Facts About Three Household Spices

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by Staff
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A dash of pepper, a teaspoon of cumin — most of our interactions with spices are limited to tossing them into dinner dishes. However, some of the spices stashed in kitchen cabinets have uses besides cooking, or interesting backstories of their own. These facts about common household spices may surprise you, or at least give you something to think about while you’re hovering over the stove.

Nutmeg sees most of its use during the holiday baking season, added into pies and baked goods from Thanksgiving through the winter holidays. However, researchers believe adding the antioxidant-rich spice into your diet more regularly can help you sleep better and longer. Nutmeg can also boost your mood and even help balance blood sugar.

Feathery dill leaves are best known for flavoring pickles, though their seeds contain an anise-like flavor when chewed. Colonial Americans took advantage of this refreshing flavor, using dill seeds as a natural breath mint and giving them another name: “meetinghouse seeds.” During long church services, the edible seeds were occasionally given to fidgety children to keep them calm or help perk up sleepy congregants.

Researchers believe cinnamon may be one of the world’s oldest spices, and during its earliest known history, the heavily scented bark was actually more valuable than gold.  However, the civilizations that collected this spice back then had a variety of uses for it besides eating. In ancient Egypt, cinnamon was used for medicine and religious practices. Similarly, ancient Romans considered the scent sacred, sometimes burning it at funerals of the wealthy. Cinnamon eventually gained its most common modern use — as a food flavoring — around the Middle Ages.

 

Media Release/InterestingFacts

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