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Turmeric; The miracle spice

Turmeric Turmeric is the heart of several East and Middle East dishes. It is used for its unique taste, as well the visual appeal it brings. Traditionally used to spice meat (particularly lamb), and vegetables in curries. Turmeric originated in the tropical areas of South Asia, and requires a temperature between 20 and 30 degrees Celsius, and a considerable amount of annual rainfall to flourish. The plants are harvested for their rhizomes. These are then boiled, and dried, and ground into a deep orange-yellow powder. This is the powder that is the base of many curries, and many other South Asian and Middle Eastern cuisine.   7 Proven Health Benefits of Turmeric   1. Chronic Inflammation and Pain The journal...

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Saffron; The gem of all spices

Saffron Saffron is the most expensive spice on Earth. This is because of the labour involved in growing and harvesting the spice. Saffron is the red-yellow stigma of the crocus flower and must be hand-picked during short annual flowering seasons. Each flower produces only three stigmas, so it takes approximately 150 flowers to yield just one gram of dry saffron threads. Luckily, very little saffron is needed for cooking. In fact, too much can make food bitter.   Imitation saffron is rampant in markets around the world (especially in Turkey), and even makes its way into Canadian products and stores. In particular, beware of safflower petals, which look a little like saffron, but are nearly flavourless. Any time you see...

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Magnificent Matcha

What is it? Matcha is the result of finely milling high quality green tea, and not to be confused with the fannings found in low grade bagged tea. The processes of harvesting, drying, grinding, and oxidation are all very important in producing a quality matcha. The tea leaves are strictly shade grown just before harvesting — this results in an increase in chlorophyll production, resulting in matcha's bright green color — always harvested by hand, gently steamed to stop oxidation, and laid flat to dry. After drying, veins, stems, and other impurities are removed to prevent any bitterness from developing; the result is called tencha. The tencha is then slowly ground to produce a fine powder — matcha. Only tencha...

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Carefree Cocoa

  What is it? Cocoa is simply a slightly processed cacao bean. The Theobroma cacao tree was named by the Swedish Botanist Carl Linnaeus in 1753; the name is Latin for “food of the Gods”. Cacao beans and nibs have a long and colourful history, beginning in Central and South America around 1400 BC. The entire cacao fruit was used medicinally by the Mayan, Olmec and Aztec civilizations. Unbelievably, these early civilizations discovered that a little honey added to slightly processed cacao beans would make a special drink, one of the most popular beverages today; chocolate. The Mayan and Aztecs believed cacao was a “gift from the gods”. After the Spanish conquest of the 1500’s, cacao & its derivative cocoa...

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Crazy about Cayenne

Cayenne What is it? The Cayenne, or Guinea pepper, or Bird pepper is a red, hot chili pepper used to spice dishes, as well as for medicinal purposes. The fruits are generally dried and ground, or pulped and baked into cakes, which are then ground and sifted to make the powdered spice known as cayenne pepper. Healing powers of Cayenne powder? Great to avoid upset stomach: Cayenne pepper added diet helps avoid stomach aches, gas and cramps. Rheumatic and arthritic pains: Topical application of cayenne pepper causes irritation in the applied area thus, helps distract the nerves from joint pains due to arthritis. Cure Headaches: Smelling cayenne helps cure headaches. Topical application of the medical ingredient in cayenne also helps...

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