When fall comes around it seems like everything you eat or drink is spiced with delicious flavors that have come to define the season. Just the taste of them brings out memories and nostalgic feelings for fall and going on hayrides, carving pumpkins, cozy fires and the scent of burning leaves. Here are 5 of our favorite fall spices and some of the amazing and unexpected ways you can use them!
Cinnamon doesn’t just smell heavenly, it also has a number of great health benefits and is actually a powerful medicinal herb used for years in traditional Chinese medicine as a remedy for colds and headaches, among other things. Cinnamon is known to be a great digestive aid and also helps lower cholesterol and balance blood sugar. Even the scent is said to boost cognitive function and memory! I love adding a small dash of cinnamon to coffee or tea, or on top of oatmeal. Cinnamon and honey in tea is incredibly soothing and delicious.
*please note that cinnamon should only be used in small doses!
Juniper berries are used to make gin, but they are also commonly used as a spice in preparing meat dishes. As a vegetarian, the only way I’ve ever consumed them was in beverages but they are delicious! Their health benefits include improving digestion, lowering blood sugar and improving kidney health. This time of year, use them to make mulled wine! Mix red wine with juniper berries, cinnamon and cloves (also on this list!) and any other desired ingredients, simmer, strain and serve hot!
Turmeric is native to Southeast Asia and a member of the ginger family, and is thought by many cultures to be one of the most beneficial substances around. It is a common ingredient in Southeast Asian foods, and was also often used in ancient Indian medicine, Ayurveda. Turmeric is a powerful antioxidant that some studies show can also be used to block the growth of certain cancers. It is also a potent anti-inflammatory. It is best incorporated into food raw – just sprinkle a bit in soup or mix in with salad dressing and enjoy its mild flavor and many health benefits! Oh, and the unexpected uses – turmeric can be mixed with plain yogurt to create a skin cream to promote healthier skin, and it can also be used to make a really beautiful natural dye!
I actually never knew this is what nutmeg looked like! I’m used to the ground, reddish brown powder that you get when these are ground up. Nutmeg is one of my favorite additions to sprinkle on top of soup in the fall – it has a very potent flavor so you only need small amounts. Medicinally, nutmeg has powerful antibacterial properties and can effectively kill bacteria in the mouth, preventing cavities and sickness – and nutmeg oil can be used to treat toothaches! Other health benefits include mixing with honey to help with nausea, indigestion and even anxiety and depression.
Last but not least, cloves are another great seasonal spice that can help remedy colds, skin problems and more. Cloves work surprisingly well as an expectorant if you have a cough – add a couple cloves to your tea and let it do its work! For an unexpected use, a small satchel of cloves in a drawer can give your clothes a lovely aroma and also keep them fresh. Combine ground cloves with honey to make a homemade facial remedy that will help fight breakouts and balance out your skin.
More healthy tips from the BLDG 25 Blog.
Photos by Julia.