Healthy spices for growing children

Making children eat is one big job for every mother. One needs to find new and innovative ways to cook for growing children since they want variety in taste and even looks. Same food can be cooked in different ways so that they enjoy eating the food. The food has to be tasty as well as nutritious.

It is very important for children to develop healthy eating habits and healthy lifestyle. The food for children can be made more nutritional by adding spices in it. Herbs and spices not only make food tasty but these also add flavour and colour to the dish along with a number of health benefits for growing children.

Children need to be tempted to eat so their food has to look and smell good. Spices add an aromatic flavour to the dish and also add a beautiful colour to it. These spices promote longevity, relieve pain, and help to digest food. These enhance the flavor of whatever you cook for your children.

Children need a lot of energy for their day to day activities and for growing up. Their body needs to constantly repair and heal itself, and fight diseases.

Healthy Spices

Anise seeds – These add a sweet taste to the food. It is rich in fibre, calcium and iron needed for healthy growth. They also help to cure upset stomach, cough and cold.

Cinnamon – It adds a warm sweet aroma to the food and is very rich in fibre. It helps to reduce cholesterol and blood sugar.

Cumin – It is a good source of calcium, iron and magnesium needed by growing children to build strong bones and red blood cells. Its germ fighting property helps to avert stomach ulcers.

Fennel – It helps to digest food and prevent bloating, gas and other digestion related problems.

Ginger – Ginger is full of nutrients and it helps in the digestion of food. It prevents common cold and even colic problem in children.

Basil (tulsi) – Certain compounds present in basil reduce pain and swelling. Concoction of the leaves of this herb reduces infection of the respiratory track, asthma and improves immune system. It is a good source of iron.

Mint – Mint when added to dishes imparts a beautiful aroma and a green colour to the dish. It is a superb herb for a number of digestive problems.

Nutmeg – When added to food it is a good source of fibre and has anti inflammatory properties. It aids the body to cure bacteria and fungi and also many stomach problems.

Rosemary – A herb rich in antioxidants, and it helps to improve learning and memory in growing children.

Saffron –It has a beautiful flavor and adds an appetizing saffron colour to the dish. It helps to lessen depression, asthma and cough.

Turmeric – This is one wonder spice which imparts a pleasant colour to the dish and makes it more appetizing. It is used in almost all dishes in India. It helps to cure many ailments like skin problems, liver disorder, cough etc.

Asafoetida (hing) – This adds a pungent flavor to the food. It has anti flatulence properties and helps in the digestion of food.

Conclusion

So use new and different spices and combination of spices and herbs and surprise your children. When food is cooked keeping in mind the strategy of healthy eating, and children eat a well planned diet they grow into healthy adults.

Benefits of Fennel seeds when used In Indian Recipes

Fennel plant is a perennial herb that grows up to five feet and is cultivated all over the world. All parts of the plant, bulb, stalk, leaves and the fruit (seeds) are edible. The seeds are used for cooking as well as for medicinal purposes.

The seeds have a sweet, warm and aromatic taste. All over the world these are very popular and are widely used in food items. Store them in a cool and dry place, in an air tight container.

Culinary Uses of Fennel seeds:

  • Fennel seeds are used to flavor soups, salads and eggs.
  • It is used to marinate chicken and fish.
  • It is added to curries for the sweet flavor and also in cheese spreads.
  • It is one of the important herb in mixed spices used to flavor vegetable dishes and curries.
  • Fennel seeds are used to make pickles.
  • These are used to flavor breads, cakes, biscuits, dough and cheese.
  • It is eaten after meals for its odor and it aids in digestion.
  • Fennel seed powder is used to flavor vegetable and non vegetarian dishes.
  • Powder form is used to sprinkle on soups, stocks and salads.
  • It is also used in pizza, pasta and egg and non vegetarian dishes.

Benefits of using Fennel seeds in food:

  • Fennel seeds help to cure bad breath and it aids digestion. When eaten after a meal it not only acts as a mouth freshener but the phytoestrogens in it help to digest the food.
  • Fennel seeds help to relax the intestines and it reduces bloating which is caused due to indigestion.
  • Syrup made from fennel seeds is used to treat babies for colic pain and pain due to teething.
  • The antioxidants in fennel seeds remove harmful free radicals from the body and protect it against infections, heart disease, high cholesterol, stroke, cancer, aging etc.
  • The seeds are a good source of dietary fibre which helps to ease constipation. The fibre balances the metabolism, and cleans the colon.
  • Fennel seeds are a very rich source of vitamins and minerals. Copper helps to produce red blood cells, iron is needed by the body to make red blood cells, zinc helps to regulate the growth of the  individual, proper digestion of food etc.
  • The seeds help you to see better especially in people suffering from glaucoma.
  • Fennel seeds improve the mental processes of memory, reasoning etc. so it keeps dementia away.
  • The seeds have the property to expel uric acid from the body and help people suffering from arthritis. The essential oil in the seeds helps to remove the toxic elements in the blood.
  • The seeds contain chemicals, anethol and cineole, which help to clear lungs of any congestion, cough and cold. People suffering from allergic bronchitis or asthma benefit by eating these seeds.
  • These are very beneficial to nursing mothers as the digestive properties are transferred to the child during breastfeeding and it helps to cure colic pain.

Conclusion

Fennel seeds are a marvel spice with loads of health benefits. So, use it in your food or eat it as such to get all the benefits of this remarkable spice.

Keep your Spices Fresh in the Kitchen for a Long Time

Spices, herbs and seasonings are an important part of everyday cooking, they add flavor and taste to the food. If they are not stored properly they lose their aroma, flavour and potency and become powders without flavour. The ground spices tend to fade in colour also. Store spices in an apt manner to retain their colour, flavor and taste for a long time.

Where should you Store Spices to keep them Fresh for long:

Over a period of time spices do lose their flavor and strength. In order to retain the freshness of spices for a long time store them in a dry and dark place at room or normal temperature. In a warm place they lose their flavor and potency. Grounded spices last for two to three years while whole spices last longer. Do not store the spices in a freezer as this will reduce the taste and colour.

Tips to keep Spices Fresh for a long time:

  • Store spices in air tight containers so that the aroma is not lost and replace the lid of the container immediately after use.
  • When using the spice during cooking use a dry spoon as moisture will reduce the flovour of the spice.
  • A selection of containers like jars, opaque or clear glass bottles, metal, ceramic, plastic or wood containers, etc. are available, use them according to the need.
  • Store herbs and spices in brown or dark coloured bottles which have screws on the lids. Label the bottles with name of the spice and the date when it was packed, for easy use. As light does not enter coloured bottles, spices do not lose colour and flavor.
  • If you are storing in clear glass bottles, keep these in a dark area away from light and heat.
  • Store spices away from oven, toaster, stove, or windows and do not keep them on top of a refrigerator. The heat that is produced by these causes spices to lose their freshness soon.
  • To reduce the exposure to light, keep the spice containers in closed cupboards.
  • Store the spices in nonporous containers to prevent the moisture spoiling them.
  • Store red coloured spices like chilli powder in refrigerator, they will retain the colour longer.
  • Before storing the herbs make sure they are thoroughly dry. If they are not properly dried they may develop mould and you will have to throw them
  • Whole spices can be stored in airtight metal boxes. Avoid storing powder spices in metal tins as these may pass on a metallic smell or taste to the spice.
  • Avoid storing spices in plastic containers for a long time as herbs may absorb the smell of the plastic which is not very healthy and pleasant. To store herbs for a short time in the refrigerator, plastic containers can be used.
  • For daily use spices can be stored in a spice box. Spices which are used more often or daily can be kept in this box as it is very handy.
  • Store fresh herbs like mint, garlic, ginger etc. in the refrigerator in plastic containers or bags.

 Conclusion

By following the above tips and taking care to store the spices in a proper way you can keep the spices in your kitchen fresh for a long time. So store your spices with care and retain their aroma and flavor for long.

Perk up your cup of tea with Indian spices

Britishers introduced the commercial cultivation of tea in India using the techniques and seeds of tea from China. Tea drinking became popular in India only by 1950. Today India is the leading producer and consumer of tea in the world, other than China.

A concoction of dried herbs used as a beverage or for medicinal purpose, tisanes, has been in use in Ayurveda since a long time. Many herbs and spices like pepper, mint, cardamom etc. have been used in Indian kitchens for their medicinal values. The strong and bitter taste of some of these herbs is camouflaged by adding sugar and milk to tea.

Unlike the British tea, Indian tea is prepared by boiling tea leaves in water before adding milk and sugar to it. Some of the variations of tea are masala chai, kadak chai etc.

Masala tea is tea mixed with spices. Black tea is brewed with some spices and herbs in it. It has become popular world over and many coffee houses and tea houses are offering it. Many brands of instant mixtures in powder form are available in the market, but some people blend their own mixture of masala tea according to their taste.

The traditional masala chai (spiced tea) is tea with different quantity of various spices like ginger, green cardamom pods, cinnamon, fennel seeds, cloves, pepper corns etc.

Benefits of Masala Tea

Masala tea contains antioxidants which improve your immune system. The blended spices have many health benefits. They protect against some illnesses, reduce fever, are effective against viruses etc. Antioxidants in pepper, cloves and ginger help to reduce inflammation. Clove tea is rich in magnesium, vitamin C and K. Masala tea helps to calm nerves.

Benefits of herbs and spices in the tea:

Ginger –Ginger adds a pleasant aroma to that cup of tea especially when you are suffering from sore throat. It helps to reduce nausea and gastric problems.

Basil – It is a wonder herb which acts as a tonic for nerves. Basil tea makes stomach strong and prevents stomach upsets. It also prevents cold, and reduces fever. It helps to reduce cardiac problems, keeps you calm and relaxed.

Cardamom (elaichi) – This is the dominant spice in most of the masala teas. It helps to cure depression, indigestion, and nausea. Cardamom reduces gas, helps digestion, it is diuretic and tastes wonderful in masala chai.

Pepper – Pepper is a stimulant, aids appetite, helps digestion and is a good remedy for cold and cough.

Cinnamon– It assists in digestion and lowers cholesterol and blood sugar. Cinnamon tea helps to avert flatulence, common cold and nausea. It reduces tiredness and increases strength.

Cloves– It is a ‘hot’ spice with anti bacterial and antiseptic properties and relieves pain. These add a strong sweet flavor to the tea.

Nutmeg– Nutmeg is a stimulant and is good for sleep related problems. It is useful for hysteria and anxiety.

Conclusion

The mixture of spices in tea differs according to the region and the climate. Kashmiri tea is made from green tea with flavor of almonds, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves and saffron. Tea with spices has many medicinal benefits, it is a nourishing drink. So, enjoy your hot cup of spiced tea especially on a cold winter day or a rainy day.