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How to season food with organic spices

Organic powders and spices

We all supplement our food, unless you cook totally pure without herbs or spices. Usually we season our food because of the taste, yet spices are also a great source of necessary vitamins and minerals.

As an artist I can’t resist mentioning that spices also make a great dye for paper and fabric. But don’t worry, this article is about how to season food. Although cooking is of course also an artistic process. 🙂

Who decides which spices to use?

I’ll be honest with you, I don’t cook. My husband, Tom, is spoiling me by cooking the most delicious and healthy food you can think of. I am the one researching all the nutritional facts. And eating it, of course!

For Tom taste comes first in choosing which spice goes in the food. But especially now in Corona-times it is good to keep an eye on our immune system and wherever possible, boost it with spices.

Tip: different colors of food have different vitamins and minerals. A good rule of thumb is to eat as many colors on a day as possible. It goes without saying that I don’t mean artificially colored food. Have a look at my eBook Use the Colors of Food to Benefit your Health for an extended explanation.

Curcuma on fish
Organic (or wild) fish is lot harder to buy here in Spain. All the other ingredients of this delicious lunch are organic.

Six spices we use a lot

Whenever possible Tom uses fresh herbs we grow in our own kitchen garden. Even though we live in a subtropical area, not everything grows here. And sometimes it is out of season. So dried herbs and powders are on the menu as well.

Some nutritional elements will be more concentrated in powder, but there are losses too. For instance Vitamin C is more present in fresh stuff than in dried form. The main reason for using powders is the availability and the simplicity to use. 

The 6 listed spices are a personal preference and certainly not the only spices we eat. 

Paprika powder – when your blood can use a boost

Personally I think that fresh bell pepper and paprika powder differ the most in taste from all the powders we often use. It supports a healthy digestion and like a lot of spices it is good for a healthy heart.

Paprika powder contains a lot of Vitamin E which is a powerful antioxidant. As all orange colored food it’s very beneficial for our skin and eyes. 

Cinnamon powder – great on desserts

Cinnamon on homemade apple pear sauce

Cinnamon is not as orange as paprika powder, but has the same health benefits. The taste is different of course. Where paprika powder is rather hot than sweet tasting, cinnamon has a kind of sweet touch. 

It’s Tom’s favorite on his homemade apple pear sauce. He does not sweeten the apple pear sauce. He lets apples and pears simmer with a little water at a low temperature and lets it thicken. The cinnamon gives it a specific taste he likes very much. 

It reminds me of my mother’s apple pie. That also contained a lot of cinnamon.

Stevia powder – for the sweet tooth

That apple pie of my mother also had a ton of sugar. I don’t think I could eat it nowadays; it’s been ages since I ate refined sugar. Once you get used to the real taste of vegetables and meat (we don’t add salt either) it’s amazing to realize how sugar and salt affect your taste.

Not that a sweet taste is bad and stevia is great for that. Moreover, it has the same benefits as the other spices. Like reducing blood pressure and lowering cholesterol levels.

Spirulina powder – something good from the sea

Organic spirulina

Spirulina is an algae and known to be packed with nutrients. Apart from the vitamins and minerals it’s a plant based source of iron, making it an excellent supplement for vegans and vegetarians. As most algae come from the sea it also contains salt. Something to take into account if you are on a salt-free diet.

I love spirulina the most in a smoothie with lots of green vegetables.

Spirulina is quite a hype lately, so make sure you buy a good quality. There were some concerns in the past about contamination, so better safe than sorry.

Ginger powder – to improve digestion

I absolutely love ginger. We eat it a lot as it not only tastes great, but has many health benefits. It calms the stomach if you have digestive problems or gas. Ginger even seems to reduce the symptoms of motion sickness.

It’s a great tea when you feel chilly in wintertime. Not only the temperature of the tea will warm you because of its diaphoretic quality.

Garlic powder – be aware of smells 🙂

Garlic is said to purify the blood. Hence its beneficial effect on heart diseases and blood pressure. From ancient times on it is used for medicinal purpose. 

Here in Spain everybody eats garlic. Not in the Netherlands. If we were going to meet friends or have a meeting we would skip the garlic as most people hate the smell. Making us very glad we live in Spain now. It’s always on our menu nowadays. 

Garlic powder smells even more than fresh garlic. A trick is to chew parsley or mint leaves after your meal. That reduces garlic or onion smells.

How much should we add?

There are 3 reasons why it is almost impossible to mention the quantity of adding spices.

  1. Supplementary powders and spices are not scientifically tested, making it very hard to be accurate at the appropriate doses;
  2. Plants depend on the type of soil and the climate for their composition, so that can vary;
  3. Countries have different standards for recommended units.

How do we know it’s organic?

How to season food with organic spices

It is the comment I get most when I propagate organic food. I have to say that I sometimes get annoyed by this comment because questions are rarely asked about the amount of poison used in ‘normal’ agriculture. On the other hand it is good to keep an eye on the quality of what you eat.

Both the EU as the USA have a symbol that indicates something is organic. The standards that organic must meet are very high. The EU has a control system and rules that are going to be even more strict after 1 January 2021.

Apart from the symbols you can look at the reputation of the brands. Are the marketing texts meaningful or in fact not saying anything valuable? And have a good look at the nutritional information. Avoid added artificial sweeteners or something with E-numbers on it.

What spice do you love to add to your food? Tell me in the comment box.

19 thoughts on “How to season food with organic spices”

  1. Hi there,

    To be honest, I don’t really like ginger and garlic. My mother’s forced me to eat all of them. Right now, she gave me some supplements which contain some spices in capsules and some of them are powder like what you mentioned before. Food supplement helps me to get all 5 food groups.
    I miss her so much when I read your article. I will call her after that.

    Thanks for your great article and all the best.
    Kumponchai

    Reply
    • Thanks for responding, Kumponchai. Although our instincts are not always reliable in these modern times, chances are high your body won’t take ginger and garlic well if you hate it that much. It’s always good to try to find out whether it’s ‘childhood traumas’ or ‘I really hate it’. Thank goodness there are lots of other healthy goods, so you have ample choice if you want to take good care of your body. 🙂

      Reply
  2. I love spices! They add so much flavour to food and have great health benefits too. Growing up, my parents rarely used spices in their food, so it was fun to explore with them once I moved out on my own. I love putting cinnamon on cut up apples, oatmeal or my coffee. I’m trying to add turmeric to more foods, as it’s so good at reducing inflammation and other things. And garlic just makes food taste so much better! Great post.

    Reply
    • Thanks, Carla. Isn’t that funny, nor did my parents. Probably partly because there was less choice of products and partly out of prejudice, “What we don’t know, we don’t want”. 😀

      Reply
  3. I wouldn’t say I necessarily appreciate the taste of Turmeric, but turmeric is the one I like for its health benefits. It’s anti-inflammatory effects to be specific.
    My granddaughters love to have peanut butter, honey, and cinnamon toast. It’s their favorite snack. And for the most part healthy.
    I do question organic brands sometimes as well. I just can’t consider Prego spaghetti sauce as organic, but it’s on the label. But that’s for another day.
    Garlic is another one I tend to use a lot. It adds a lot of flavor but also has great health benefits.
    Nice article!

    Reply
    • Thanks, Teresa. And you are right to always be critical, especially about marketing humble jumble. We rarely buy ready-made stuff. Even if they use organic products, they will have to add something to make it last longer. So I don’t trust these either. 🙂

      Reply
  4. I absolutely love using spices and I use most of these. I heard great things about cinnamon especially for lowering a1c levels and although I haven’t been diagnosed with diabetes it runs in my family so I like to eat in a way to prevent everything I can. I have never heard of Spirulina but would love to see some recipes where it is used. Thanks for showing these great spices, benefits, and tips!

    Reply
  5. Thank you so much for this highly informative article, Hannie! I definitely want to eat better, and knowing which herbs and spices will provide a quality taste, along with a plethora of health benefits, is extremely useful! I regularly use cinnamon powder on my desserts (especially cakes, pies, and cupcakes), and it is delightful! Haha I have never tried the other powders that you mentioned, but I am definitely going to give them a try. BTW, God bless your husband for being the chef of the family-good man, good man (all of the men in my family cook as well. Thank you, Jesus! Haha). Haha. I have saved your site and will definitely share it with my friends and family. God bless you!

    Reply
    • I have it mainly for the grandchildren. Stevia is a replacement of refined sugar. It’s from leaves, that’s why it’s green, and very sweet.

      Reply
  6. Great article Hannie!
    Personally I love many kinds of spices, our place produces great tasty kinds, but my taste buds can’t tolerate spicy food.
    Anyway, it was a great read, specially about the different kinds of organic spices.

    keep up the good work!

    Reply
  7. Hi Hannie,

    I love spicy food, and your organic spices definitely do sound like they could enhance my food quite a lot. I eat a lot of chicken which can be boring at times. Spicing it up with your recommendations here will definitely make dinner time more interesting for me.

    Thank you for sharing and keep up the great work.

    All the best,

    Tom

    Reply
    • Thanks, Tom. We also eat a lot of chicken, and my husband (whose name happens to be Tom as well) marinates it at times with these spices. Delicious!

      Reply
  8. Hi Hannie,

    I’m a huge fan of herbs and spices and I can’t imagine eating any food without some form of seasoning.

    In fact, I’ll even eat an omlette with plenty of fresh herbs and a pinch of paprika and cumin.

    Much like Tom has commented, I’m a huge fan of chicken, I probably eat chicken at least 5-6 times a week, and without the use of wide variety of spices, I’m sure this would eventually become very boring.

    I must admit I don’t actually go for organic spices. I’m aware of the many benefits of organic whole foods, but have never really considered whether there are as many advantages when it comes to organic spices.

    Would the main benefit of organic spices be that there are no synthetic chemicals and pesticides used in the cultivation process?

    Are there any other factors I should be aware of?

    Anyway, a great read Hannie, I thoroughly enjoyed this article.

    Keep up the great work.
    Partha

    Reply
    • Thanks so much, Partha.
      Plants that are not artificially fertilized will grow slower most of the times. That way their taste will be stronger. But the main benefit is indeed not getting pesticides and other horrible stuff into your body.
      Take care 🙂

      Reply

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