With the high environmental, social and economic costs of corporate agriculture, more and more people are realizing that choosing organic is good not only for their health, but for the world in general - and that includes organic spices. Bulk organic herbs can be used in both the kitchen as well as to stock the medicine cabinet. Organic bulk herbs are an excellent way to add flavor to food, but have many other uses as well.
The use of dried herbs in the preparation of food goes back a long way in history. Perhaps the earliest bulk herbs to be traded as commodities were cloves, cinnamon and pepper, all of which have been used in the Middle East for over 3,000 years. In the Old Testament, the collection of ancient Hebrew wedding songs known as the Song of Solomon contains passages in which the bridegroom compares his bride with various spices, indicating that such dried herbs were available - if not common.
Another noteworthy botanical among organic spices that has been used since ancient times is horseradish, which has been used in the Passover Seder since at least 1500 BCE; the powerful, sinus-blasting wasabi variety has been a stable of Japanese cuisine since the days of the shoguns.
In Europe, the earliest mention of spices is found in the 1st Century writings of Roman philosopher Pliny the Elder, who refers to cloves. During medieval times, such bulk herbs were literally worth their weight in gold. Contrary to popular belief, organic spices were not used by medieval chefs to disguise the taste of rotten meat. Because of their extravagant cost, using precious bulk herbs in such a fashion would have been seen as tremendously wasteful. However, many dried herbs that were used as spice could also be used to preserve meat and fish in the days before refrigeration.
New World Spices
When European explorers discovered the Americas, they also discovered a plethora of new organic spices that had hitherto been unknown. The best-known of these are of the chili pepper family, which was used by native peoples of Mexico and Mesoamerica for centuries. Chili peppers have found their way into cuisines from Africa and the Mediterranean to east Asia and Japan.
Organic Spices Today
Organic Spices in the form of bulk organic herbs are no longer ruinously expensive as they were as little as 500 years ago. The main reason is that organic bulk herbs that in olden days might have been found in only one or two places in the world are now grown virtually all over the world.
That said, you can expect to pay somewhat more for bulk organic herbs, mainly because they such are grown locally by small, independent farmers in relatively small quantities, and thus are less abundant. When you consider the flavor and health benefits of organic bulk herbs however, organic spices are still a bargain.
Anne Harvester incorporates a variety of organic products into her life, including organic spices. Anne uses many types of dried herbs in her kitchen and has researched the benefits of purchasing organic bulk herbs. In this article Anne discusses the benefits of using organic spices.
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