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Spice up your winter

May 16, 2024



When it’s cold outside, there's nothing quite like being inside the cozy warmth of a kitchen infused with the aroma of spices.  But did you know that beyond their aromatic allure, these spices harbour a treasure trove of health benefits?


From the fiery kick of chili to the sweet warmth of cinnamon, each spice brings not only flavour but also a host of nutrients and healing properties to our winter dishes. So, whether you're sipping on mulled wine, indulging in gingerbread, or savouring a hearty stew, every bite promises to not just please your palate but also contribute to your overall well-being.


Chili: turn up the heat 
Chillis are synonymous with heat, not to mention packed with vitamins and minerals like vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin B6, potassium, and copper. They are a powerful antioxidant and support a healthy immune system making them the perfect addition to your winter meals. Whether you prefer the intense spiciness of cayenne or the smoky depth of chipotle, chili will add a kick to dishes such as chilli con carne, soups, and stews. A dash of chilli powder works beautifully sprinkled on roasted root vegetables or onto hot chocolate.  


Cinnamon: sweet and spicy 
This handy spice has been shown to help regulate blood sugar levels and improve heart health. It pairs beautifully with sweet and savoury dishes, from classic cinnamon rolls and spiced apple pies to Moroccan tagines and Indian curries. Try infusing cinnamon sticks into mulled wine or cider for a fragrant winter warmer or sprinkling on your morning oatmeal with banana for a healthy breakfast.  


Smoked Paprika: flavourful and warm 
Smoked Paprika is perfect for winter with its rich, smoky flavor and vibrant red color. Use it to season roasted meats, soups, and stews for a subtle smoky undertone, sprinkle over roasted nuts and popcorn for a savory snack or mix it into hummus and dips. Smoked paprika is also said to help improve mood by stimulating the release of endorphins, the body's natural feel-good hormones.  


Nutmeg: the perfect winter warmer 
Nutmeg's warm, nutty flavor is used to season creamy sauces, gratins, and baked goods such as pumpkin pie, making it a winter kitchen staple.  It is believed to have sedative properties that can help promote relaxation and improve sleep quality, so try a sprinkle of nutmeg with a warm drink before bed. For a cosy treat, stir fresh nutmeg into eggnog, hot chocolate, or coffee, and mix into spiced nuts or granola for added warmth and flavor.


Cloves: spicy and aromatic 
Cloves have an intense, spicy flavor and distinctively aromatic fragrance, making them a beloved winter spice. Infuse whole cloves in mulled wine or cider for a delicious winter drink, and ground cloves are perfect for adding flavour to baked goods like gingerbread cookies, fruitcakes, apple pies and spiced breads. As a bonus, cloves also have anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties. 


Ginger: spicy-sweet and therapeutic 
Renowned for its zesty kick and warming properties, ginger is incredibly versatile.  It's also celebrated for its health benefits which include anti-inflammatory and digestive properties, so a cup of soothing ginger tea is the perfect way to finish off a delicious winter meal. Used fresh, dried or powdered, it enhances everything from gingerbread and cakes to calming teas and aromatic stir-fries.


For some spice-filled deliciousness, try this irresistible recipe for slow-cooked pulled pork from Ryman residents Brent and Karen. With its tender meat and velvety sauce, this dish will warm you from the inside out – but be warned, it will be hard to resist going back for seconds! 


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