How to Use Traditional Autumn Spices In Your Cooking (and Their Health Benefits)


As the weather cools down, we start turning to more warming foods to keep us satisfied – suddenly salad just doesn't hit the spot anymore. Some spices just seem to scream autumn and can pretty much transform your food from bland and tasteless into a fall feast. Here are five of the best to keep in your kitchen:

Cinnamon – This popular spice goes well with both sweet and savoury dishes, from pumpkin pie to Moroccan tagine. It's at the top of my list because it's used widely during the colder months and is definitely an autumn staple as far as spices go. It's great for your blood – by adding it to your food you'll be helping to regulate your blood sugar and lower LDL (bad) cholesterol. It's also a powerful anti-clotting agent.

Nutmeg – Like cinnamon, nutmeg works well in a variety of dishes, whether sweet or savoury. An antibacterial, nutmeg can kill cavity-causing bacteria in the mouth as well as aid digestion. However, it should be used in moderation and avoided by pregnant and breastfeeding women. In extreme cases, overdosing on nutmeg can cause hallucinations, convulsions and even miscarriage. A pinch or two is a safe amount to add to your autumnal dishes.

Ginger – Tea, biscuits, cake, beer, bread...you can put the word 'ginger' in front of all of these. This spice is so versatile, and so good for you. It helps to increase blood circulation, aid digestion, reduce pain and inflammation, fight colds and flu and is an effective remedy for nausea – pregnant women have sworn by it for centuries to ease morning sickness.

Cloves – These can be used to liven up savoury dishes such as stews and curries but also go very well with fruit – try adding a few to an apple crumble for a little extra taste. Health-wise, they help to reduce inflammation and are a natural painkiller and anaesthetic, especially good for toothache. You know that funny tasting liquid the dentist gives you to swish around your mouth at the end of your appointment? That's made with cloves, because they have a slight numbing effect and therefore help to reduce pain.

Allspice – This is not, as some people believe, a mixture of spices, but the dried, unripe fruit of the pimenta dioica plant. It's called allspice because it seems to combine the flavours of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves, and therefore can be used in place of any or all of these. Allspice is an anti-inflammatory and can also be used to fight infections and treat gas and bloating. It's a good all-rounder!

What are your favourite spices and how do you use them?


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Comments

  1. Ah if there was a post made for me, this is IT!! I love autumn spices with ginger and cinnamon being my favourite. I had no idea there were so many health benefits so now I feel even better if I go a little OTT....haha!

    Sarah
    Things Sarah Loves

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    1. I love it when I finally get the chance to make warming comfort food recipes with lots of autumnal spices. Ginger is definitely my favourite.

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  2. Love this! I couldn't cook without herbs & spices, & love all of those. Great to read about the health benefits, too.

    Tracy x

    https://bloggerbythesea.com

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    1. I couldn't cook without herbs and spices either, the food would be sooo bland.

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  3. So informative! I love using these spices in my fall cooking and it's really interesting to learn about the side benefits besides the taste!

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    1. These spices are all great this time of year and have so many health benefits, too.

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  4. This is so interesting to read Nic! Wow, I never knew you could overdose on nutmeg! I love ginger, especially ginger biscuits, they always go so well with a cuppa. I sometimes sprinkle a bit of cinnamon on my porridge in the morning to give it some flavour, it's great to know that it is so good for you too! Thank you so much for sharing, I always enjoy reading your posts <3 xx

    Bexa | www.hellobexa.com

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    1. Glad you found it interesting! I know, it's pretty strange about the nutmeg, isn't it?

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