Welcome to Discoveries at the Jungle, where each month we’ll take a look at some of the most interesting, flavorful, and sometimes bizarre items Jungle Jim’s has to offer. This month, we’re featuring spices from around the world! Some past focuses this year have been coffee, tea, snacks, pasta, candy, cookies, condiments, and so much more! If you missed any of those those posts, or want to revisit them, make sure you go back and give them a read.
Before we start this journey, let’s talk a little about what constitutes a “spice.” Basically a spice is a seed, fruit, root, or other plant substance primarily used for flavoring, coloring, or preserving food. They are not herbs, which are leaves, flowers, or stems from plants used for flavoring or as a garnish. Now you know the difference!
Early on (we’re talking 2000 BC) cinnamon and black pepper were the first spices to be used and traded in South Asia and the Middle East. The Egyptians used it in their mummification process, and in 1000 BC the China, Korea and India regions were using spices and herbs for medicinal purposes. Spices have been around for a very long time, indeed.
As history moved on, spices became a delicacy for royalty and the rich. This is what drove the spice trade to grow to such epic proportions, transforming from land caravans transporting spices over vast distances to ships taking them to different continents. Today India, Bangladesh, and Turkey lead the world in spice production. India alone produces 1.5 million tonnes of spices a year!
At Jungle Jim’s International Market we pride ourselves for being able to bring you products from around the globe, and that certainly is the same for spices. While you can find a selection of spices in our American Grocery section at the front of both stores, we invite you to go on a little adventure in our International Department to discover a world of spices! You can often find better deals, bulk spices, a wider variety, and fresh spices from around the world. Make sure you check out the locations of our featured spices at the bottom of each post so you can use those locations to help you navigate your own discoveries!
MDH Seasonings - India
Since 1924 MDH has been producing quality spices for the world. Each blend has been specially formulated to impart the genuine taste of Indian food. They are free of preservatives and artificial flavor enhancers. They source most of their spices right from India, and export their products to over 100 countries around the globe.
Where you can find these: Fairfield: Orange 17 // Eastgate: Pink 3
Did you know? Sumac is the only spice plant native to all 48 contiguous states.
Maesri Curry Pastes - Thailand
Curry is an umbrella term referring to a number of dishes originating in the cuisine of the Indian subcontinent, although many countries and cultures make their own versions of curry. The common feature is the use of complex combinations of spices or herbs, usually including fresh or dried hot chillies. These pastes are excellent for giving your curry a little extra punch!
Where you can find these: Fairfield: Orange 5 // Eastgate: Pink 8
Did you know? Turmeric (found in curry powder) has been surprisingly effective against Alzheimer’s symptoms in multiple studies, and currently outperforms any known Alzheimer’s drug.
Catch the other featured items from this month here:
Tajin Seasoning from Mexico and Edora Seasoning from Germany
Mama Sita's Seasoning from the Philippines and AG Ferrari Sea Salts from Italy
Grace Caribbean Seasonings from Jamaica and Shan Seasonings from Pakistan
MDH Seasonings from India and Maesri Curry Pastes from Thailand