dried herb is more potent than the fresh. It is usually paired with basil for Italian recipes.
  • 4) Basil was originally native to India. Basil is considered the King of herbs and its name is from the Greek meaning ‘rich’. It is believed it was used in medicinal baths for royalty. It is recommended that basil be used fresh and is usually paired with tomato. When soaked in water, the seeds become gelatinous and some cultures use them to thicken soups.
  • 5) Paprika is made from grinding the dried seeds of red peppers. It is often used to give color as well as flavor.
  • 6 & 7) Nutmeg & Mace are derived from the same plant. Nutmeg is from the actually seed while mace is the red covering over the seed. It is used primarily in desserts.
  • 8) White Pepper is actually from the black pepper. White pepper is from the seed only whereas black pepper is the whole fruit. Flavors do differ slightly and white pepper is preferred in recipes where black pepper would stand out.
  • 9) Rosemary means dew of the sea and is also from the mint family. Its taste can be quite bitter, but it works well with oily foods such as lamb or fish.
  • 10) Cream of Tartar is an acidic powder that is used in baking. It is the ingredient added to baking soda to create baking powder. Tartaric acid is a brownish-red acid powder that is used on the walls of casks to help age wine. Cream of tartar is also used to give a creamier texture to sugary things like candy and frosting and to stabilize and increase the volume of beaten egg whites. When used in meringue it gives a more stable and longer lasting height. Cream of tartar can be used to clean brass and copper cookware too.
  • 11) Mustard means burning wine. It was first used as a medicinal herb and later used as a culinary one. It was used as a cure for everything from a toothache to scorpion stings. Mustard by itself as a powder is bland, but when mixed with water and it grows into something quite potent.
  • 12) Cardamon‘s primary use is a flavoring for coffee but is also used to flavor sweet baking recipes.
  • 13) Vanilla is a flavoring developed from orchids. Though there are many differing types of vanilla, the most common is the Mexican version while Madagascar is the largest producer. You can easily make your own by adding two vanilla beans to 8 ounces of your favorite liquor. Let it set for a month before using. Commonly used are vodka, bourbon but I prefer a golden rum.
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