The scents of the holidays bring back some of your favorite memories with just a sniff. From the Thanksgiving turkey with your grandmother’s signature spice combination to that favorite winter dessert that you only get to have a couple of times a year, the familiar scents of the holidays are guaranteed to bring up those amazing memories. Whether you’re looking to recreate the holidays of your childhood or hoping to create new holiday favorites for your own family, starting with a few traditional holiday spices is a great way to keep your kitchen and your entire home smelling great all winter long.
The sights and smells of Christmas wouldn’t be complete without cinnamon. From potpourri spread deliberately throughout your home to delicious cinnamon treats, this familiar spice will certainly add an element of delight to your holidays.
The Benefits of Cinnamon
Cinnamon is known to help regulate blood sugar levels– a definite bonus during the sweet-filled holiday season. It also has anti-inflammatory properties that will help reduce your risk of illness, fights both viral and bacterial infections, and offer some protection against heart disease and cancer.
Using Cinnamon to Brighten Your Holiday
There are plenty of ways to use cinnamon in your holiday baking. Add a spoonful to your favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe, bake up a cinnamon cake, or simply add it to your morning oatmeal to get the full benefits of this tasty spice on one early-morning punch. Cinnamon rolls are also a favorite Christmas morning dish for many families.
It’s little wonder, with all the rich holiday foods making it to the table, that mint– especially peppermint– is a popular addition to many holiday tables. Peppermint offers a lighter taste that helps regulate hunger cues, letting you know that it’s time to stop eating instead of wandering back to the table for more food to munch. It is common to add mint to lamb, peas, and other mealtime dishes.
The Benefits of Peppermint
Peppermint is the perfect easy remedy for indigestion, whether you've overindulged or simply ate something that disagreed with you. It decreases heartburn and stimulates digestion to help move the heavy holiday meal through your system faster.
Using Peppermint to Brighten Your Holiday
Many people find that a cup of mint tea is a great way to finish up their holiday meal. It’s also the perfect way to wind down after a long, busy day! Peppermint also appears in a number of dessert dishes: classic butter mints are a favorite, but peppermint can also be added to cakes, brownies, and even cheesecakes to create a unique, holiday-friendly twist on old favorites. Peppermint fudge is an excellent holiday treat that will have everyone wandering back to the dessert table for a second piece.
No holiday season would be complete without the classic gingerbread cookie– but that doesn’t mean that it’s the only way to use this family favorite! Ginger is a powerful spice: a little goes a long way, and it adds a bite to your favorite baked goods that many people like only in moderation.
The Benefits of Ginger
Ginger is a powerful anti-nausea spice that is often used by pregnant women, who often prefer candied ginger as their method of ingestion. Ginger also offers pain relief and anti-inflammatory benefits to many individuals.
Using Ginger to Brighten Your Holiday
The classic gingerbread cookie can’t be overlooked, nor can gingerbread as a cake or loaf. Ginger, however, is also a great seasoning for chicken, salmon, and other dishes. Gingerbread pancakes even allow you the chance to incorporate ginger into your holiday breakfast.
Cloves are a holiday spice that are often overlooked, but their benefits make them well worth adding to your holiday table. Cloves are typically combined with other spices, like cinnamon and ginger, but don’t leave them out of your holiday recipes! The extra something they add to your dish makes them well worthwhile.
Benefits of Cloves
Cloves fight headaches, which is a benefit you’ll certainly appreciate when you’re spending the holidays with family members you don’t see throughout the rest of the year! They also have anti-inflammatory properties and are considered a cancer fighting spice.
Using Cloves to Brighten Your Holiday
Cloves might not typically stand alone, but they can certainly make your dishes stand out! Try using them in apple cider, apple butter, or as a topping for your sugar cookies to reap the benefits of cloves this holiday season.
This little-known spice will add plenty of punch to your holiday table. Star anise isn’t one of the spices that you typically remember to grab on a run through the grocery store, but it is a great flavor addition and healthy-eating boost for your holiday meals.
Benefits of Star Anise
Star Anise is excellent for women’s health, especially for pregnant and lactating women. It also decreases inflammation, boosts the immune system, and improves digestion.
Using Star Anise to Make Your Holiday Brighter
Star Anise can appear in a number of holiday dishes. Whether you’re featuring a new dish that shows it off or whipping up a side dish that everyone will enjoy, there are plenty of ways to use it! Try adding it to a fantastic pork dish, adding a flavorful note to your rice, or using it when creating a carrot soup as an appetizer.
There’s no place like home for the holidays– especially when you’re making the most of these traditional spices, as well as a few new ones! Many common holiday spices have the benefit of decreasing nausea and indigestion and helping you stay healthy. It’s a double punch that makes them well worth adding to your holiday repertoire.
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