5 Edible Gift Ideas from Global Grinders

With the festive season just about here, Global Grinders brings you some easy to prepare edible gift ideas that can be made with a few good spice grinders, plus a selection of seasoning ingredients. From sweet baking spice mixes to salad sprinkles, savoury spice blends and other ideas, these gifts are sure to be just the thing for the foodie in your life.

Looking for good quality grinders and pepper mills? We offer a range of glass and PET plastic bottles, along with high grade flip top closures and grinder sets. Browse our range of grinder products to see what we have in stock!

How to Use Spice Grinders for Festive Gifts

With a few new spice grinders, you can make a number of unique, edible gifts. Here are just some ways that you can use your grinders for festive gifts…

  1. Sugar and Spice. Mix brown sugar with sweet spices such as cloves, allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger (pre-ground will work fine for this purpose). Pour the spiced sugar into grinder bottles and label with a custom-made label that you have made yourself. This blend is great to use over cereals and baked goods, as well as fruit and yogurt. Make one bottle of mixed spice sugar, or prepare a few different blends to make a gift set of spiced sugar.
  2. Savoury Salt. Using the same method, you can make salt seasoned with assorted spices and herbs. Try dried rosemary, dried chilli flakes, mustard seeds, coriander seeds or any other type of spice. For best results, choose spices that the gift recipient uses often. You can use already ground spices, or fresh, dried herbs and spices that can be ground with the salt when it is used. Look for good quality coarse sea salt or pink salt to ensure a good base.
  3. Custom Spice Blends. Find out which spices your friends and family love, and then make custom blends that allow them to enjoy these spices whenever they want a dose of spicy goodness. This works especially well for busy home chefs who love cooking, but don’t always have time to shop around for their favourite spices. Add a custom label designed with the person’s name, and voila – you have a lovely personalised gift!
  4. Salad Sprinkles. Make a set of fun, edible salad sprinkles from various spices and non-spice foods that can be ground. Doritos and other crisps work well, but you can also try roasted seeds or dried ginger, chilli or even dried garlic flakes. Try black pepper with dried lemon flakes or dried rosemary. Looking for some inspiration? Have a look at our blog post on non-spice things to grind in a spice grinder.
  5. Mini Spice Set. Look for a set of smaller, mini sized bottles, which can be used to create a starter kit of spice and seasoning blends. Small sizes such as 80ml or even 50ml can also be used to create a ‘spices on the go’ set that can be used for those who travel a lot, those who love to camp and those who are often on the road. This makes a good housewarming gift as well – especially when packaged in a nice box, with personalised labels.

Offering a wide range of health benefits, not to mention the ability to transform an ordinary meal into something extraordinary, whole spices are certainly a gift that keeps on giving. Give the food lover in your life a special gift with the help of custom blended herbs and spices and quality spice grinders from Global Grinders!

More Things to Grind in a Spice Grinder (Besides Spice)

Not too long ago, we shared some ideas on alternative uses for spice grinders.  The list included everything from Doritos chip seasoning to instant icing sugar and a few other things as well. Today, we have some more ideas on how to use your grinder… some ways weirder than others.

Before we get going, remember that however you use your grinder, it is best to invest in a few sets of bottles and flip top or screw on lid attachments so that you can clean out and reuse them safely without any non-spice ingredients ruining your favourite whole spices. To find a full range of grinders and other related products, head on over to our Ready to Grind section or shop for bottles and lids separately.

Now that we have that out of the way, let’s take a look at some other interesting things you can grind in a pepper mill or grinder…

More Uses for Your Spice Grinder

With an abundance of weird and wonderful spice grinders to be found out there, along with good old fashioned grinders that get the job done without the bells and whistles, it is safe to say that these tools are commonplace in most kitchens and dining rooms. While spices, salt and pepper are the things most frequently ground in grinder bottles, the convenient grinding function and simple shape of these tools make them useful for grinding a surprising number of edible and not-so-edible materials. Here are some of the more unusual of those materials…

  1. Dried insects. Considered a major source of protein, insects are still a somewhat unusual food item consumed in many parts of the world. Some supporters believe that dried insects offer a sustainable alternative or addition to other animal protein sources. And, more interestingly, these experts suggest grinding dried insects into a protein powder to add to smoothies, oats, salads and other meals!
  2. Rice. Rice can be ground and used as porridge, or it can be used as a natural face and body scrub when mixed with rice water, milk or skin enriching oil. According to beauty experts, rice scrubs have been used by Japanese women for centuries, giving a healthy glow and helping to fight the signs of aging.
  3. Poppy seeds. Another item that doubles as a food and skin care ingredient, poppy seeds have plenty of healthy benefits, however you use them. Ground poppy seeds can be used to make a pudding or porridge – soak with milk and leave in the fridge overnight to enjoy for breakfast the next morning. Ground poppy seeds can be mixed with your favourite skin enriching oil for a complexion-boosting scrub as well.
  4. Flaxseed. These healthy, tiny seeds are packed full of goodness. Consumed ground, they have far more benefits – fibre, healthy fats and other nutrients. They are surprisingly versatile when ground as well. Use with yogurt and fruit, add to smoothies, sprinkle over salads and grind over soup and any other food (sweet or savoury). They do not have much of a taste and do not affect the flavour and texture of food, but will give you a healthy dose of nutrients with just a flick of the grinder.
  5. Flavoured salt. Ok, this is not really weird or even unusual, but it’s worth adding anyway. Buying coarse pink or sea salt in bulk and then adding to your grinder along with your favourite dried herbs is a simple way to make your own flavoured salts. It’s also a great gift idea – buy a set of glass grinders and mix coarse salt with dried rosemary, dried chilli, dried basil and other herbs, and voila… you will have a lovely gift for the foodie in your life.

Now it’s over to you… what do you grind in your spice grinders? We’d love to hear your comments, so share your ideas below and let us know!

How Long Can You Store Spices in Your Spice Grinder?

There is no doubt that freshly ground spices have a lot more flavour and benefits than old spices – this is, after all, why you have invested in a decent spice grinder and why you grind your own spices. But how long can you keep your favourite spices without the risk of spoilage or lost health benefit, aroma and flavour?

Before we give you some guidelines on typical shelf life of these aromatic condiments, it is first worth noting that how you look after your spices will play a big role in how long they last. Some people believe that storing spices in the fridge will retain their power for longer. Some may even keep spices such as ginger or chilli in the freezer. There are many viewpoints on this, but for the most part, subjecting your spices and herbs to harsh temperatures (cold or otherwise) may end up causing more harm than good. Ideally, spices and herbs should be kept in a cool, dark place such as a cupboard or shelf that is out of the way of direct sunlight.

Using smaller amounts instead of grinding the entire leaf, root or spice will also help to keep them fresher for longer. Keeping your grinders clean and avoiding contamination from other sources is also advised, so instead of using the same grinder to prepare pepper, salt, coriander and cloves, rather invest in a few grinders to use for different types of spice.

Preserving Whole Spices without Spoilage

With that said, a good guideline of how long various types of whole spices will keep in your grinders or in sealed containers or bottles will give you an idea of typical shelf life. Guidelines include the following:

  • Whole, unground spices, herbs, leaves and edible flowers: 1 – 2 years
  • Spice seeds: 2 – 3 years
  • Whole roots: 2 – 3 years
  •  Ground spices and herbs (prepared from whole): 1 year
  • Ground roots (prepared from whole): 2 years

 

These guidelines refer to the amount of time before a spice or herb will spoil. Some spices however are best fresh, and while they may still be technically unspoilt, they may start to lose their flavour and potency after a while. The best way to determine whether or not a spice is still fresh, or whether it is close to its spoiling date is to consider the colour and the smell. Old spices that are no long as potent will have a dull, muted colour compared to their original shade. Likewise, they may not smell as flavoursome as they did when you first purchased them.

By looking after your spices, buying smaller amounts to use in a shorter space of time rather than stocking up in bulk, and regularly checking your spices appearance and aroma, you should be able to prevent spoilage.

Investing in a good set of spice grinders will also help to keep your favourite spices fresh when they are in the grinders, so be sure to stock up on some decent quality grinders so that you get the most from your favourite spices.

5 Healthy Reasons to Use Your Pepper Grinder Daily

A good pepper grinder is a must-have for any kitchen. While most people use freshly ground pepper to add taste to their food, you might be surprised that pepper has a number of health benefits that make it an essential addition to your meals.

Freshly ground whole spices are a simple way to flavour food without the need for artificial flavourings, sugar and high levels of sodium. They can also add a great deal of complexity to a variety of dishes – both sweet and savoury. Pepper is one such spice that is used all over the world in many different dishes. Pre-ground pepper comes in black and white varieties, and whole peppercorns come in black, white and green (or pink, which is similar to green in its lighter strength). While ground pepper tastes good, it is the whole peppercorns that offer the most benefits from a health perspective.

Why Should You Use Your Pepper Mill Grinder Every Day?

If you are not already grinding your own fresh pepper in a pepper mill grinder, now is a great time to invest in a good grinder. There are many health benefits offered by this aromatic spice, including the following:

  1. Potential cancer prevention properties. Studies done at the University of Michagan Cancer Center in the United States showed that a chemical compound found in peppercorns known as piperine may be able to prevent the formation of breast cancer tumours. These studies are on-going, but research to date indicates that this spice’s ability to fight cancer are increased when paired with turmeric – another powerful spice.
  2.  Cold-fighting properties. A natural decongestant, pepper contains chemicals that cause runny noses, which happens when its chemical compounds irritate the mucus membranes. This means that it is effective in clearing blocked noses and stuffy nasal passages. Dr Neil Schachter from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, and the author of The Good Doctor’s Guide to Colds and Flu advises using a dash of freshly ground pepper in comforting chicken soup when trying to clear a cold.
  3.  Digestion aid properties. Pepper boosts the hydrochloric acid secretion within the stomach, which helps to aid digestion. This in turn prevents tummy bugs, constipation and colic. This spice is also able to prevent intestinal gas, and promote sweating and urination, which helps clear toxins. As it is carminative, forcing gas out from the body downwards instead of upwards where it strains organs and the chest cavity, it also helps gas to be expels more easily and naturally.
  4.  Antibacterial properties. Pepper helps the body to ward off infections and even insect bites. It also helps to clean arteries by scraping excess cholesterol from the arterial walls; thereby aiding heart health. It can even be applied topically to the skin to help remove impurities. Just be sure to use with caution however – some people may have a skin reaction to pepper.
  5.  Antioxidant properties. Pepper is considered a powerful antioxidant, and is able to fight free radical damage that has links to cancer, heart and liver problems. Antioxidants can protect the body and skin from many different health issues, as well as the effects of aging.

Add pepper to your diet, and reap the many rewards that this power spice has to offer. Remember – buying your spices whole and grinding them in good quality spice grinders or pepper mills is the best way to get the full benefit that whole spices have to offer.

 

 

Getting the Most From Your Spice Grinder

If you love using freshly ground spices in your food, then you most likely have at least one or two spice grinders in your kitchen. Whether made from glass or high grade plastic, you may think that you have to replace the entire grinder when your spices run out, but if you don’t wish to toss (or better yet, recycle) the grinder bottles, you can reuse them for many more years to come. First however, you need to make sure that you keep your grinders in good shape so that they last as long as possible.

Today, we will share a few tips on cleaning your grinder, reusing empty spice grinders, keeping the lids and bottles protected against the elements and other steps you can take to save on the costs of buying brand new grinders whenever your favourite spices run out.

Tips for Making Spice Grinders Last Longer

Some useful tips for making your grinders last as long as possible include the following:

  1. Invest in good quality grinders. Having a good grinder or two, or even a whole set, will ensure that you have the best quality to start with, which will go a long way in making sure that the bottles and lids last. Glass bottles are easy to clean, and if cleaned correctly they do not retain any odours or residue. If using plastic, look for high grade materials such as PET, which is a recyclable material that is eco-friendly and long-lasting.
  2. Organise your spices. To further ensure that bottles stay in good shape, try to organise your spices in specific bottles for each type of spice. For example, salt and pepper mills should be kept in their own bottles, and aromatic spices used in different bottles. Or, you could organise by hot spices and sweet spices. Using cinnamon in a former cayenne pepper bottle (especially without cleaning it) may result in some rather interesting baking experiments, to say the least.
  3. Invest in a bottle brush. These are very handy for cleaning bottles, as the name implies, but they are also good for washing tall glasses, jars and various other items that are harder to reach with a regular brush or sponge. You can find them in the baby product aisle of most supermarkets, or at chemists. The long shape and soft bristle will allow you to thoroughly clean empty spice bottles to remove all traces of spice before reusing them.
  4. Clean bottles and lids thoroughly. You may use a small brush, like a toothbrush, to clear the inside parts of the bottle and then a slightly damp cloth for the outside.
  5. Replace lids that no longer work properly. Obviously, you will need to get new grinders at some stage eventually. If the lid does not close properly, if you cannot get rid of odours anymore, if the grinding mechanism is not working or any signs of damage are visible, replace the lids and recycle the old ones.

One of the advantages of purchasing your grinders from a specialist such as Global Grinders is that you have the ability to purchase bottle sets, individual bottles or lids as and when needed. With various lid options that range from screw on to shakers and even adjustable grinders for course or finely ground spice, we have a great range of spice grinders to suit all of your cooking needs.

Which is Best for Spice Grinders – Glass or Plastic?

At Global Grinders, we stock both glass and PET plastic spice grinders, giving you the benefit of choice. While many believe that all plastic is bad for the environment, there are some types that can actually be considered even more eco-friendly than glass. Both glass and PET have their own benefits however, and ultimately, the choice should come down to which option suits your specific needs, which is better suited to your budget and which bottle you prefer.

To give you more information on what each of these grinder bottles have to offer, keep reading to see how they compare.

Glass Spice Grinders

One of the top benefits of a glass grinder bottle is that it can be reused for many years to come – for spices storage and for other uses as well. Glass is relatively easy to recycle and should never be tossed out with your garbage. Some recycling services require that all glass items are kept separate from other materials however, which means that a bit of sorting is required to separate your glass recycling from cardboard, paper, plastic and other recyclable goods. Another benefit of glass is that it is easier to clean, without any lingering smells or residue sticking to the inside of the bottle. If you buy whole spices often, you may find that a set of glass bottles will be ideal for changing up spices as they run out, with a quick rinse in hot soapy water required to prepare the bottles for the new spices.

Plastic Spice Grinders

It is important to note that not all plastics are equal. The PET (also known as PETE and short for polyethylene terephthalate) is a safe, recyclable material used for food and liquid containers. It is a type of thermoplastic polymer resin within the polyester family. The name may sound somewhat scary and hard to pronounce, but in fact, PET is a non-toxic material that is not only free of harmful chemicals such as BPAs – it is also scientifically proven to be one of the most cost-effective and eco-friendly packaging materials. The US based Allied Development Corporation conducted a Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) on PET to determine its environmental footprint compare to other types of packaging, and PET beat out aluminium cans and even glass bottles when manufacturing processes and carbon emissions were compared.

Which Grinder Bottle is Better?

Much like it is hard to compare apples and oranges, it is a bit tricky to compare two very different types of spice bottles. From an ecological point, PET bottles definitely have many benefits that make them easy to recycle and safe to use. With many types of plastic being used with caution, this should give some peace of mind for those wanting an option that is not harmful to the planet.

As they can be reused for a long period of time after purchase, glass spice bottles also offer benefits from a sustainability point of view. If you are buying a salt or pepper grinder or a grinder that you plan to reuse again, then glass is a good choice. If you are buying bottles for less frequently used spices, or you want something more affordable than glass however, PET bottles are just as good an option for your spice grinders.

Why Every Kitchen Needs a Spice Grinder (Or Few)

Most kitchens have a pepper grinder, some have a salt grinder, but not all kitchens have spice grinders that are used for condiments outside of the basic seasonings.

Whether you love spending time in the kitchen cooking up a storm or you prefer to focus on the bare minimums as long as someone else does the actual cooking, adding freshly ground spices is the best way to liven up just about any meal. Having a good grinder (or few) can go a long way in making it easier to experiment with different spices, add flavour to your favourite meals and benefit from the health advantages that many spices and herbs have to offer.

The humble grinder then should perhaps be getting a bit more attention than it currently does. Keep reading to find out why a spice grinder will help spice things up, in more ways than one.

How Spice Grinders Make Life Easier… and More Flavoursome

In addition to weird and wacky spice grinders that can be found in novelty stores, the basic types of grinder are designed to be functional and simple. Generally speaking, it is possible to grind a huge variety of things in a grinder – including seeds, crisps, herbs and spices. Some of the ways that these unassuming gadgets help make things easier include the following:

  • Ground whole spices have far more taste than store-brought ground spices. And unlike store-brought spice, you do not have to worry about any additives or flavourings, either. Many brand name spice makers use sneaky ingredients to make their products last longer on the shelves. This is good for business, but not so good for your health. Grinding your own ensures that your food is always seasoned perfectly, with the full flavour provided by freshly ground seasonings.
  • Spices are good for your health. You could save yourself future visits to the doctor if you use some of the most beneficial spices such as ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, paprika and cayenne pepper. Sadly, pre-ground spice loses much of its healing abilities – especially after it is doctored with additives to make it last longer on the shelf. Check out our list of benefits from whole spice to learn more about how these power seasonings can make life healthier and better all round – for body, skin and hair.
  • Preparing your favourite spices will make cooking simpler. We do not recommend grinding very large amounts to keep, but in smaller doses for a week or so, you can prepare your favourite blends to have on hand while you are cooking. This will make it easier to make your favourite curries, stews and dishes, with everything you need ready and waiting. Shopping at your local spice merchant will allow you to try new flavours that you have not tried yet. Making mini batches to sample is also a great way to explore different flavours.

Stocking up on a few different spice grinders will help you get full use out of your spices, without the risk of flavour contamination. Visit Global Grinders to view our full selection of grinders and bottles today!

5 Non Spice Things You Can Grind in a Spice Grinder

If you read our fun post on unusual spice grinders, you will know just how essential this tool is in any kitchen or dining room. But did you know that along with whole spice, pepper and salt, there are many other things that you can grind in your grinder?

In the blog post above, we briefly touched on the concept of grinding Doritos in your grinder, but that is just one alternative use for this kitchen gadget. From seeds to sugar and plenty of other goodies in between, you would be amazed at how much use you can get from a good spice grinder (or few!).

Alternative Uses for Your Spice Grinder

There is nothing like having freshly ground spices to add to foods to give aroma and taste to meals. But beyond spice, spice grinders can be used to grind up many things to add to food and drinks or baked goods. Without further ado, here are some of our top alternative uses for the trusty grinder…

  1. Seeds. Harder seeds such as flaxseed can be ground with the help of a simple twist grinder. This super seed is high in nutrients and can even be used as an egg substitute for those who do not want to use eggs in baking or cooking! Ground flax can also be added to smoothies or used as a flour alternative for those following a gluten-free diet. Fill up your grinder with your favourite seed and grind away for a finer powdered version.
  2. Dried Ginger or Garlic. After dehydrating ginger or garlic, you can pop pieces into your grinder and make perfectly sized flakes. These can be added as is to food, or used to make flavoured salt or sugar. Technically speaking, you could grind just about any dried seasoning or herb, as long as it is bone dry and thin enough to grind into a fine powder.
  3. Sugar. On the topic of sugar, you can make a quick powdered sugar if you have run out. Using regular granulated sugar and grinding it into finer powder can save you a trip to the shops (and end up costing less in the long run as well). You can also grind small amounts to sprinkle over cookies or other baked goods quickly and simply.
  4. Crisps. It’s not just Dorito’s that can be added to the grinder. You can grind just about any dry crisp of your fancy, to use over food. You can also use the ground crisps as a coating instead of breadcrumbs, to make mozzarella sticks and other crumbed dishes.
  5. Cornflakes. Cereal such as Cornflakes can be used in the grinder as well. Either make breadcrumb like crumbs for dishes that require coating, or add to smoothies to add a touch of fibre to your drinkable meal. You can even sprinkle over porridge or use the finely ground flakes as a cereal that has a more porridge-like consistency.

Of course, spices remain one of the best things to grind – especially when it comes to enhancing the quality and taste of every meal. But if you want to experiment a bit, be sure to try out these alternative uses for your spice grinder and let us know how it goes!

The Wonderful World of Weird and Wacky Spice Grinders

If you spend any time in the kitchen, chances are good that you have at least one or two spice grinders somewhere. Perhaps it is a cheap grinder that came with the store-bought spice you got recently, or maybe it is a good quality grinder that you use for your favourite whole spices. You may even have a grinder that does the job… but is far from regular.

Novelty spice grinders are loads of fun, giving you even more reason to add spice to your meals. Kids love them, grown up kids love to give them to friends as housewarming gifts (and secretly enjoy using them at home, too), and guests around the table are almost always charmed as well. With the range of weird and wonderful mills and grinders out there after all, dinner will likely never be the same when you have a Star Wars droid or a realistic-looking camera lens on the table to grind up your salt and pepper!

Novelty Spice Grinders – Putting the ‘Fun’ in Functionality

We have collected some of the best novelty grinders on the web, to share them with you here today. These are not what you would call subtle kitchen gadgets, and a better word to describe some might be ‘downright crazy’, but they are sure to be the most interesting spice grinders you have seen in a while. Here are our top pick for unusual table tools for grinding spice and seasonings…

1. A grinder straight out of a Victorian horror movie

We suspect that this somewhat spooky looking contraption would fit right in at Dr. Who’s dinner table. With its delightfully vintage design, it will suit any fan of Victoria era fiction and fantasy too, we are sure.

Steampunk Grinder

[Steampunk grinder via designswan.com]

2. A quirky, modern take to milling salt and pepper

With a sleek design, the windmill grinder is stylish enough to pass for a contemporary grinder, while still being just interesting enough to act as a conversation piece.

Windmill Grinder

[Windmill Grinder by Koziol via Polyvore]

3. A religious icon to make sure that you watch your sodium intake

The Blessed Mother can now watch over every dining experience, to provide much-needed motivation to watch what you eat, while also providing blessings on the meal about to be enjoyed.

Virgin Mary Grinder

 

[Virgin Mary Grinder via Sour Puss Clothing]

4. A gigantic pencil grinder, complete with eraser

This one is bound to be a big hit with kids – especially those who are just starting school. Add some fun to the dining table, and let the giant pencil follow up the meal with homework reminders as soon as the last plate is cleared.

Giant Pencil Grinders

[Giant Pencil Grinders via Buzzfeed]

5. A grinder that every photographer will appreciate

Cleverly disguised as a realistic looking lens, this grinder makes a fabulous gift for the photographer in your life. The detail in the design is quite astounding, and best of all, it is totally functional to boot.

Camera Lens Grinders

[Camera Lens Grinders via petapixel.com]

6. A grinder for the puzzle fanatic, geek or 80s child

Actually, just about everyone will love this Rubik’s cube grinder, which may not be solvable in the traditional puzzle way, but works very well to give you freshly ground pepper on the double. This is a fun gift, a great conversation starter and also something that those 80s kids will enjoy.

Rubiks Cube Grinders

[Rubik’s Cube Grinders via wantist.com]

7. A stylish but somewhat creepy helping hand grinder

Wooden marionette hands have become rather in vogue lately, particularly in homes that have a Scandinavian style of modern interior décor. This interesting grinder takes the trend one step further, providing you with a gadget that is not only on trend, but also useful for those perfectly seasoned meals.

Wooden Hand Grinders

[Wooden Hand Grinders via Petagadget]

8. A grinder that will have you reaching for a tissue

Best suited for fresh black pepper, the Ah Choo grinder is a joy for those who love a good pun. It will certainly get a laugh at your next dinner party, and smaller kids will never get tired of making sneeze-related jokes.

Ah Choo Pepper Grinder

[Ah Choo Pepper Grinder via fab.com]

9. A grinder for the Star Wars fans

How could any collection of novelty gadgets be complete without functional Star Wars memorabilia? Everyone’s favourite beeping droid comes all the way from the Empire and right to your kitchen to give you freshly ground spice with just a quick twist.

R2D2 Grinder

[R2-D2 Grinder via Tumblr]

10. A spice hack for those wanting to try a fun seasoning

This one is not exactly a grinder, but the idea is novel enough that we had to share. Grind your favourite Doritos chips with a pestle and mortar; then pop them into a spice grinder to sprinkle over burgers, pizza, salad, sarmies and anything else you feel like seasoning. While not the healthiest way to add flavour to meals, this is worth sampling nonetheless.

Doritos Grinder

[Doritos spice hack via Buzzfeed]

Of course, if you prefer your gadgets on the simple, stylish and functional side, you can always browse our range of spice grinders that get the job done quickly and simply, every time.

5 Essential Whole Spices for Healthy Living

Whole spices have long been associated with health benefits, acting as a natural alternative to salt, sugar and other unhealthy additives. But surprisingly, the use of spice is still not as widespread as it ought to be in the western world.

It goes without saying that quality makes all the difference as far as spice shopping is concerned. Buying your spices fresh, whole and (where possible) organic gives you the best chance of getting every ounce of goodness that these aromatic seasonings have to offer. Using pre-ground spices is sometimes unavoidable – especially when life gets hectic and you don’t have anything fresh on hand. A simple way to ensure that you always get the most from your spices and herbs is to prepare your own mixes in advance, which you can store for a few weeks in a cool, dark place. Investing in a spice grinder is a must, allowing you to easily grind your favourite spices to have them on hand for cooking, meal preparation and beverages.

5 Essential Whole Spices for Healthy Living

Which whole spices have the most benefit to your health, and how can you use these super spices to get the optimal healthy boost? Keep reading to find out.

Fast-Track Your Health With These Powerful Whole Spices

Some of the spices that you should add to your collection include the following:

  1. Cinnamon. This sweet spice is known for its versatility in desserts, baking, cookies, pancakes and chai tea, but it can be used in savoury foods as well. This spice has antioxidant properties, along with antidiabetic properties and anti-inflammatory properties.  Cinnamaldehyde, the main active component of the spice, has antifungal and antibacterial properties, and when applied topically as oil or ground spice, cinnamon also has a number of skin and hair benefits. Try adding a sprinkle to your tea or coffee, over oatmeal or even to soaps, stews and sauces. You can also use whole sticks as stirrers in your favourite hot beverage (it is particularly tasty with hot chocolate and cocoa!).
  2. Paprika. Made from red peppers, this hot spice is high in capsicum – a strong antioxidant that is good for the immune system. It has a high level of carotenoids, providing an excellent dose of vitamin A. In fact, just one tablespoon of paprika gives you over 100% of your daily vitamin A allowance. This vitamin helps to promote vision, reducing night vision and improve eyesight. While you probably won’t want to get your dose with a tablespoon of straight paprika, adding this spice to green tea, honey and lemon drinks, avocado sandwiches, potato salad, pasta and other meals will help you get the benefit of its vitamin-enriched goodness.
  3. Cayenne Pepper. Helping to ease upset stomach, ulcers, sore throats and coughs, this anti-irritant spice is made from chili peppers, and is as hot as they get. But despite its uber spicy reputation, this spice is full of powerful nutrients. It is a natural pain reliever, boasting anti-allergen, anti-flu and anti-cold and anti-fungal properties. Its high levels of capsicum make it great as an all-round immune system booster, too. The best way to get the benefit of this spice is to slowly start to add a tiny amount to your diet, so that you can get used to it without being put off by its spiciness. You can also use it on wounds by sprinkling it directly over the injury, in order to stop bleeding.
  4. Ginger. An old favourite for colds and tummy bugs, ginger is the ultimate ‘feel better’ spice. Used along with lemon and honey in hot toddies, it is great for colds and flu. Used whole, cut into slices, it can be added to tea or hot water to help reduce nausea. Motion sickness, upset stomachs, morning sickness and various other tummy problems can all be eased with ginger. It can be used ground, whole or even as an oil. Make your own ginger tea by adding freshly sliced ginger to your favourite Ceylon or rooibos tea.
  5. Turmeric. This bright yellow spice contains curcumin – a substance that has powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It has loads of healthy properties that make it good for everything from heartburn and headaches to arthritis, colds and tummy bugs. Used topically in skin care treatments, it is just as powerful; offering exfoliating and skin brightening properties. To use it in meals, add to rice, curries and stews. You could also try ‘golden milk’, which is turmeric blended with almond milk.

To get optimal use out of your spices, be sure to purchase and store whole spices carefully so that you can retain the full flavour and nutrients of each spice.