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Food: 6 Autumn Spices and How to Use Them
Now autumn is officially here, spice lovers can rejoice, soon enough everything will be ‘spiced’ or ‘pumpkin spice’ flavour and it will be the perfect addition to the gradually cooling days. So here’s a few of the main spices that just scream Autumn, and some ideas of how to integrate them into your cooking at home.
This warming spice is an antioxidant and the most famous spice when it comes to this time of year. Research has shown that a couple of teaspoons in your breakfast can stabilize your blood sugar levels to stop you feeling so hungry.
Try a dash in your coffee or hot chocolate, make some sticky cinnamon rolls or pull-apart bread, enhance your blueberry muffins or bake a delicious fruit crumble. A cinnamon stick is also a wonderful addition to a coconut curry and a few teaspoons of ground cinnamon in your moussaka will bring that level of authenticity to your dinner table.
A classic autumn/winter spice, delicious in baking and an essential part of the Asian Cuisine. Ginger is complete with a whole range of health benefits including reducing nausea and inflammation, reducing stress and strengthening your immune system; these benefits stem from the nutrients in the root, including vitamin C and magnesium.
Try ginger in; Indian curries, Chinese noodles, sticky ginger bread or cookies, make some ginger bread pancakes or sprinkle some on homemade caramelized nuts and even infuse it into a sweet sponge pudding, ginger really is a versatile spice and will warm up your Autumn cooking.
One of the spices in the famous pumpkin spice late and chai tea, cloves are unopened flower buds that are picked when pink and then dried. They have a warming and aromatic taste and plenty of health benefits too, such as having anti-inflammatory properties and containing high amounts of the mineral manganese, which contributes to the maintenance of healthy bones.
Why not try using cloves in: gingerbread, pumpkin spice recipes, chai tea, tagines, eggnog, spiced cider, mulled wine, pickled veg and seasonal marinades.
This egg-shaped spice is the seed of a tree and when shaved into a dish gives off this delicate, indistinguishable flavour. Nutmeg is used throughout many cuisines around the world, in both sweet and savoury applications…it’s best being in this [vegan] cheese sauce.
Other applications include: soups, stews, pickles, chutneys, desserts, potato dishes, rice pudding, mulled wine & cider, roasted vegetables, tortellini, sweet drinks and pumpkin pie.
Sometimes confused with mixed spice, allspice is just one spice, similar in appearance to a peppercorn and is a dried berry of the allspice tree. Allspice is a key component of Caribbean cuisine and also part of middle eastern and Asian cuisines, it is known for its distinct flavour and is suggested to aid with digestion and provide anti-inflammatory properties.
Try it in: Jerk seasoning, mulled cider, BBQ sauce, gingerbread, dark chocolate desserts, roasted sweet potato, pickled veg and spice rubs.
Coriander seed is typically used in curries and savoury dishes, but it is also an essential spice to a sweet mixed spice mix and not to be confused with the leaf, which would not make a very great addition to your baking! Coriander seed can be bought whole, toasted and ground or purchased already ground; it has an earthy, nutty, citrus flavour and a can be used in a whole range of applications!
You’ll have noticed that many of these spices have the same applications, so of course these 6 spices can also be combined for a sweet mixed spice mix, perfect for all your autumn baking needs! Try adding the mix to: carrot cake, pumpkin cake, ginger cookies, apple crumble, stewed fruits, porridge and even your morning coffee! For something really amazing, why not try adding a teaspoon of mixed spice to this homemade fig chutney recipe, made with all natural ingredients and no added sugar!
Mixed Spice Recipe
- 3 tbsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tbsp ground coriander
- 1 tbsp ground ginger
- 2 tsp all spice
- 1 tsp ground nutmeg
- ½ tsp ground cloves
Cassidy from The Euphoric Vegan writing for Absolute Spice.
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