Having Fresh Spices In Your Kitchen Could Completely Change Your Family's Menu

One way to totally change your world view for the better is by using fresh spices. Experiencing the sizzle, the exotic tang, and the comforting burn of a savory spice is one way to make sure that family mealtime is never dull.

Put an International Gourmet Cuisine on Your Own Dining Room Table.

Flavoring food with spices is as old as eating and since humans have taste buds as well as a need to eat, have long sought ways to make eating as much an art as a way to achieve sustenance. Over time, we've discovered some pretty amazing combinations of taste. Every society has different dishes using different spices to augment the flavors for each one and you can taste them all. If you want to add flair to the family menu, try some Shichimi Togarashi with your rice (Japan), a bit of Garam Masala with your curry (India), or Herbes de Provence on your roast (France).

Spice: A Health Surprise Waiting to Happen.

One of the best things about spices is their huge health benefit. Turmeric, for example -- a zesty ginger-like spice from India -- has been known to improve heart health and circulation. The capsaicin in chili peppers helps in pain relief. Cinnamon cleans out your arteries. Parsley combats kidney stones. Oregano pumps in infection-fighting antioxidants. And garlic combats nasty viruses. Who wouldn't want to spice things up with these incredible side effects?

The Best spices to Have on Hand.

With the thousands of spices available, it can be difficult to choose which ones to try first. Here's a great list for stocking your spice rack.

• Cumin - Cumin adds a richness and depth to just about any dish, especially if you like an Indian flair. Cumin also cooks and bakes excellently.

• Oregano - The taste of oregano is part lemongrass, part mint, and all flavor. If you dig Italian eats, you'll need this spice. Oregano is also a great complement to many Mediterranean dishes.

• Cloves - If you're a Middle Eastern or Asian food aficionado, get your hands on some cloves. These sweet aromatic buds are bursting with a strong, bright flavor. Cloves pair well with cinnamon, vanilla, and basil.

• Ginger - Taste it by itself, and you'll be looking for a drink. Taste it in dishes, and you'll be craving some more. Oriental dishes demand the pungent flavor of ginger.

• Cayenne Pepper - It's loud, intense, and hot as ever, but cayenne pepper is a cook's must-have spice. Beyond its ordinary purposes in salsa, buffalo wings, and chicken, it works great to spice up your sandwich spread and even as an enhancement to dark chocolate.

Keep in mind, the fresher the spices, the better they are. Usually, the grocery-store variety spice bottles lack the just-picked flavor of fresh spices. Wherever you choose to get them, by all means get them. You'll probably discover in no time that the spice of life is spice itself.

The spices you choose to keep in the kitchen can significantly affect the meals you prepare for your family. Jocelyn Atkinson knows that when you purchase spices online, you're able to get a better selection and lower prices.



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