Saturday, 14 April 2012

Organic Spices and Dried Herbs for the Holidays - Health - Alternative Medicine

There are a host of fabulous holidays that occur during the bleak winter months. Although they celebrate in different ways, winter holidays help to bring cheer to what is typically a cold and dark time of year otherwise. Along with favorite holidays come traditional cuisines and dishes that you and your family enjoy, and these can be seasoned well with organic spices and bulk herbs.


Pagans celebrate the Solstice, which is the shortest day of the year, because the days will soon begin to lengthen and the sun will come back once again. Winter greenery from conifer trees is used to decorate the home, and the lighted tree used in Christmas festivities stems back to the pagan tradition of lighting a tree on Solstice. In this tradition a yule log is burned on the fire. There is a dessert that resembles the yule log, known as the Buche de Noel. It is a chocolate cake made with wonderful organic spices that is filled with whipped cream, and covered with chocolate frosting that is scored to resemble the bark on wood. Marzipan mushrooms are sometimes put on the Buche de Noel as adornment.


Hanukkah is a Jewish winter holiday that features the lighting of the menorah, and oil plays a large role in both the menorah lighting as well as foods eaten. A dreidel, a four-sided spinning top, is used in a traditional game. There are a couple of special foods that are eaten during Hanukkah, and they include sufganiyot, or jelly donuts with no hole in the center that are seasoned with bulk spices such as cinnamon and powdered sugar, and latkes, which are crispy potato pancakes. Various dried herbs can be used in making latkes, but onion, eggs and flour are always used.


Kwanzaa is a celebration that people of African descent enjoy during the month of December. Culture is reaffirmed with family, and gifts are exchanged. Food is also shared, and culminates with a Kwanzaa feast held on December 31st. Foods feature recipes from the Caribbean, Africa and South America, and can include fried okra, plantains, fried chicken, black bean soup, baked ham and gumbo. These foods favor bold organic spices and dried herbs for appropriate flavorings.


Christmas is a Christian winter holiday celebrating the birth of Jesus, but developed its modern-day trappings during the reign of Queen Victoria of England, and through the writings of Charles Dickens. It typically includes a tree with lights and decorations, as well as gifts, and a feast with organic spices and bulk herbs as part of the festivities. Foods eaten as well as organic herbs and bulk spices used can vary, but are traditionally similar to what is served at Thanksgiving, including turkey, mashed root vegetables, gravy, dressings, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie for dessert. Organic spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg, as well as organic herbs like rosemary and sage figure prominently in these wonderful dishes.

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