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Spices to use for fall and winter
Adobe Stock / Photo by Fahrwasser

5 Seasonal Spices to Add to Fall and Winter Dishes in the Hudson Valley

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Set aside the salt and pepper and rely on these cold-weather spices to bring depth and warmth to your favorite dishes of the season.

Not sure which spices to cook with this season? You won’t want to skip these fall seasonings to keep your kitchen feeling warm as winter inches closer in the Hudson Valley. From sweet to savory, these spices are a great way to add a dash of bold flavor into a classic recipe or make a new dish that capitalizes on your favorite tastes. Either way, don’t skip on the spice, and don’t be afraid to add a hearty dash of each into your food.

Blackening Spice

Rooted in Louisiana, blackening spice is perfect to use year-round if you’re a fan of Cajun or Creole cuisine, but especially delicious in the colder months when we need a strong kick of flavor. The seasoning is a blend of paprika, onion powder, thyme, oregano, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, salt, and black pepper. Used to cook blackened food, the spice blend is liberally applied to coat a protein before searing on high heat. Curry Estate’s Restaurant Six uses the seasoning in its blackened shrimp and grits, a Southern-inspired dish made with polenta, goat cheese, tomato, basil, and, of course, blackened shrimp.

Cinnamon

Perhaps the most obvious fall spice, cinnamon excites in just about any dish to which it’s added. Not only is it versatile in sweet and savory dishes, but it also has an extensive list of health benefits, with a positive impact on digestion as well as anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties. A little often goes a long way with the ground version of this powerful spice, and cinnamon sticks are great for garnishing drinks like apple cider and hot chocolate. Underground Coffee and Ales in Highland always keeps cinnamon in its specialty drink rotation, currently showcasing the spice in its cinnamon fog tea latte with nutmeg-spiced brown sugar and gingerbread syrup.

Ginger

Popular in Asian cuisine, ginger adds a spicy, warm kick to dishes like dumplings and soups. The spice is also widely used in smoothies and other health foods because of its antioxidants and ability to improve digestive health. Chop up some ginger root to add to your breakfast smoothies or put it in hot water with honey and lemon to help fight a cold. In cooking, use freshly grated ginger in a stir fry or bake with the spice this holiday season when you make gingerbread cookies. At Terrapin in Rhinebeck, you can find ginger in the vegan gingered leek and tofu pot stickers, complete with sweet chili sauce.

Mulling Spices

 

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This fragrant blend of fall spices like cinnamon, clove, allspice, nutmeg, star anise, and cardamom is used in cocktails and other boozy and non-alcoholic beverages all season. Often bought prepackaged, it’s also quick and easy to mix up your own blend at home and add in whatever you want to customize the taste. Heat up some hard cider or red wine on your stove and toss in your mulling spices to create the perfect cold weather drink.

For something truly special, try this recipe with Freefall Sangria that transforms the summer beverage into your favorite fall cocktail. If you’d rather spend less time in the kitchen, check out Hetta Glogg for an American twist on Nordic glogg with mulling spice flavors.

Tamarind

 

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Rather than the spicy notes of most fall seasonings, tamarind has a unique, sour taste that typically works well in Indian cuisine as a balance to hotter flavors in dishes. While this spice is actually a fruit, it is often used in its powdered form to make an easy addition to meals and recipes. Tamarind can be cooked into sauces and marinades for proteins like fish and chicken, or added to salad dressings with flavors like orange and pineapple. Citrus Restaurant in New Windsor uses the spice in a number of fall dishes, including its sev potato puri with tamarind chutney and its tamarind eggplant dish with chickpeas and yogurt.


Related: 7 Hudson Valley Cafes for Cozy Lattes & Fall Drinks