Organic Spices

Organic spices are flavorful additions to meals you eat every day.

Baking With Organic Spices

If you enjoy baking, organic spices are fantastic for adding zing to breads, cakes, pies, pastries, cookies cobblers and other baked dishes or fruit desserts.

Cooking With Organic Spices:

Organic herbs and spices are a quick, healthy way to add flavor and variety to your meals.

Organic spices will enhance a variety of cooked dishes, including meats, soups, stews, vegetables, rice, and pasta. You can even add herbs or spices to your salads and marinades to create memorable dishes with their own distinct flavors.

Before, during or after cooking, use the spices to season your food the way you like it, but be sure not to over-season it.

Fresh vs Dried Organic Spices

Both fresh and dried organic spices have distinct advantages.

Fresh organic spices retain their enzymes, which makes them easy for your body to digest, absorb and use. If you plan to consume a raw meal such as a salad, a smoothie, a bowl of fruit or a raw living energy bar, you may wish to consume your spices raw as well. For example, fresh organic ginger makes a flavorful, healthy addition to raw salads, smoothies, sauces and snacks.

Fresh organic spices also retain a significant portion of the live plant’s essential oils, which are the potent flavoring agents inherent in each spice.

Dried organic spices keep well without refrigeration, and are easy to store and use. They are more concentrated than fresh spices, so recipes typically require a smaller weight and volume of dried spices vs fresh. If you want to make substitutions, you can use about three times more fresh herbs in a recipe that calls for dried herbs; or if your recipe lists fresh herbs as ingredients, you can use about three times less dried herbs.

Crushing and Grinding Organic Spices

Time Frame: If you want to achieve the freshest and most potent possible flavoring, either for general use or for a particular recipe, it’s best to crush or grind the spice right before using it.

Tools for Grinding: There are many kitchen gadgets suitable for using to crush and grind organic spices.

  • A Microplane grater is useful for grinding herbs and spices such as ginger, nutmeg and garlic.
  • A pepper mill is suitable for grinding pepper corns and certain other spices.
  • A mortar and pestle set is versatile, and you’re able to use it for grinding a wide variety of different herbs, spices and other substances.
  • A grinder is also a versatile gadget to have on hand for grinding a wide variety of different ingredients.

Buying Tips:

If you want to use fresh raw organic spices, it’s best to grow them yourself rather than buying them; however, farmer’s markets and CSAs (community supported agriculture) are the next best sources if that isn’t possible. It’s also possible to find fresh organic spices for sale at health food stores and some food co-ops.

For a variety of reasons, we think it’s unwise to buy spices (or, really, anything edible) at the grocery store.

First of all, it doesn’t make economic sense to buy any spices, particularly not organic spices, at the grocery store. You’ll rarely find the best price at the grocery store.

Also, you won’t find the freshest herbs and spices available at the grocery store; most produce for sale there has been shipped in from other states or other countries, and has been through a long supply chain. It’s preferable to buy locally-grown organic spices if possible.

Most grocery stores don’t offer the best possible selection of organic spices. Depending on the grocery store, you might even have difficulty finding any spices at all that have been certified organic.

For all the above reasons, plus abundant others outside the scope of this article, we recommend avoiding the grocery store and seeking out better suppliers for your organic spices.

Why Buy Certified Organic Spices?

You might be wondering: Are organic spices worth it? Yes, they usually cost more than non-organic spices. However, the benefits are clear. If you care about your health, your children’s health, and the environment, organic spices and other organic foods are a good investment.

Benefits of Organic Spices: Organic spices are farmed without applying harmful synthetic chemicals, which makes them healthier and more eco-friendly than their non-organic counterparts.

Foolish people might argue that organic certification isn’t necessary; some insist that spices don’t need to be grown using pesticides, since the essential oils from the plants naturally act as insect repellants.

However, this is a silly argument, for a couple of reasons.

First of all, pesticides are definitely being used on certain conventially farmed spices, despite the fact that they are unnecessary. For example, reports that the USDA pesticide data program has recorded 75 different toxic pesticides that are being used on hot peppers in the USA.

Additionally, pesticides are not the only harmful synthetic chemicals that are used in the conventional farming process. Conventionally grown herbs and spices are often treated with synthetic fungicides in efforts to avoid fungi and mold.

Synthetic fungicides can cause damage to human health and the environment. Organic certification provides some assurance that your spices have not been contaminated with synthetic fungicides or other toxic chemicals.

Nutritional Benefits: Organic food is more nutritious than its conventionally grown counterpart. Organic plants contain more essential minerals, vitamin C, phytonutrients and antioxidants — plus they have fewer nitrates, less toxic pesticide residue, and can also contain as much as 29% less mercury.

Bottom line, if you’re concerned with either the environment or your own health and well-being, certified organic herbs and spices are worth the investment. They are more sustainable, and also healthier than non-organic herbs and spices.

Uses for Organic Spices:

Organic spices have many uses apart from just flavoring food. They are also useful for creating natural medicines, fragrances, cosmetics, and personal care products. Spices are also an integral part of certain religious rituals and practices.

Examples of Organic Spices:

Organic Cayenne Pepper:

There are a variety of culinary and medicinal uses for cayenne pepper. Pepper’s spicy taste is legendary, but not many people are aware of its potent healing abilities.

Organic Ginger

Ginger is another spice that offers both potent flavor and powerful medicinal properties.

Organic Saffron:

Saffron is highly prized for its color, flavor and aroma. It has a wide variety of possible uses, from cooking to dyeing fabric to scenting fragrances and personal care products.

Organic Turmeric:

Turmeric is one of the spices used in curry. It is also widely believed to have medicinal and cosmetic properties. Turmeric is sometimes used in sunscreens; it is also used as an antiseptic. It has a broad range of other potential uses as well.

References and Further Reading

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