In ancient times, spices were a valuable resource for many peoples, used by the Egyptians for embalming techniques and by the Romans to preserve food for long periods. But they were known throughout the East for their incredible properties, useful in the kitchen and as a remedy for ailments and diseases. Over time they became a precious and coveted asset, to the point of being considered as gold. The West was overwhelmed by these particular aromas and so they began to spread more and more. Although they are no longer used as pure medicine, certain spices are still used by some granny remedies to relieve symptoms and minor ailments. Today, saffron is the most coveted plant, from which “red gold” is obtained, a product widely used in cooking. Many people dismiss it, but it could be a great antioxidant spice for digestion and an ally of metabolism and cardiovascular health.
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Nutmeg also seems to be especially popular in the culinary field because its flavor is intense and enriches many simple dishes, such as potatoes or bechamel. It can be bought in practically all supermarkets, directly in powder or grated. It comes from a plant called Myristica fragrans, a tree that can reach 20 meters in height and is typical of the Moluccas. Although not fully known, the shell of the seed, the mace, is an amazing bright red resource. After a few weeks of drying, it acquires a color that tends to yellow or orange, the flavor is less strong and decided than that of nutmeg, so it is delicate and sweet. The arillus also has extraordinary nutritional qualities, although it is especially rich in carbohydrates, but normally only a few grams are needed to flavor a dish.
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Many people dismiss it, but it could be a useful spice that provides a significant supply of carotenoids. It is rich in potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, contains vitamins A, B6 and C and has antioxidant properties. For this reason, it appears to be helpful in promoting a healthy metabolism, cardiovascular health, and the maintenance of healthy bones and teeth. In ancient times, in traditional folk medicine, it was used as a natural remedy against depression, infections, to aid digestion and as an aphrodisiac. Today, in small quantities, it is a suitable ingredient to make special meat or fish dishes, liqueurs and even cocktails, such as the bloody mary. But in addition to flavoring savory cakes, soups and sauces, it can also be used to flavor sweet creams, desserts, cakes, cookies and jams to accompany cheese. It can also be added to our hot teas and infusions to add flavor and character.