The Benefits of Spices

Spices are an essential ingredient in many dishes, enhancing the flavor of our food and giving us a burst of vibrant flavor. Additionally, spices have also been shown to provide a range of health benefits. For example, studies have found that turmeric is a powerful antioxidant, helping to neutralize harmful free radicals and reduce inflammation throughout the body. Cinnamon is another spice that has been shown to promote good health, particularly in people with type 2 diabetes. And cloves have been used for centuries as a natural remedy for toothaches, thanks in part to their antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects. Thus, it is clear that spices play an important role not only in enhancing the taste of our food but also in keeping us healthy and feeling our best.


Do you know that spices can help with weight loss, heart health and cancer prevention? A study from the University of Washington found that people who consumed a lot of spices had lower levels of body fat. The same research also revealed that those who ate more than five servings per day were less likely to die from heart disease or stroke. And if you’re worried about cancer, don’t be! Research has shown there is a link between eating cinnamon and living longer.

The benefits of spices are endless, and it’s no wonder that the world is obsessed with cooking. Used for thousands of years to add flavor to dishes, spices can also serve as a natural remedy for common ailments such as stomach aches or headaches. As we speak, there are currently over 5300 different types of spices in existence! However, not all herbs and seasonings have nutritional value:

  • Turmeric: this spice contains curcumin which has been shown to be an antioxidant that may help fight cancer cells and heart disease. It also lowers cholesterol levels in the blood by preventing fats from sticking together on your arteries.
  • Garlic is high in antioxidants which help fight free radicals, lowers cholesterol levels, boosts immunity, and aids digestion. It also contains allicin which has been found to have anti-cancer properties.
  • Ginger is known for its pain relieving qualities because it blocks the nerve pathways from reaching the brain by inhibiting inflammatory chemicals being released from injured cells. It also helps regulate blood sugar levels due to its strong antioxidant content and ability to lower inflammation caused by diabetes or metabolic syndrome.

There are many benefits to eating spices, but not all of them have nutritional value. If you want the most out of your food and health, make sure that any spice you buy is fresh or has a long shelf life. Buying whole herbs or seasonings overground ones will also ensure more flavor in every bite! With so many different types available, it’s easy to find something delicious for everyone on your dinner table.

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The Benefits of Spices

Spices are an essential ingredient in many dishes, enhancing the flavor of our food and giving us a burst of vibrant flavor. Additionally, spices have

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  • 350g / 12 ounces Korean rice cakes, separated
  • 150g / 5.3 ounces Korean fish cakes, rinsed over hot water & cut into bite size pieces
  • 2 cups Korean soup stock (dried kelp and dried anchovy stock), use this recipe
  • 60g / 2 ounces onion, thinly sliced

Tteokbokki sauce (Mix these in a bowl)

  • 3 Tbsp gochujang (Korean chili paste)
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp raw sugar
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp gochugaru (Korean chili flakes)


  • 1 tsp roasted sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 stalk green onion, finely chopped

*1 Tbsp = 15 ml, 1 Cup = 250 ml


1. Unless your rice cakes are soft already, soak them in warm water for 10 mins.

2. Boil the soup stock in a shallow pot over medium high heat and dissolve the tteokbokki sauce by stirring it with a spatula. Once the seasoned stock is boiling, add the rice cakes, fish cakes and onion. Boil them a further 3 to 5 mins until the rice cakes are fully cooked.  Then, to thicken the sauce and to deepen the flavor, simmer it over low heat for a further 2 to 4 mins.

3. Add the sesame oil, sesame seeds, and green onion then quickly stir. Serve warm.

A Fall Celebration: Apple & Parsnip Soup

I remember the first time I tasted fresh Extra Virgin Olive Oil the day I arrived at the Tuscan vineyard that was going to be my home for five years. I was blown away. I even coughed a little bit, as its pungency caught me by surprise. This was nothing I had ever tasted before. Immediately, I was won over. Here and there, I fell in love with Extra Virgin Olive Oil and its contribution not only to our health, but how it can add flavor to the dishes. A drizzle of good quality, robust Extra Virgin Olive Oil on soups, stews, grilled meats or fish is now a must in my kitchen. Back at Cosimo’s vineyard, we ended up bottling three different Extra Virgin Olive Oils from our 1,000 trees (as approximation: 1 tree = 1 liter of EVOO). It was a lot of work for only a few bottles, but the character of the oil really changed dramatically from one part of the land to the other. The Premium Blend became the finishing oil, starting a little more on the delicate side and then developing to a whirlwind of taste expressions on the palate. The Blend is a great robust oil that is perfect for dipping, to toss pasta, to roast pumpkin, to make a vinaigrette.

So with my passion for all things Extra Virgin Olive Oil, you can imagine how excited I was when the City Olive in Chicago – a great source for Extra Virgin Olive Oils from all over the world – hosted a book presentation by Fran Gage. Fran is one of America’s leading experts on Extra Virgin Olive Oil and has published this very lovely book on American EVOO (well, Californian really) producers, including 75 recipes differentiated by style of EVOO. A great read and a great source of inspiration, too!

So here is a recipe from Fran’s book “The New American Olive Oil”, perfect for these fall days and Cosimo’s Premium Blend

Eat It To Save It – Beaver Dam Pepper Celebration 2013

Only three more weeks before the Beaver Dam Pepper Celebration, which we are organizing in collaboration with Slow Food Chicago and Slow Food WiSE! Expect an extravaganza of menu specials, cooking classes and community potlucks in Milwaukee and Chicago!


We are honored that the following great Chicago chefs are showcasing the Beaver Dam Pepper in a menu special from September 19 – 22 . From a Beaver Dam Pepper infused drink, to a cauliflower dish w. pickled peppers and a chocolate truffle with the Beaver Dam Pepper & Michigan cherries, you will be able to enjoy this rare local heirloom in many delicious variations!

PLUS: Beaver Dam Pepper Celebration FAN CARD: if you Eat It To Save It at five of these participating restaurants from 09/19-22, you will receive a FREE jar of Scrumptious Pantry’s Heirloom Pickle Beaver Dam Pepper!

The following Chicago-area restaurants will offer menu specials:

Big Jones w. Heirloom tomato salad, Anson Mills Farro Verde, Prairie Fruits Chèvre, Pickled Beaver Dam Peppers

Billy Sunday w. Atlantic Crab fondue with pickled Beaver Dam Peppers and herbed flatbread

Green Zebra w. Beaver Dam Pepper Hash with salt roasted Red Thumb fingerlings, fried egg, and an apple shallot jam

Katherine Anne Confections w. Beaver Dam Pepper truffle with Michigan Cherries, FEW bourbon, local wildflower honey, and bittersweet chocolate

Marion Street Cheese Market w. Beaver Dam pepper relleno, goat milk ricotta, sweet corn grits and pepper consommé

Uncommon Ground Devon w. Grilled cheese sandwich w. Beaver Dam Pepper jam

Uncommon Ground Clark w. Beaver Dam Pepper stuffed with a local wild mushroom risotto and a garlic parmesan sauce

Standard Market w. Beaver Dam Pepper Slaw: a crisp symphony of peppers, cucumbers, carrots, snap peas, and Scrumptious Pantry Beaver Dam Peppers, marinated in a sweet and tangy mustard vinaigrette.

Heirloom Flavors Potluck, September 22

If you are inspired to play with the pepper in your own kitchen, you can purchase fresh peppers at Green City Market and Logan Square Farmers’ Market at the booths of Radical Root Organic Farm, Majestics Nursery and Montalbano Farms, as well as at the Dill Pickle Food Coop in Logan Square. Scrumptious Pantry’s pickled Beaver Dam Pepper is available at all Whole Foods Stores and other selected retailers around Chicago.

We’d love to taste your Beaver Dam Pepper creation at the Community Potluck on September 22 – if you do not have a chance to bring a Beaver Dam Peppers dish, fear not! The theme is “Heirloom Flavors”, so every dish that either incorporates any heirloom variety or showcases a family recipe, is more than welcome. The event is BYOB. In the spirit of environmental sustainability, please bring a plate and silverware! Glasses are provided.


Scrumptious Pantry, 3230 W. Fullerton Ave (Logan Square)

Cooking Classes

Cooking classes with the Beaver Dam Pepper are being organized in various Whole Foods Locations in Chicago. Please check The Scrumptious Pantry’s Facebook page and this page for updates.


Tour de Menu, September 21 (& Milwaukee Cocktail Week, September 22)

The following Milwaukee-area restaurants will be offering menu specials

Bavette La Boucherie w. Pickled mustard seed, sauerkraut and oktoberfest beer brat with a pickled beaver dam pepper relish

Glorioso’s Italian Market w. Orrechiette pasta with the BDP, brunelli sausage, arugula and caramelized onions with a light tomato broth


Juniper 61
La Merenda

Great Lakes Distillery will craft a Beaver Dam Pepper Cocktail for Milwaukee Cocktail week’s launch event on 09/22
Cooking demo
For the curious home cooks, Slow Food WiSE will be showcasing the Beaver Dam Pepper in cooking demos
September 7th: South Shore Market
September 14: Fondy Market with Chef Darrin from Juniper 61/Cafe Lulu
September 21: Glorioso’s Italian Market (this is a 90 min cooking class, tickets are available through Glorioso’s!)
Community Potluck
On September 11, we are partnering with Friends of Real Food for a Community Potluck that will highlight the pepper not only in the dishes, but in a cooking demo, to boot.


These beautiful Beaver Dam Peppers are growing strong in Marye’s garden. Are you growing the Beaver Dam Pepper, too? You should join the Beaver Dam Pepper Championship! All you need to do to participate is to tweet or post pictures of your plants & peppers growing on Scrumptious Pantry’s or Slow Food Chicago’s Facebook or twitter using the hashtags #BeaverDamPepper #Pepperazzi. If you grows the largest Beaver Dam Pepper you will win a Scrumptious Pantry gift basket valued at $100, and the title of “Beaver Dam Pepper Champion”. The Beaver Dam Pepper Champion will be announced at the Chicago Community Potluck on September 22.

Recipe: Brine Your Turkey For a Juicy Bird

Ever wondered what the secret to a deliciously juicy turkey is, no matter the long roasting time? The secret is to brine it! The brine has two effects on the meat of this flavorful bird: the salt breaks down the proteins and it infuses liquid into the meat. You can go with a simple salt brine, or use the occasion to infuse your turkey with some seasoning, too. There are many fancy recipes: you can blend cranberry juice with your brine, or wine, add citrus… see for some ideas. We suggest an easy & tasty brining solution that takes no time to prepare. We are using Roberta’s & Giulio’s Coarse Roasting & Grilling Salt – it contains juniper berries, rose peppercorns, rosemary, sage, bay leaf, thyme and tarragon, which is a great flavor profile for your Thanksgiving Turkey. Thanks to the love Roberta & Giulio poured into this salt, it is extremely flavorful: their estate grown organic herbs were minced by hand while still fresh, so the essential oils are sealed into the salt.

You can brine a 14lb. turkey from eight – 16 hours, but note that the saltiness of the meat increases with the brining time. So if this is the first Turkey you are brining, we recommend you choose a shorter brining time, no one wants a too salty turkey at Thanksgiving! And take the saltiness of the meat and the drippings into consideration when seasoning the bird and the sauce!

Having a recipe that works for first time briners was our main intention. If you are an experienced turkey briner and want to use more salt and a different brining time, consider that a jar of the Coarse Salt equals approx. 3/4 cups of sea salt.