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Spice Up Your Life and Biscuits: Spices Guide and Health Benefits

Spice your food and cookies! Food without spices is tasteless. You will be surprised when you learn all of the health benefits that spices have and how good spices could pair with certain foods.

No matter how hard we try to cook it, prepare it, invest hours and hours – without spices, it just won't be complete.

Spices are important in the preparation of every meal: breakfast, lunch, dinner, and desserts. There are thousands of spices in the world, and for some, you would probably be surprised at how well they fit in with certain foods. Herbal spices are extremely important for the health of the whole organism and therefore they affect the appearance of hair, skin, and nails. Using certain spices can help with some of the health problems you have, so don't hesitate – use your spices!

Have you ever dared to experiment with the choice of spices? If not, maybe you should, and this article is dedicated to it!

We will explain the most popular spices from the origin (even from ancient history) to the unusual use of various foods. You will also learn what are the most unusual spices that you can use in the preparation of biscuits, but also to see what spices can improve your health, so sit comfortably, read and learn!

Spices in general

Varius of spices

By spices we mean the parts of plans that are used in the preparation of all kinds of food because of their taste or aroma content, in order to make these foods ''refined''. Spices are distinguished from herbs, which are the leaves, flowers, or stems of plants used for flavoring or as a garnish. Many spices have antimicrobial properties.

The use of spices and herbs in cooking and preparing food has a very long history. Spices were once used to nullify the smell of not very fresh food or to improve the taste of not very tasty food. But today, when spices and herbs are no longer as expensive as they used to be, and an average household can afford, it is hard to imagine cooking without them.

The main reason why we use spices today is to enrich the taste of the food, enhance the overall gastronomic experience and enjoy the whole eating process. Spices are also used to ease digestion and stimulate appetite. Moreover, in cold places, spices are added to the heat, in hot areas, they promote sweating and cooling. Almost all spices are medicinal herbs. 

Specialists have been using spice properties such as ginger, turmeric, and cayenne pepper since ancient times to naturally bring the body into balance. However, for the spices to have a therapeutic function, they must be environmentally friendly to maximize their properties. The main ingredient of all spices is essential oils, which have an antiseptic effect which is why spices are used in very small quantities.

Combining foods with the right spices will take your meal on another level and make it even more delicious! 

History of spices 

Spices Mix

Spices have been in consumption since the Neolithic era: they were first found in wooden dwellings. The spices swap has created cinnamon and dark pepper throughout the Indian subcontinent and the Middle East at most pinpoint in 2000 BCE, while herbs and peppers are found in East Asia. Ancient Egyptians used onions, garlic, juniper berries and caraway 4000 to 5000 years ago. 

They mostly used herbs for preservation and their interest in interesting aromas and herbs strengthened international exchanges.

The word zest comes from the Old Spanish word spice, which evolved into an epic and which came from the Latin root spec, and that referred to as ' appearance, form, kind. '    Therapeutic herbal systems in China, Korea, and India could be identified by 1000 BCE. Enchantment, medicine, faith, con have been related to early use.

For example, cloves were utilized in Mesopotamia by 1700 BCE. The antiquated Indian epic Ramayana makes reference to cloves. The Romans had cloves in the first century CE, as Pliny the Elder expounded on them. The most punctual composed records of spices originate from old Egyptian, Chinese and Indian societies. The Ebers Papyrus from Early Egyptians that dates from 1550 B.C.E. portrays somewhere int he range of 800 distinctive restorative cures and various therapeutic procedures.

The imported spices were valued and regarded by the Greeks as a sign of prosperity. In the 13th century, the Venetian merchant Marko Polo was the first European to encounter nutmeg and clove on his travels and he discovers pepper, ginger, and cinnamon on the Malabar coast. At that time, spices were expensive as gold! 

Spices

Columbo did not discover only America!

About 1492, Christopher Columbus went from Europe west to explore a sea route to spice lands, but he found America. A sea route to the south tip of Africa, eventually entering the Koshikode on the south-west coast of India in 1498, was discovered by the Portuguese sailor Vasco da Gama.

How to choose spices?

Spicy spices - which stimulate the palate and only boost sweat. The most famous are chili, chili powder, cayenne pepper, pepperoni, ground pepper, and pepper. When cooking with this type of spice, be careful not to touch your eyes with your hands because the pain and burning afterward are groovy (tried recklessly several times!)

Scented spices - which give a salty and sweet aroma to sweet and savory dishes. The most famous are: pimento, cardamom, clove, blueberry, nutmeg. Spices that add color - used to color dishes. It is primarily saffron, which is the most expensive spice in the world, but only a small pinch can give a dish a wonderful yellow color of turmeric, which is mostly used in Indian dishes. The more intense the spice smell is, the better. When buying fresh herbs, it is best to take one that has a darker color and avoid the one with leaves that have started to turn yellow.

The most popular spices

Cayenne and red chili peppers - Chilli is a universal spice that can be added to almost any dish, such as soups, stews, scrambled eggs, even meat, pasta ... They work to break down fats, speed up metabolism and reduce appetite.

Cooking with spices

Cayenne pepper can help destroy worms and parasites in the gut, and protect against dysentery during travel. Cayenne pepper is a great source of vitamin C and beta carotene, making it great for relieving colds, flu, bronchitis, and any other viral infection. 

Ginger is a permanent tuber plant from the lily family known for its roots. It has been used for thousands of years as a medicine, spice, and food. Ginger contains special phytonutrients, gingerols that have strong anti-inflammatory properties, enhance digestive function and, like most spices, have thermogenic properties that speed up metabolism, promote fat burning and weight loss

Ginger health benefits:

  • A healing solution to nausea from driving
  • A powerful remedy for colds
  • lung detox
  • helps against colds and flu
  • relieves pain
  • promotes digestion

Ginger

Cinnamon

Cinnamon has a long history as a spice and as a cure, and in ancient times, it was so prized that it was considered more valuable than gold. It is a spice obtained from cinnamon, a type of wood from the laurel family. What we call cinnamon is actually the dried inner bark of young trees or twigs. 

This inner crust is dried and wrapped in small 2.5 cm diameter sticks, which can also serve as a holiday decoration. It's almost impossible to imagine Christmas holidays without cinnamon - as soon as we remember Christmas cookies, it is almost always cinnamon that is the first spice that comes to our mind.

In addition to its abundance of antioxidants, cinnamon is also known for its abundance of fiber and manganese. An herb of distinctive golden color has been used since time immemorial in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine.

Cinnamon

Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is a herbaceous perennial plant up to one meter high. has antiviral, anticancer and anti-inflammatory properties thanks to curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric that is responsible for all its medicinal properties. Turmeric is best known in China, India, and Indonesia. Also, India is the largest producer of turmeric. It is used to protect the liver and prostate from the toxic effects of alcohol or food, and is also used in food or drug poisoning. In the prevention of colon, liver, prostate and lung cancer, it is combined with goji berries to achieve a synergistic effect. Talking about goji berries and superfoods in general, you can read more about it on the link. 

However, it is important to note that turmeric is not recommended for pregnant and breastfeeding women.

Tumeric

Spices in cookies

Oh, our dear cookies!

They brighten and sweeten our every day, but without spices, it just wouldn't be it. The number of spices used in making biscuits is indeed enormous, and this chapter will be devoted to the best known, their health benefits and consumption with biscuits. We usually associate spices with Christmas cookies because their use is most common then. Still, there are spices that you probably would never associate with biscuits, and yet they make a delicious combination, so let's find out which one's are the most unusual! 

The most popular is, of course, cinnamon! We have already written about it so we won’t repeat ourselves, but we have to mention it as the first one.

Nutmeg: Luxurious expensive, aromatic

Nutmeg

Nutmeg is an evergreen tropical tree originally native to the Molucca or Spice Islands in eastern Indonesia. The world ''nutmeg'' actually means ''musky'' and refers to a scent. Nutmeg is rich in aromatic oils, minerals (copper, potassium, calcium, manganese, iron, zinc, magnesium), B-group vitamins and powerful antioxidants – flavonoids.

It fits equally well with savory and sweet dishes, and it is best to add it only at the end of cooking because the heat weakens the aroma.

Interesting story from history

Nutmeg is believed to have been burned by Roman priests like incense, and in the Middle Ages, it was used to flavor beer. In the Middle Ages nutmeg was a symbol of power and wealth, and int he 17th century it became the most expensive spice in the world.

Anise

Anise

One of the oldest known spice plants has long been used as a spice and medicine. After heavy food, the Romans ate anise candy to encourage digestion, and in Italy, it was considered to alleviate fallout.

Health benefits:

  • regulates the menstrual cycle and helps against menstrual pain
  • more recently it has been used in the treatment of prostate cancer
  • it works against insomnia
  • stimulates the nervous system
  • increases the number of leukocytes in the blood

Anise is mostly used in making Christmas cookies.

Cardamom

Cerdamom

We mostly put cardamom in gingerbread and other baked goods with honey and cookies with lemon. It goes well with meat dishes, rice dishes and bread (especially in the Arab world). Cardamom lovers will also add it to coffee and tea as both drinks will further develop their rich flavor. Cardamom is the third most expensive spice in the world after saffron and vanilla.

Mint

Mint  herb and biscuits

Mint is great for every season, and not only that it helps with hydration in the summer, but mint is also a common spice of Christmas desserts. Also, it has soothing properties and helps to deal with the headache.

Vanilla

Vanila bean cookies

Vanilla is one of the most popular, but also the most expensive spices in the world. Vanilla helps with acne and problematic skin relieves flu symptoms and can be use din pregnancy nausea. Vanilla wraps provide instant relief for toothache and burns. Even the scent of vanilla has a strong effect on the psyche because it is extremely relaxing and stimulating.

In one study, vanilla scent helped 70% of severely ill patients be calmer and easier to handle tense situations.

Unusual Spices That Belong in Your Cookies

  1. Black Pepper
    There are various recipes that contain black pepper, especially for waffles.
  2. Chilli
    Chilli and chocolate make an amazing combo – you should try it, are you brave enough? 
  3. Cayenne
    Also amazing with chocolate cookies!
  4. Coriander
    While making creamy chocolate cookies, try to use coriander (extra tip: combine coriander with anise and jam).
  5. Curry
  6. Ginger

Are you brave enough to try some of these spices with cookies? You should, you won't regret it, and it would be an unusual experience! 

Christmas spices

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