Sunday, February 5, 2017

Yum Yum for Spices: Coriander

Are you Yum Yum for spices?  Since I've started writing these articles and cooking out of my comfort zone, I've learned that spices are the spice of life.  Not only are they good for bringing out the flavor of your cooking, they are good for what ails you too.  What is a spice compared to an herb? Spices are everything we use with a plant other than the leaves.  They are: seeds, berries (peppercorns), fruits, barks, roots and pods. I was watching the show 'Good Eats" and he was talking about how to store your spices.  Boy, was I a dum dum there.  I recently purchased two spice racks that look so pretty on my counter top.  He said some spices are only good for one year if whole and 6 months if ground and that is only if you keep them in a dark, cool place.  So now my spice racks are in my lazy Susan cabinet. Those spice rack like this one here from Macys (Martha Stewart around $43.00),
uses glass jars to display how colorful the spices are....another no no according to "Good Eats".  You are suppose to put them in tins...who knew.  Alton Brown from "Good Eats" has cabinet full of spices in tins that are velcroed to the inside of the cabinet door.  How cool is that?  If you do buy the Martha Stewart spice rack, because it is almost half off the asking price, you can store it in a cabinet or your pantry.

You can purchase the tins on amazon.

 I don't know if I'll be using velcro any time soon, but I will be switching to tins.

Do you use a Magic Bullet or Coffee grinder for your coffee beans?  Have you used it for grinding other things, like: nuts or whole spices?  According to Mr. Alton Brown the plastic might leech into the ground spice and he recommended a metal spice grinder just for your spices, keep your coffee bean grinder separate.  Finding it hard to grind peppercorns, coriander or other spices. Here is a tip from Alton

Why did I pick coriander as my first spice to talk about? One I knew very little about the spice other than its used in Indian Curry Cuisine and its also a pickling agent.  What I didn't know is that the plant is both used as a herb, cilantro and a spice, coriander.  There are very few plants that are used as both.  Coriander is native to the Middle East, southern Europe and the Orient. It's available in both whole and ground. It's a very good source of dietary fiber, copper, manganese, iron, magnesium and calcium. The flavor has citrus undertones similar to an orange peel.  I have found some Coriander and orange recipes I will share with you later.  Coriander is commonly used with other spices like cumin and garlic.  Ground coriander should be kept in an opaque airtight container, like a tin. Whole seeds can be kept indefinitely.

Coriander also has health benefits which include; skin inflammation, high cholesterol levels, diarrhea, mouth ulcers, anemia, indigestion, smallpox, conjunctivitis, skin disorders and blood sugar disorders.
As with any herb or spice there maybe an allergic reaction and it has been found to be irritating to the skin making some patients sunlight sensitive. An excessive coriander consumption might make you more susceptible to a sunburn.

It is best to purchase spices from a spice merchant than your local grocery store. This is due to the fact that they are likely to be fresher as you do not know how long they have been sitting on the grocery shelf.  And it is better to buy whole than ground, when available.

See: Sunday's Leftover Chicken and Vegetable Soup for my first recipe with coriander.

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