Basil Spice Profile


Posted by Rebekah Wicke on 1/23/18

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What is Basil?

Basil is a low-growing annual of the mint family. It is also known as sweet basil and is characterized by small flowers, depending on the variety, in varying shades of white. The plant grows to a height of up to 24 inches with oval-shaped bright green leaves up to 1.5 inches in length. It is this leaf that is used for its color and its sweet, aromatic clove-like flavor and aroma. Basil is typically harvested before flower buds open to ensure premium quality and flavor of the leaves. Though native to India and Asia Minor, many varieties of basil are now grown in the United States throughout the world.

Symbolically, basil has been associated with both good and evil. It has been considered sacred in India, but literature and other sources link the herb with death. Poet John Keats writes of Isabella, who kept the head of her murdered lover in a pot of basil to preserve it. It was also used as an embalming herb in ancient Egypt. In the Middle Ages, scorpions were believed to magically breed under a pot of basil.

What is it used for today?

AdobeStock 83212850Basil is often paired with oregano and has been a common complement to tomato-based products such as canned spaghetti or pizza sauces for years. It has also enjoyed popularity in the baking and snack markets as a component of specialty flavored breads or “Italian style” topical snack seasonings such as Sun Dried Tomato Basil and Pesto.

To learn more about the spices and seasonings that Fuchs has to offer, click here. 


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Caraway Spice Profile


Posted by Rebekah Wicke on 12/4/17

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What is Caraway?

Caraway seed is the fruit of a biennial herb which is similar to the carrot plant. As with all biennials, the caraway plant does not bear fruit (i.e., seeds) until its second year and is therefore often planted simultaneously with another crop which can be harvested in the first year. Two months before its harvest, round clusters of white flowers appear at the ends of smooth erect stems on the plant which reaches a height of 3 feet. When mature, these flowers give way to small fruits which contain
two crescent-shaped seeds commonly known as caraway.

AdobeStock 53739421Caraway is, by some accounts, the oldest known spice. It is grown today in The Netherlands and other parts of Europe, but Switzerland appears to be a primary early source. The seeds have been found in the remains of primitive lake inhabitants in Switzerland from over 5,000 years ago. Throughout history, it was used as a breath freshener and for numerous medicinal purposes. A Greek physician of the first century even prescribed caraway as a treatment for “pale-faced” girls.

What is it used for today?

The most common seasoning use for caraway seeds in the whole form is in rye bread. It may also be used in sauerkraut or other cabbage dishes. Though less prevalent, caraway is also used in its ground form in a number of sausage or other meat seasonings, especially deli-style meats.

To learn more about the spices and seasonings that Fuchs has to offer, click here. 


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Nutmeg Spice Profile


Posted by Rebekah Wicke on 10/10/17

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Fall is one of our absolute favorite times year. The weather here in Northern Maryland is beautiful, the leaves are beginning change, and it’s almost time for pumpkin carving, apple picking and hay rides. Even better yet? It’s time for pumpkin pie, pumpkin spice lattes, and gingerbread. A common component of all of these yummy fall foods? Nutmeg! Here’s everything you need to know about one of the most commonly used spices in fall foods:

AdobeStock 102340396The nutmeg tree is one of the more interesting spice plants in that it actually produces two differ-ent spices - nutmeg and mace - within the same fleshy fruit. The trees grow in the East and West Indies to a height of 40 - 60 feet, bearing fruit for up to 80 years. The mature nutmeg tree is characterized by dark gray bark, deep green foliage, small groups of bell-shaped pale yellow flowers and a light brown fruit from which the spices are obtained. When the fruit is ripe, it splits open to reveal a dark brown seed shell enveloped by a bright red lacy membrane or aril which is known as mace. After the membrane is removed, the glossy brown seed shells are dried for up to 8 weeks. When the seed inside the shell rattles, the shells are ready to be cracked open to obtain the spice known as nutmeg.

Nutmeg was a part of the spice trade as early as the sixth century, having become valued for its culinary and pharmaceutical qualities. Folklore suggested that the spice was valuable to treat headaches, epilepsy, intestinal disorders and kidney problems among others. It was also used as incense; the streets of Rome were perfumed with nutmegs as preparation for Henry VI’s coronation in the 12th century.

AdobeStock 57046475Nutmeg is most often used in bakery blends to season sweet baked goods such as pumpkin pie. It is also found in seasonings for frankfurters, some sausages, bolognas and soups.


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Turmeric Spice Profile


Posted by Rebekah Wicke on 9/26/17

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Spices have long been valued for their potential health properties, and lately, with consumers growing increasingly health conscious as well as increasingly interested in ethnic cuisines, spices like turmeric, ginger, and cumin have been trending. Turmeric, in particular, has garnered much attention for its perceived health benefits as well as its prominent role in curry, which has also been trending given the rise of Asian, African and Middle Eastern cuisines. Here are some fun facts about turmeric:

AdobeStock 112431221A native of southern Asia, turmeric is a member of the ginger family. Like ginger, its source grows underground not from the root but from the subterranean portion of the plant’s stem. This portion is known as the rhizome, and is a knobby structure from which small roots grow. Turmeric rhizomes are harvested, dried, cleaned and ground to become the spice. Above ground, the turmeric plant is one of the more attractive spices growing 2 - 3 feet tall with long bright green leaves and corn shaped spikes of yellow flowers.

Turmeric is best known for the intense yellow color it imparts and has been used as a clothing or skin dye for thousands of years. Many parts of Asia have seen the spice used topically on the skin in wedding ceremonies, during or after childbirth or even as a daily cosmetic to give the face a desired yellow tint.

AdobeStock 107286485Though there are numerous varieties of curry powders, almost all rely on turmeric to contribute its characteristic yellow hue. When used at a high enough level, the spice also provides a distinctive pungent, peppery flavor to the blend. Other examples of seasonings containing turmeric are pick-ling blends, soup mixes, mustards or any application where a natural yellow color is desired.


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A Sneak Peek at the South Asian Collection - Coming this fall!


Posted by Rebekah Wicke on 9/12/17

Carrot Cake 8

From our South Asian Collection, which will be released this fall, a new "Fuchs Favorite" has emerged: Kashmiri Spiced Carrot Cake. With crisp autumn air quickly approaching, it’s time to give the grill a little break and warm up the oven. You’ll find our Kashmiri Spiced Carrot Cake Mix captures the captivating and inviting spices of the Kashmir Valley region. Not only that, but they are downright delicious. Every time Chef Elizabeth whips these up, they're gone in a matter of minutes!


Here’s Chef Elizabeth’s recipe for Kashmiri Spiced Carrot Cake:

Ingredients:
• 1 cup sugar
• 4 eggs
• ¾ cup oil
• ½ cup plain whole milk Greek yogurt
• 1 & ½ cups shredded carrot
• 2 & ½ cups Kashmir Spiced Carrot Cake Mix

Mixing:
• Preheat oven to 350°F and prepare pans
• Prepare cake pan by lining with parchment paper and spraying lightly with pan spray, or muffin tin by lining with cupcake papers.
• Combine sugar with eggs in bowl of mixer.
• Mix with paddle attachment on speed setting 2 for 2 - 3 minutes.
• With mixer still on, slowly drizzle in oil.
• Add yogurt and carrot; Mix for 2 minutes or until fully incorporated.
• Add half of the cake mix; Mix for 1-2 minutes; scape sides and bottom of bowl.
• Add remaining cake mix; Mix until fully incorporated; scrape sides and bottom of bowl; mix again if needed.

Chef’s Note: For a more indulgent batter add one or all of the following ingredients:
• ½ cup golden raisins (hydrated and drained)
• ½ cup toasted shredded coconut
• ¼ cup crushed cashews
• ¼ cup crushed pistachios

Baking
• Pour batter into prepared cake pan or muffin tin.
• Bake on center rack in preheated oven at 350°F
o 23-30 minutes for cake; 20-25 minutes for cupcakes
• Halfway through bake time rotate pan
***to check doneness; insert toothpick into center; should come out clean****

 

If you’d like to try out our Kashmiri Spiced Carrot Cake, or any of the other mouth-watering seasonings in our South Asian Collection, request samples here.

 


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