While we typically associate spices with Fall, without the warm heat of the Summer you would not be able to enjoy those tasty seasonings. So put away your pumpkin spice, and nutmeg, it is not quite Scary Season yet. Here at Don Juan Chiles, we are highlighting five Summer spices that you absolutely need in your drawer.
Allspice is not a spice blend but a dried berry that can be used whole as pickling or mulling spice. The flavor is similar to the spices it is often paired with: a mixture of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and pepper. Allspice is not a spice blend but a dried berry that can be used whole as pickling or mulling spice. It is also available in ground form. Middle Eastern, Caribbean, Latin American, and American cuisines use allspice to flavor savory dishes as well as desserts. The flavor is similar to the spices it is often paired with: a mixture of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and pepper. Try some to make Jamaican jerk chicken.
Cinnamon sticks give off a wonderful aroma and make great ‘stir sticks’ in hot apple cider and hot cocoa. But for 99% of cooking and baking, ground cinnamon is the spice to use. It’s easily measured and can be added to all types of baked goods, beverages, and vegetables. From the inner bark of the Cinnamon tree, these sticks offer a sweet, spicy, and warm flavor to dishes and drinks.
From India. Along with rosemary, oregano and thyme, basil makes up the usual fourth herb in Italian seasoning. However, basil is fabulous in its own right. Pairs well with tomato, egg and pasta dishes and of course, pizza! Try combining basil with freshly ground sea salt and sprinkle it over popcorn, or add garlic, lemon and olive oil with basil then brush on fish or seafood.
If your recipe calls for ‘mint’ most likely spearmint is the mint to use. In the States, it is often relegated to chewing gum and mint juleps but elsewhere cooks use spearmint with lamb, savory dishes, hearty root vegetables, chocolates, and other desserts. You may know it as the key ingredient in Middle Eastern Tabouli. The pungent zest of spearmint is refreshing and mellow, with lemony undertones.
Lemongrass adds a floral, grassy, bright flavor to your recipes. This lemony, bright herb has hints of ginger and mint and is a key ingredient in Asian cuisine. Add a kick of flavor to your marinades, stews, curries, and stir-fries. Lemon Grass is also delicious as a tea or added into baking recipes like cookies and cake.