Current Moon Phase

Waning Crescent
6% of full

Farmers Almanac
The 2014 Farmers Almanac
Farmers' Almanac

Cooking with Warming Spices

Cooking with Warming Spices

Ever wonder why YOU have MORE of an appetite when it’s cold out? Your body burns more calories trying to keep you warm. After spending time outdoors during cold weather, either playing or earning your living, you’ll appreciate the foods that have a warming effect.

An easy way to introduce warming qualities to foods is to add “warming spices” to your recipes. These spices can be used in a wide array of dishes; in soups, breads, beverages, cakes, and much more. A helpful list of spices that’ll heat things up a bit
can be found in the 2008 Farmers’ Almanac, but here are a few examples:

  • Allspice — Columbus discovered this spice in 1494. It is the ripe sun-dried berry of an evergreen tree. Its flavor resembles a blend of cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg. It is available whole or ground. Use sparingly.

Cooking Uses: Whole allspice can be added to soups, stews, pot roasts, pickled vegetables, stewed fruit or boiled shellfish. Ground allspice can be used when cooking meat loaf, tomato based sauces, squash, sweet potatoes and carrots. It also goes well in apple pie filling, cakes, cookies, puddings, and in mulled cider.

  • Cinnamon — This spice is one of the most versatile and widely known. It is available in sticks or ground and comes from the bark of an evergreen tree. It was used in Old Testament Bible times as an ingredient in fragrant perfumes and in holy anointing oils. It is commonly used in cinnamon sugar, a sweet but spicy baking spice.

Cooking Uses: Use a cinnamon stick as a stirrer in hot coffee, tea or spiced cider. Break a cinnamon stick in half and add to your coffee maker along with ground coffee when brewing a pot of coffee. Cinnamon sticks can also be used when making pickles and preserving. Use ground cinnamon when making cinnamon toast, apple pie, applesauce, custards, French toast, pancakes, pumpkin pie, spice cake, fruit soup, ham glazes, and eggnog, bread and tapioca pudding.

  • Pepper — Pepper is the world’s most popular spice. Pepper is the dried fruit of the flowering pepper vine plant. It is native to the East Indies and was used by the ancient Greeks and Romans. Historically pepper was referred to as ‘black gold’ and was considered so valuable that it was used as currency. Black pepper and white pepper are both available whole in peppercorns, cracked or ground.

Cooking Uses: Peppercorns are placed in pepper mills and freshly ground into foods being prepared and used on the table to season dishes when served. Fresh ground pepper has a more vibrant fragrance than commercial ground pepper. Thus, no doubt the reason pepper mills have become so popular in restaurant and home use. Whole peppercorns are also used to flavor fish, when boiling shrimp, marinades, pickling brines, stews and soups. Ground white pepper is particularly used in white, cream sauces or white foods for aesthetic purposes. Black pepper is available commercially ground, fine, coarse or cracked. Pepper is vastly used in a wide range of foods to taste except sweets. Cracked black pepper is used to season steak, marinade meats and Caesar salad. Coarse ground pepper is used to season stuffing, meats, salad dressings, breadcrumbs and croutons. Ground pepper is used to flavor freshly diced tomatoes, salad dressings, sauces, marinades, cooked vegetables as well as all meats, fish and seafood.

If you notice a hole in the upper left-hand corner of your Farmers' Almanac, don't return it to the store! That hole isn't a defect; it's a part of history. Starting with the first edition of the Farmers' Almanac in 1818, readers used to nail holes into the corners to hang it up in their homes, barns, and outhouses (to provide both reading material and toilet paper). In 1910, the Almanac's publishers began pre-drilling holes in the corners to make it even easier for readers to keep all of that invaluable information (and paper) handy.