The Spice Girls’ “Spice up your life” takes on new meaning when it comes to food. Not only do spices make meals more delicious and fragrant, cooking with fall-centric spices like cinnamon and ginger (sometimes called “warming spices”) has been linked to improving sleep, focus, and boosting immunity. You probably have lots of individual seasonings in your pantry already. Spice blends, however, let you to flavor your dishes in one go. To expand your spice repertoire, start with these three seasoning blends.
Kafe Hawaij – New York Shuk
Cookies, cakes, and coffee could all use a touch of spice this time of year. New York Shuk offers a twist on the classic pumpkin spice with their Kafe Hawaij (Buy from NYShuk.com, $9.95), which only contains ground cardamom, ginger, cinnamon, and clove — making it an all-natural option for your spice collection. “Brought to Israel from Yemen, think of this fragrant blend as a kind of Middle Eastern pumpkin spice. Stir it into fresh coffee to indulge in a cup that’s warm, sweet, and pungent: or use it to add depth to dessert treats and savory slow-cooked dishes [including vegetable and meat stews] alike,” the company suggests. You can also try using Kafe Hawaij in recipes for apple muffins, eggnog, and chocolate chip cookie cake.
Black Cumin Salt – Rumi Spice
Looking to add a bright and earthy flavor to comfort foods like roasted chicken and charred root vegetables? Swap your regular salt for Rumi Spice’s Wild Black Cumin Seasoned Salt (Buy from RumiSpice.com, $10.99). It’s a mixture of sea salt, cayenne pepper, garlic, and Rumi’s black cumin and dill seed seasonings. Black cumin is known for its licorice aroma and pungent nutmeg-like flavor. “Our Black Cumin grows wild along the foothills of the Hindu Kush Mountains in Afghanistan where mountainous terroir adds an extra layer of sharp earthy and piney flavors that differentiates our cumin from the more common varieties available,” the company says. To use this seasoned salt year round, sprinkle it on grilled meats, hummus, or Greek yogurt.
Warming Blend – McCormick Flavor Inspirations
Your spice rack isn’t complete without an all-in-one seasoning. McCormick Flavor Inspirations Warming Blend is my personal favorite (Buy from Shop. McCormick.com, $5.95). Made with cinnamon, turmeric, cumin, black pepper, cardamom, and clove, McCormick’s suggests you use it to “bring a burst of warmth and flavor to your favorite foods.” To try: Stir it into sour cream for a quick and delicious dip, or sprinkle it onto butternut squash before roasting.
However you use them, these spice blends take ordinary dishes up a notch with absolutely no extra work. For more ways to add flavor to meals using pantry staples, read our story on how to bloom spices at home.
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