The Top 5 Best Spices to Warm Your Soul During Winter

 The Top 5 Best Spices to Warm Your Soul During Winter | Wayward Gourmet

One of the great poets and artists of our times once powerfully delivered the following to a grateful, waiting, and eager world:

“It’s getting hot in herre, so take off all your clothes.”

While we are in total agreement with the first half of Mr. Nelly’s classic summer anthem, we will leave the clothe removing directive up to your own personal discretion.

It is winter, which means it is a time to spice up our lives.  For reasons beyond anything we’ve ever really been able to comprehend, spices just always taste better in the winter. Often when we think of classic winter spices, we are quick to envision a world full of cloves, all-spice, nutmeg, and cinnamon.  Our Pumpkin Spice modern landscape has convinced us that once the snow flies, the cinnamon flows.

The spice, as they say, must flow.

However, there is so much more to the winter spice offerings that will add a little heat and a lot of flavor to your season.  Here are five of our favorites:

  1. Pepper That’s right.  Good old fashioned, boring, run of the mill black pepper.  Pepper gets a bad rep for being pedestrian, but this little powerhouse can take your chili, mac and cheese, soups, and pastas to a whole new level.  Even better still?  Pepper has some major antioxidant properties, so you’re being health conscious while keeping things delicious.
  2. Cardamon This is the spice that you’re always afraid to mess around with, but love the way it rolls off your tongue.  Cardamon seems so exotic and exciting that many avoid using it entirely.  Cardamon can add depth to everything from tea to fried chicken.  Plus, cardamom is a scientifically proven expectorant, so you can fight your colds while filling your belly.
  3. Horseradish We’re sweating just thinking about it.  Ok, not technically a spice, horseradish is for so much more than knock-off wasabis and Bloody Marys.  Horseradish will give zing, heat, and excitement to your salad dressings, stirfrys, or beef.  It is meant to knock your socks off, but did you know that it also helps knock out congested respiratory systems?  Wintery stuffy noses are no match for the punch that horseradish packs, and more than its ability to fight a cold once you have it, it will prevent you from getting that nasty bug in the first place because it is chockablock full of Vitamin C.
  4. Cayenne Another temperature raising behemoth here that is loaded with Vitamin C and bucket loads of rich flavor.  Adding this to nearly any savory dish will have you dabbing your brow and have your immune system jumping for joy.  Plus, did you know that if you sprinkle a dash into your socks on a cold day, it will help keep your feet warm?  (This isn’t even just a ridiculous thing that we’re saying to mess with you:  It works.)
  5. Cinnamon   We’re kind of breaking our whole “Pumpkin Spices are the Devil” vibe.  Our bad.  However, the power and versatility of cinnamon is just too great to be denied.  It brings warmth to apple sauce, sweetness to drinks, and excitement to curry.  Cinnamon is the Elvis of the Spice World:  50 million fans can’t be wrong.  In addition to being perfect for nearly every sweet or savory dish, cinnamon is a favorite among nursing homes and eldercare professionals.  Why?  Because cinnamon is one of the most effective naturally occurring substances in the world for circulation improvement.  It keeps your tongue dancing and your blood pumping.

So ditch the parka.  Get rid of the sweater.  Forget the mittens.  Get hot.  Get spicy.

(We leave the removal of clothing to your own discretion.)

So what'd we miss? What are your go-to flavors on on cold winter nights?


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