CulturallyOurs Global Spices To Have In Your Pantry

5 Spices To Always Have In Your Kitchen

CulturallyOurs Global Spices To Have In Your Pantry

A well-stocked pantry is a beautiful thing. For all those times when you cannot think of a single thing to cook or are too tired to cook, a full pantry means you can whip up your favorite dish without worrying too much of whether you have certain ingredients on hand.

A few months ago, we shared some easy ways to add diversity to your table and your foods.

In lieu of having a global mindset to foods, we wanted to share a few basic spice essentials that you should always have on hand to add a little flavor to your everyday foods. A great way to go around the world in your own kitchen!

So without further ado, let’s kick things off on a spicy note with spices!

Five Basic Global Pantry Spices

In the interest of simplicity and accessibility, we challenged ourselves to think about which five spices, not including salt and pepper, we consider to be the most essential from a global perspective. Versatile, transformative and bold, these five spices can help you whip up a globally inspired cuisine in no time.

1. Cumin

Earthy and slightly bitter, ground cumin is an essential spice in most Indian and Latin American dishes. From chili to guacamole, to curries and lentil stews, cumin lends depth and a uniquely enticing fragrance to many meals.

Cumin is actually the dried fruit of a plant in the parsley family. Cumin can be purchased as whole seeds or already-ground. Indian dishes often call for whole cumin seeds, whereas ground cumin is perfect for Mexican-inspired meals like tacos or chili. For convenience sake, and because of how we typically use it, we prefer to keep our shelves stocked with ground cumin.

An easy way to ground cumin is to roast it for a few minutes on a dry pan. Once it cools, give it a whip in a coffee grinder or even a special spice grinder until it is a fine powder. Dry cumin powder can be stored at room temperature for several months.

2. Turmeric Powder

Known as the golden spice, good quality turmeric powder is like gold. Full of medicinal properties, turmeric has been used for centuries in not only cooking but also in treating ailments like headaches, sore throats, joint pains and stomach aches. Jamu, a juice from Bali, is traditionally made with fresh turmeric and ginger. It is considered more of a tonic because of all the health benefits that are associated with the ingredients that go into this drink. When added to foods, turmeric brings out a golden color.

Some people apply turmeric to the skin for pain, ringworm, sprains and swellings, bruising, leech bites, eye infections, acne, psoriasis, inflammatory skin conditions and skin sores, soreness inside of the mouth, infected wounds, and gum disease.

A little turmeric does go a long way but having said that, there is no such thing as too much turmeric. Keep in mind that it can give a slightly bitter taste to foods, so a teaspoon is good for most dishes.CulturallyOurs Global Spices To Have In Your Pantry Turmeric Powder

3. Paprika or Chili Powder

Though it is all made from the same essential ingredient which is ground, dried peppers, all paprika is not created equal. Paprika is far more than a dusting of color on top of salads and deviled eggs. Fresh paprika has the full flavor of the peppers it was ground from. Originating, like all chile peppers, in the Americas, paprika peppers are strongly associated with Hungarian cuisine. Paprika can range in flavor from mild and sweet to fiery hot, and is used heavily in Eastern European cooking.

In Asian cooking, chili powder ground from red chili is used in place of paprika. This too ranges in heat based on the chili it is derived from.

Regardless of what you use, paprika or chili powder, a little heat is a great way to spice up your favorite dish.CulturallyOurs Global Pantry Staples Spices Paprika

4. Cinnamon

Cinnamon is a type of spice that is obtained from the inner bark of a tree. Cinnamon is used mainly as an aromatic flavoring additive in a wide variety of cuisines, sweet and savory dishes, cereals, snacks, teas and other foods.

Cinnamon has a long history both as a spice and as a medicine. It is the brown bark of the cinnamon tree, which is available in its dried stick form known as a quill or as a ground powder. The two varieties of cinnamon, Chinese and Ceylon, have similar flavor, however the cinnamon from Ceylon is slightly sweeter, more refined and more difficult to find in local markets.

Good quality cinnamon is fragrant so a little bit goes a long way.CulturallyOurs Global Spices To Have In Your Pantry Cinnamon Sticks

5. Garlic Powder Or Garlic Salt

Garlic powder is exactly what it sounds like. Cloves of garlic that have been dried and then pulverized into powder and can be used in a variety of ways to subtly enhance the flavors of a dish. If you’re a garlic lover like we are, you can use either garlic powder or use it mixed with salt. It is especially ideal for adding a burst of garlicky goodness to things like homemade spice blends and dry rubs.

Garlic powder is very easy to make at home. To make garlic powder, begin by cutting the peeled cloves into thin slices. Place these in a food dehydrator or even in an oven. Heat to 150 F. The garlic is dry when you can crush it in your hand, and it crumbles easily.

Once dry, allow the garlic to cool. Then grind it with a coffee grinder, spice grinder, or food processor until it reaches your desired consistency.

Something to keep in mind, though that like all dried spices, garlic powder’s potency fades over time, so if you recently discovered your jar at the back of your pantry, ditch it and just buy a fresh bottle.

CulturallyOurs Global Pantry Staples Spices Garlic

So what spices should you stock up on?

At the heart of any great pantry is a core selection of spices. These are the ones that you reach for again and again. So when you decide to keep any or all these spices, here are a few things to consider

  • Versatility – Think about what you cook all the time, what you love to bake? what are your staples? And how can you use spices like cinnamon or even turmeric in your foods.
  • Shelf-life – A good rule of thumb is that ground spices have a shelf life of about six months.

Are there any other spices that you absolutely love and always have in your pantry?

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CulturallyOurs Spices To Always Have In Your Kitchen For Global Foods

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