ORGANIC CAJUN SEASONING

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ORGANIC CAJUN SEASONING

Organic Cajun seasoning

 

Cajun seasoning is essentially a mixture of all the spices that make up the robust flavor that have come to be associated with the Cajun cuisine. This Southern Louisiana culinary style and dish preparation is often times confused with Creole, and more recently just all clumped into one big category of “Louisiana cooking”. The truth of the matter, however, is that Cajun cooking is it’s own very unique style that employs exotic flavor combinations and delicious cooking methods to create mouth watering dishes in a edible class all of their own –but how could a cooking style developed in southern Louisiana differ so much from the surrounding culinary habits and traditions? Well there is a bit of a story involved.

            It all started in 1775 when the Arcadian (French decedents) people who were living in Canada got the boot from the British. For whatever reason, at the time the British decided that Canada was more desirable, so they sent these refugees down to Louisiana. Upon arrival the Arcadians were a bit shell shocked by the extreme climate change, and realized that the foods they were used to eating were no longer available. However, instead of just rolling over, these culinary badasses embraced the challenge and took up creating their own unique rustic cuisine based on the areas unique local supply of edible goodies. The result of this epic edible quest resulted in a fusion food, mixing Arcadian preparation styles (which were already a fusion of French preparation styles) with Creole ingredients… forming the now famous robustly delicious dishes that we know today as Cajun food.

 

Uses

The traditional flavor of Cajun dishes all started with the “Holy Trinity” which is a combination of finely chopped peppers, onions, and celery sautéed in fat –or the “Holy Trinity and the Pope”, which adds garlic. Overtime more flavors were added to the mix, and eventually a dried and ground version came about to allow for Cajun flavors to be added with a simple pinch.

            Using Cajun spice at home is extremely flexible, and most people find that it melds well into the majority of savory dishes. A more traditional approach would be to use it in gumbos or jambalayas, but really any soup or stew would benefit from this powerhouse of flavor. Another option is to “blacken” fish or meat by rubbing it with oil and Cajun spice and pan-frying it. Really the spice mix is a beautiful medley of all the concentrated flavors that make food worth cooking –and for that reason, is extremely hard to use incorrectly.

If you're the creative type I encourage you to embrace the blends flexibility by mixing a pinch in with your own favorite dish to give it a Cajun kick –“Cajun style mac & cheese” …perhaps? On the other hand -if your more of a culinary purist-try turning your boring side of rice into a pot of gumbo -with a fat pinch of this spice mix to give it that pungent spicy taste! 

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Organic Garam Masala

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Organic Garam Masala

Organic Garam Masala

 

Garam masala refers to a blend of spices most often associated with Northern India and Southern Asia cuisine. Technically speaking, its name translates to Hindi as “hot mix of spices”, however, it’s actually not “hot” in the jalapeño-sense of the word. Actually the name refers to the traditional Hindu system of medicine, known as Ayurveda, in which the spice was renowned for it’s ability to “heat the body” and aid in digestion. Basically this means that the spice mix creates intestinal warmth… although to be fair –I would argue- that jalapeños also do a good job heating my body… but I guess that’s different.

            When it comes to the exact components of the mix, different people will tell different things, but there is actually no universally set mixture of spices that makes up garam masala. This is due to the evolution and fusion of the dish through different regions over many years. However, there are a few key players that tend to make up most mixes, each of which contributes a unique flavor profile to the final dish. Cinnamon and cloves add notes of sweetness, peppercorns bring a bit of heat, coriander and cumin contribute a bit of spiciness, and fennel… does… whatever that oddly-irresistible licorice seed does! Combined this mixture has beautifully synergistic flavor boosting properties that are both powerfully aromatic, and extremely versatile.

Uses

Traditionally this jack-of-all-trades spice mix has found its way into nearly all types of vegetable and meat based dishes –regardless of preparation style. Perhaps the biggest reason for this is that it is able to effortlessly meld and boost other flavors, or stand on its own to make a previously bland dish dance with a symphony of tastes. With that being said, the most traditional use of the mix is in soups, sautés, and stews –often times forming a sort of curry. However, stepping out of this traditional box is nothing to fear!

Try smashing it in with a bowl of guacamole to create a mouth watering Indi-Mex fusion, use a dash when cooking rice –or any grains- to add a little life to those boring side dishes, or try warming some in oil before caramelizing your next batch of onions. However you end up using it, your tastes buds are bound to be in for a treat, so don’t be afraid to get creative! Rest assured that this intensely aromatic spice mix has stood the test of time for a good reason.

 

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Organic Sumac

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Organic Sumac

Organic Sumac

 

Organic sumac is a dark red, almost purplish, culinary spice that originates from the sumac shrub. This plant grows wild in many Mediterranean areas, most notably in Southern Italy. The shrub forms its fruit in dense reddish clusters, which are harvested, dried, and ground coarsely to produce sumac spice. The shrub’s widespread growth, along with the berries unique properties, have allowed it to integrate itself into a wide range of dishes, and has become a staple in many cuisines.

The widespread love of sumac comes from its ability to add a tangy zest to nearly any type of savory dish, specifically those that benefit from a bit of sour/tartness –this flexibility can be seen by looking at the range of dishes that it has become a pivotal component of.  In Middle Eastern Cuisines it is most often associated with the spice mix known as Za’atar, in which it is the primary component. This mixture is quite versatile, being used to boost the flavor of both salads and meats. Sumac is also nearly always a part of traditional Arab cuisines, which use it as a vibrant garnish on top of appetizers and small plates –such as hummus. While Iranian’s employ the power of this zesty spice to balance out and boost the flavor of their beloved kebabs. Another unique usage of sumac is the role it plays in the Lebanese Fattoush (toasted pita bread) salad -in this case sumac is used in the dressing.

However, the versatility of the sumac plant isn’t limited to culinary purposes. In North America, for example, a different variety of sumac grows that was mixed with tobacco and smoked ceremonially by Native Americans. Some varieties, slightly different than the edible spice cultivar, are also utilized for their vibrant coloring abilities –being able to provide a beautiful crimson colored shade to cured leather. This spice also boasts medicinal properties, and has been used in Mediterranean regions as a digest aid for thousands of years. These properties are even noted by the Greek physician Pedanius Dioscorides in his medical journals around 50 AD. More recently evidence for the health properties of this powerful spice have been focused on its high antioxidant load.

 

Using it at home

 

            Sumac is a spice cabinet must-have that can be used to add a zesty snap to nearly any sort of vegetable or meat based dish. The versatility of this crimson colored spice comes from its unique ability to boost the flavor of the dish, bringing out natural flavors, without ever overpowering. In particular, it can be used any time you find yourself wanting to add a touch of lemon or vinegar to balance out the dish, or add a bit of tartness. Although it should be noted that although it can make up for the sour taste, it does not affect the acidic level of the dish the same way that lemon or vinegar can –which some recipes may require.

            When it comes to sumac get creative and don’t be scared. Rub meats, flavor stews, or boost sauces… you really can’t go wrong! You can also soak it and mix it into salad dressings, or stir it into yogurt to make a low-sugar dip. Remember, that while the spice can be added in during the cooking process, its beautifully vibrant color makes it the ultimate garnish to add just before serving. 

 

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Organic Curry

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Organic Curry

Organic Curry Powder

 

Curry refers to a wide range of dishes, most popular in south Asian cuisines. Today the dish represents a true global fusion food with hundreds of variations, in fact this dish is so well traveled that there has always been a debate regarding its true origin. However, this all changed thanks to findings by archeologist Arunima Kashyap, who recently pinpointed what he believes to be the birthplace of modern day curry. His findings are based on residues found in stone pottery indicating that the Indus Civilization was using a mixture of ginger, garlic, and turmeric to flavor their foods nearly 4,000 year ago. According to this research, and the fact that those ingredients are still used today, curry could quite possibly be the oldest dish to be continuously prepared in the world. Of course since that time, curry has greatly evolved- going from a basic spice combination to representing a fusion of global flavors and preparation styles. One of the adaptions that came about relatively recently in curries history -that westerns are perhaps the most familiar with- is the conception of curry “powder”.

Curry powder simply refers to a combination of roughly 20 different herbs and spices that have been dried and made into a powder. This range of different ingredients varies by region and culinary style, with coriander, cumin and turmeric –and often hot chilies- being the staple components. Arguably the most important aspect of a curry is the turmeric, which is an herbaceous plant indigenous to south East Asia, where it grows and is harvested similar to ginger. This flavorful root boasts a wide range of claimed health benefits, and is responsible for giving curry dishes their deep orange color.

            This powdered spice combination, capable of transforming bland dishes into flavorful blasts of deliciousness, first became prevalent in the United Kingdoms around the 18th century. During this time English traders spending time in India began using “curry” as a blanket term to describe a wide range of both meat and vegetable dishes that were popular in the region. It is believed that the English who spent time in India became fond of these richly flavorful dishes, and an Indian spice merchant looking to capitalize on this market, made a powdered curry to sell to Englishman who had returned home. Although, technically speaking, the powder has many of the key ingredients that would be found in a curry dish, it is important to remember that “curry” does not exclusively refer to the powdered form of the spices, but an entire culinary culture. Perhaps the biggest difference is that traditional preparation of curry utilizes various ingredients that are often fresh, incorporated in different ratios, and added at various stages of the cooking process depending on the particular type of curry being made.

            These different curry preparations vary widely in different geographic areas where cultures have learned to combine traditional ingredients with their own local flavors to create curry styles unique to their area. For this reason, curry today has become a sort of culinary base that can be easily modified and built upon. Curries ability to blend so well with different flavors has allowed it to infiltrate nearly every cuisine, and is the perfect starting point for edible experimentation. When using curry powder at home, try adding in your own favorite spices and herbs, or integrating particular ingredient flavors that are part of your heritage. Growing and adapting new curry styles in your own kitchen is a true celebration of the resilience of this globally loved dish -and is the perfect way to flex your culinary creativity! 

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MADE: Recent Partners

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MADE: Recent Partners

Recently we have been featuring our small business clients over at the Spicely.com blog. We've had the pleasure to introduce grain-free food businesses, juicing parlors, and vegan restaurants, just to name a few. You can read about them here:

Are you a business that uses Spicely or OSI ingredients, and would like to be featured? Please contact us and our Business Development member will contact you shortly.

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Organic Flowers!

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Organic Flowers!

OSI is known as an importer of organic herbs and spices, but did you know that we carry tea ingredients too? Here's a glimpse of what we offer currently:

  • Organic Calendula Flowers
  • Organic Chamomile
  • Organic Chamomile TBC
  • Organic Jasmine 
  • Organic Red Clover Petals
  • Organic Hibiscus
  • Organic Hibiscus TBC
  • Organic Rose Petals TBC

We are constantly importing small quantities of exotic ingredients; if you need something, chances are, we can source it for you!

Please contact your rep or New Business Development for more information!

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Vanilla Beans!

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Vanilla Beans!

For a limited time, we will be promoting the following products:

#94614 Organic Vanilla Bean - $59.99/lb
#95066 Organic Vanilla Bean TBC - $69.99/lb

Please contact your OSI rep or email us for more information!

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Cinnamon TBC: What's The Buzz?

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Cinnamon TBC: What's The Buzz?

Our Organic Cinnamon TBC (short for "tea bag cut") hails from Vietnam, and is highly aromatic.

The granulation ranges between 16 to 60 mesh, and because of increased surface area, flavor and aroma infuse quickly. Some applications include:

  • tisanes and teas
  • steeped infusions such as cinnamon flavored spirits 
  • boiled infusions such as spiced apple cider
  • non-culinary uses like potpourri and body scrubs.

Need more info on our cinnamon TBC? Contact us here!

 

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In The News: 12 Foods That You Should Always Buy Organic

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In The News: 12 Foods That You Should Always Buy Organic

It's always better to buy organic produce, but some are a little dirtier than others. So which ones should you really buy organic?

Enter the DIRTY DOZEN and CLEAN FIFTEEN report by the Environmental Working Group (EWG). The lists draw from 32,000 samples of 48 popular produce items tested by the USDA and FDA. Some items on the dirty list can contain up fifteen different pesticides!

Do you want to know which produce items benefit from organic farming? Read more here!

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Ginger: What's The Buzz?

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Ginger: What's The Buzz?

Ginger is one of the oldest spices to be cultivated, and plays an integral part in medicinal and culinary aspects of Chinese and Indian cultures. Ginger is known to be a flavor enhancer, but many people tout the potential health benefits of ginger.

Our sliced and TBC ginger root are great in the following applications:

  • teas and tisanes - for both flavor and medicinal properties.
  • beer - ginger can be added during the boil to impart a little bit of heat to your brew.
  • oil and vinegar infusions - infuse and use as a base for other products like salad dressings!
  • tinctures - infuse ginger slices with a neutrally flavored, high proof alcohol. These tinctures can be used medicinally or like bitters for mixology.

Our ground ginger root work wonderfully well in culinary applications like cookies, bread, and crackers. 

If you would like more information on our ginger offerings, please contact us here.

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In The News: Walmart Rolls Out Organic Line

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In The News: Walmart Rolls Out Organic Line

Have you read the news?

Walmart recently announced their Organic Food private brand partnership with Wild Oats, a brand that has been pioneering healthy eating since the 80s. Walmart aims to drive down organic food pricing as much as 25 percent lower than that of competitor's brands. They will be introducing over 100 products, including daily staples like canned beans and olive oil.

The sheer volume and scale of big boxed retailers like Walmart will drive overall demand - this means that more and more people will be switching to organic!

We are looking forward to more and more manufacturers switching to organic ingredients - we'll be here, ready to supply your needs. 

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The Importance of Salt-Free Products

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The Importance of Salt-Free Products

The human body only needs 500 mg of sodium daily to function properly, and most processed foods' sodium content far exceeds this number. For example, a pre-portioned single slice serving of cheese has 1,662 mg of sodium, and even then you may need to add salt to your recipes to enhance flavor or extend their shelf life.

There is a large concern over the general intake of this mineral both by doctors and the public. It’s clear that we all need some of this important electrolyte in our diets for our bodies to function properly, but in some people, too much sodium can lead to hypertension. People with congestive heart failure, liver cirrhosis, and kidney disease must monitor their sodium intake, and everyone else should be aware of the potential dangers of too much sodium in the diet.

There’s been reaction in the food industry regarding the addition of salt to their products, and a variety of “low sodium” and “no added salt” products are now available.

At OSI, we understand your need as a manufacturer in this day and age. Our ingredients are clearly marked on our labels - we will never add anything to our products without you knowing about it, so you can be sure about what goes into your food. All of our seasoning blends are salt and sugar free, so that leaves you in full control over your final product. That’s part of our pledge to you.

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