Whether in cookies, stollen, gingerbread or mulled wine – spices are a must, especially at Christmas time! Nothing works in any of our kitchens without the following 5 anyway:
Cinnamon is one of the oldest known spices in the world and has already been mentioned in the Bible. Its woody-sweet aroma is perfect for refining Christmas sweets such as Baked apples, cinnamon parfait or plum-cinnamon layered desserts. In addition, it should naturally raise the level of serotonin. The messenger substance is also called happiness hormone, because it ensures that a pleasant warmth flows through body and soul and we feel happier and more relaxed.
The carnation takes its name from the Central Low German word “negelkin” (nails) because the shape of the flower buds are reminiscent of nails. It grows on the clove tree, which can live up to 100 years. Since the clove has a lot of essential oils, it has an intense and slightly spicy aroma, which is why you should use it very sparingly when cooking and baking. It belongs in gingerbread, speculoos, printen and pepper nuts. The clove is also very popular in medicine because it is said to help against stomach and toothache.
has a sweet and slightly liquorice-like taste, which is why it is often referred to as sweet caraway. The seeds are obtained in whole or in ground form. Anise is particularly useful for seasoning orange, apple or cranberry compote, Christmas biscuits such as gingerbread or anise biscuits and is, of course, also part of mulled wine. Since the spice contains a high seasoning power similar to cloves, only the use of small amounts is recommended here. Like most typical Christmas spices, anise is also often used as a medicinal plant because it has an expectorant and sleep-promoting effect.
Ginger has been cultivated in Central and South Asia for many thousands of years and is used as a medicinal plant in many ancient Chinese scriptures. For example, it should help against indigestion and relieve pain. The roots of the ginger perennial are used, the so-called “hands”. After the harvest, they are washed and dried and then used either whole or ground. Ginger is characterized by its burning, spicy taste and is used in many ways in teas and at Christmas also in pastries such as gingerbread sticks or the traditional ginger biscuits known from England.
Cardamom is one of the most desirable spices in the world. The cardamom plant comes from South India and Sri Lanka. The green immature seed pods are dried after harvesting. The strong taste is strongly reminiscent of eucalyptus, which is why cardamom is mainly used to flavor baked goods such as speculoos or gingerbread, desserts and marinades. In many parts of Arabia, the use of cardamom gives coffee its very own unusual note.