As the year draws to a close, the number of holiday meals increases and our tables welcome friends old and new, and our family young and old. The food we serve is both a symbol and proof of our love. Having the right flavor profile is crucial to the best cooking and the right spices are absolutely essential to crafting those flavors. Here are five spices we consider absolutely essential for any cook’s kitchen. Remember: fresh spices are the best spices. When in doubt, throw it out and order a fresh replacement.
Poultry Brining Blend
Brining your turkey makes all the difference. The process magically transforms what might otherwise be an ordinary bird into one that’s more flavorful, tender, and juicy. Orange, garlic, toasted onion, and seven herbs will bring out the best and make America's favorite holiday in November one that would have made the Pilgrims jealous.
Poultry Stuffing Seasoning
A must-have for Thanksgiving, or anytime you long for that quintessential holiday flavor, our stuffing seasoning is laden with sage. It also has interesting depth because we add white pepper, savory, and bell pepper. It tastes as good with oyster or bread stuffing in the north as it does with cornmeal-based ones in the south. You can also use this to flavor homemade gravies.
English Prime Rib Rub
For more than three centuries, Londoners have tucked in to aged joints of beef on Sunday afternoons. Those roasts are special for their delicious crust — that subtle, salty, spicy outer bark that contrasts so wonderfully with the tender beef inside. Freshly ground celery seeds, onion, pepper and garlic come together with salt to create this magical holiday spice rub. And be sure to season prime rib generously to create that wonderfully flavorful crust.
Saigon Cassia Cinnamon
Spicy and sweet, this cinnamon is our most popular varietal. Its high volatile oil content makes the bark extremely potent. Vietnamese cinnamon is fiery, rich, fragrant, and absolutely amazing in apple and pumpkin pies or with chocolate or brewed with coffee or in cinnamon rolls where it can shine in the spotlight.
Nutmeg was once so rare and valuable that the Dutch traded Manhattan to the British for the sole island on which it grew. It has a fragrant and intense flavor when freshly-ground. Today, Nutmeg is used in baked goods and custards, and grated for mashed potatoes, ravioli fillings, cocktails, and holiday egg nog.
That’s our list of five essentials. Perhaps not what you were expecting, but we’re confident each spice on the list will help you delight guests in the months ahead and well into the new year. And these five would make terrific gifts for the gourmets on your list.
And the best part of a top-five list is adding a sixth as a special little gift.
Fresh pepper makes all the difference. This "black gold" has been treasured since the time of the Ancient Egyptians. Today, Tellicherry Peppercorns are in almost every kitchen worldwide. These extra-large berries are left to ripen longer on the vine, maximizing their rich fruitiness. They have a full, robust flavor that’s almost fruity. Tellicherry Garbled Extra Bold is a favorite with chefs and home cooks.