PEREG GOURMET, LEADING PRODUCER OF PURE & NATURAL SPICES, OFFERS FUN FACTS, TIPS & INFO ON SEASONINGS
Clifton, NJ, AUG 4, 2015 -- If you think all spices are alike, think again. Pereg Gourmet (pereg-gourmet.com) is a leading producer of premium, all natural pure spices and spice blends, among other flavorful products.*
Offering the highest quality spices for more than 100 years, this New Jersey based company asked its resident spice expert – Joy – to give us some tips, fun facts and other helpful info to spice up your life, your recipes and your palate.
A Little Spice History
Tonight you might grind a bit on Caesar salad or use it to perk up a steak, but pepper was once so valuable that it could be used to pay the rent. In fact, to this day Bermuda’s freemasons pay an annual rent of one peppercorn, presented on a velvet cushion laid on a silver tray to the Governor-General for use of the old State House as their meeting hall.
Pepper, along with other spices such as cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg, was such a hot commodity five centuries ago that it drove nations to sail across vast oceans searching for new routes to the spice-rich Orient.
Spices didn't just make merchants rich across the globe — it established vast empires, the quest for them revealed entire continents to Europeans and tipped the balance of world power. If the modern age has a definitive beginning, it was sparked by the spice trade, some historians have argued.
Fun Facts, Tips & Info about Spices
While most people think of spices, seasonings and herbs as the substances that make our food taste good, these colorful ingredients also pack a nutritional punch. They are filled with an impressive list of phyto-nutrients, essential oils, antioxidants, minerals and vitamins that are essential for overall wellness.
In places where local cuisine includes an abundance of cayenne and other hot peppers, there seems to be a lower incidence of heart disease.
There is some research that suggests that the fragrance of cinnamon may stimulate brain activity. Just smelling cinnamon—not even eating it!
In the “olden days” when a person had a toothache, they would pack it with cloves. This actually worked due to the presence of a compound called “eugenol” in cloves that acts as a mild anesthetic. Eugenol also has anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties.
Chew a half-teaspoon of fennel seeds to alleviate digestive gas or intestinal cramps. This really works!
“Rosemary is for Remembrance,” - Scientists have found that rosemary actually does have a positive effect on the brain, and may, in effect, help you to remember those remembrances!
Unfortunately, the salt that is used in most commercially prepared foods and found in most salt shakers is a processed variety, adulterated with bleaches and anti-caking agents, and is not the natural product. To be sure you are getting the best in flavor and mineral content, use all natural sea salt.
No sauna’s please! When storing spices, your biggest enemies are: Air, Light, Humidity, and Heat. If you purchases spices in bulk, store them in an airtight container in the freezer. Store smaller quantities in a cool, dry place.
Medicinally, spices can be used at home as a remedy to improve digestion, to get relief from arthritic pain and sore muscles, as a poultice or in hot baths.
Spices have a shelf life of about 18 months, though improper storage will cause them to lose their potency much earlier.
Some of the most expensive spices include saffron, machlab (common in Syrian cuisine), nutmeg, mace, cardamom, cloves and several types of pepper.
Some Uncommon SpicesHilbeh - Also known as fenugreek, methya, menthya, vendayam, menthulu, uluva, uluhaal and methi. In Persia it is known as shanbalîleh. The name hilbeh is Arabic. It has a very light bitter and spicy taste (which might require getting used to). It is commonly used in Indian cuisine and is said to help improve digestion, increase libido, and treat hormonal disorders.
Sumac - The sumac bush, native to the Middle East, produces deep red berries, which are dried and ground into coarse powder. Less commonly, the berries may also be sold whole. Ground sumac is a versatile spice with a tangy lemony flavor, although more balanced and less tart than lemon juice. A small sprinkle also adds a beautiful pop of color to any dish. Sumac is one of the main components in the spice mix za'atar. It's great over vegetables, grilled lamb, chicken and fish. Ground sumac also makes a nice, flavorful topping on dips like hummus. Sumac has been used across the globe for its medicinal properties and uses. Research has shown that health benefits of sumac are many, as it is naturally anti-fungal, anti-microbial, anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory.
Luisa Leaves - Luisa is sold under several names, the most common being lemon verbena. It can be found as prepared tea (bags), as loose tea, and as dried leaves. Luisa is believed to help one relax, aids in digestion, soothes menstrual pains and cramps and aids in kidney function. The leaves are used to add a lemon flavor to fish and poultry dishes, vegetable marinades, salad dressings, jams, puddings, Greek yogurt and beverages. It also is used to make herbal teas, or added to standard tea in place of actual lemon (as is common with Moroccan tea). It can also be used to make a sorbet.
*In addition to its vast variety of pure and natural spices and spice blends, (more than 60 in all) Pereg offers a variety of ancient grains including flavored varieties of basmati rice, couscous, farro, salad toppings and spreads. Pereg features a full line of quinoa products including quinoa pasta, quinoa pops cereal, and pre-seasoned quinoa side dishes in its North American market. Pereg recently introduced its new gluten-free quinoa flour in a 16 oz. re-sealable bag.
All Pereg products are kosher certified by the Orthodox Union (OU), are dairy and lactose-free as well as all natural, with no additives or preservatives. Many are also certified gluten-free and non-GMO.
Pereg products are available at select kosher stores, specialty stores, natural food stores and on-line at www.pereg-gourmet.com. For recipes visitwww.pereg-spices.com/blog/. Follow Pereg on FB and Twitter @pereggourmet.