While you may have thought that buying ready-ground spices will give you the same result as buying whole spices and herbs and grinding them yourself, there are many health benefits (not to mention flavour advantages) that are lost when you do not buy whole.
Herbs and spices are a great way to add flavour to a variety of dishes, and in almost every culture across the world, these ingredients have been used since the dawn of time. In addition to adding a whole new taste dimension to dishes, they also offer a number of unique health benefits that help reduce illness, strengthen immune system, clear skin and even reduce inflammation.
What herbs and whole spices should be grinding in your kitchen, and what are some of the amazing health benefits that they have to offer?
Healthiest Whole Spices and Herbs
Be sure to add these herbs and spices to your shopping list, to get the full benefit of their flavour and health power…
A herb in the greater family of origanum, this herb is a popular pizza garnish that packs a powerful antioxidant punch. So much in fact, that it is said to have the same level of antioxidant as three cups of broccoli! It is also extremely versatile, working well when used with pasta, salads, pizzas and even sandwiches. To get the full benefit, look for whole dried leaves that you can grind yourself, or use your grinder on store versions for a more intense flavour.
Rosemary is said to contain compounds that help to reduce inflammation, which is a risk factor for a number of health concerns. This herb is being studied to determine how effective it is to enhance heart health. A favourite in chicken and roast vegetable dishes, you can also use this herb in tomato based sauces, other roasts, in marinades and in baked bread. You can use ground rosemary in cakes and sweeter dishes too if you want to try something different and delicious.
With its bright yellow colour, turmeric is an often-overlooked spice that has a whole lot of goodness. It is often found in curry powder and used in curry dishes, and is believed to be good for heart health as well as the prevention of cognitive decline in the ageing. Look for whole turmeric in its natural form, which can be ground into food. Use it in your favourite curries, or add to stews, vegetable dishes, meats, egg salad, potato salad and even in homemade dips and salad dressings.
4. Red Pepper Spices
There are a number of super spices found from dried red peppers – all of them excellent for your health and high in flavour. Cayenne pepper, paprika and crushed pepper are the most commonly found red pepper spices, each of which have their own unique taste and level of spiciness. Red pepper is known for its weight-loss benefits, helping to boost metabolism and reduce hunger pangs. These spices are also high in antioxidants too. Use these whole, and grind into your favourite dips, sauces, pasta, salads, seafood, marinades, chicken or even roasted chickpeas for a delicious snack.
5. Black Pepper
The wonders of whole black peppercorns have long been celebrated, with many cultures embracing this spice for hundreds of years. It has been used to treat everything from digestion issues to colds, pain and even heart conditions. Today, science has proved the old healers right, after finding a number of essential compounds such as pipines that are excellent for health. Grind it fresh just before eating, and use on any and all of your favourite foods. You could even try it with fresh strawberries and whipped cream for an out-of-this-world dessert.
What are your favourite spices to grind, and how do you like to use freshly ground spice in your meals?