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Spice It Up This Thanksgiving

Updated on March 8, 2013

Make Thanksgiving Extra Special

Using premium quality, freshly ground, hand-blended, spices can make a huge difference in the taste of finished dishes. While many spices can find a place on the diverse holiday tables of America, there are a few standby flavors that are classics in a Thanksgiving dinner.
Cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice, are highlighted on this page along with some fantastic recipes, both traditional and non, so that you can spice it up this holiday drawing friends and family together.


photo source and great recipe for whole spice cranberry sauce:


A classic Thanksgiving spice

Cinnamon, and its relative cassia, has a long and colorful history. Greeks used it to season meat and vegetables, Arabs used it in teas, Romans to make their strong and bitter wine and English for breads and puddings. It has been prized throughout the world for both its flavor and its medicinal uses.

In the United States, what we call cinnamon, is actually a close botanical relative of true cinnamon called cassia. Cassia, is not inferior to true cinnamon, it just has a slightly different flavor. There are three varieties of cassia highlighted here, each with a different flavor and characteristics and true cinnamon. Each can be used differently and each adds uniqueness to the holiday dish of your choosing.

Ground Vietnamese "Saigon" Cassia

This form of cinnamon is very popular due to its deep and heavy flavor and rich, pungent overwhelming aroma. It is dark brown in color, with deep red tones. This form of cinnamon has a high and powerful oil content, and a more spicy than sweet flavor similar to the Chinese Tung Hing cassia cinnamon. It usually comes in whole flat strips which are perfect for tea, mulling spices and potpourri. In ground form it is best to use in dishes where cinnamon is a feature flavor.

Here are some excellent Thanksgiving recipes that use "saigon" Cassia

Best pumpkin pie recipe ever

Sweet potato pie filling

China Tung Hing Cassia Cinnamon

This cinnamon also has a high natural oil content (though not as high as the Saigon Cassia cinnamon mnetioned above) and is appreciated for its rich, sweet yet slightly spicy flavor. It seems to enhance the inherent sweetness of foods, but its flavor dosent really stand out on its own as is the case with the other forms of cinnamon. It is a simpler, smoother cinnamon.

The China Hing cinnamon is a great all-around baking cinnamon; It would be appropriate for everyday use in spice blends or dishes where cinnamon is a background flavor. Great for spice cakes, pies, sticky buns, pumpkin bread, apple strudel. Sprinkle on top of French toast, oatmeal or hot cocoa.

Here are some excellent Thanksgiving recipes that use China Tung Hing Cassia

Chili Chocolate Bark

Old Fashioned Cinammon Rolls

Indonesian Cassia

Cassia is the typical American baking cinnamon, with a darker, more robust flavor than Ceylon cinnamon. Indonesian Korintje cinnamon "Korintje cassia" is the most common variety of cassia; typically sold at supermarkets. There is a higher quality Indonesian cassia cinnamon you can find at many specialty stores. The color is a bright, rusty orange, the taste is very 'traditional' and The pungency is somewhere in between Chinese and Vietnamese, and people who find Vietnamese cinnamon too strong may prefer Indonesian Korintje.

Here are some excellent Thanksgiving recipes that use Korintje cinnamon

Spiced pecan apple salad

Ceylon - True Cinnamon

Ceylon cinnamon is very light in color and has a sweet taste. As cinnamon sticks it is flaky, and fragile and therefore easy to grind. Best in Mexican dishes it can also be used with other forms of cinnamon such as the Siagon cinnamon for uniquely flavored cinnamon rolls.

Here are some excellent Thanksgiving recipes that use True Cinnamon

Delicious Hot Coco

Photo source:


Another classic Thanksgiving spice

No page on holiday spices would be complete without nutmeg, one of the most popular holiday spices, and a part of nearly every cuisine. The nutmeg tree actually produces two spices - nutmeg which comes from the seed inside the fruit, and mace, which is the lacy covering around the kernel.

The history of nutmeg is rather interesting so I thought I would include a short blurb about it - Back in the 1600's, the Dutch who had a monopoly on nutmeg would bathe the seed in lime to prevent their growth, send out search and destroy crews to control the spread of the seeds and even burn the nutmeg to keep its supply under control. Their monopoly could not last for long however, and nutmeg was eventually smuggled out by the French and British. In the late 1700's nutmeg was such a successful crop in Grenada that it now calls itself the Nutmeg Island, designing its flag in the green, yellow and red colours of nutmeg and including a graphic image of nutmeg in one corner.

Like cinnamon, nutmeg has medicinal and cullinary properties. It is extremely aromatic and has one of the highest amounts of volatile oil of all the spices. It is usually associated with sweet, spicy dishes, many of which are traditional Thanksgiving fare - pies, puddings, custards, cookies and spice cakes. It also combines well with many cheeses, and is included in soufflés and cheese sauces. In soups it works with tomatoes, split pea, chicken or black beans. It complements egg dishes and vegetables like cabbage, spinach, broccoli, beans onions and eggplant. It is indispensable to eggnog and numerous mulled wines and punches.

Here are some tasty and delicious Thanksgiving recipes using nutmeg:

Sweet potatoes and nutmeg

Nutmeg maple cream pie

Nutmeg rice custard with blood oranges

Grandmas tasty fruit compote

For a low carb substitute to the traditional Thanksgiving mashed potatoes, try mashing ½ a head of cauliflower with ½ a teaspoon of nutmeg, a little butter and some cream.

Get A Nutmeg Grinder

Fresh nutmeg is always your best option. Its easy to grind your own at home.

Peugeot 19501, 056975014498, Clear Acrylic
Peugeot 19501, 056975014498, Clear Acrylic

Turn it one direction for a course grind and the other for a finer grind. The thicker grind is perfect for recipes, while the thinner grind is just fine enough to put on top of your Thanksgiving eggnog.

The design is simple and clean, You can always see how much nutmeg you have left and its really easy to drop a new seed into the grinder.



Spread the wonderful aroma of the Thanksgiving spice

Allspice comes from an evergreen tree that is indigenous to the rainforests of South and Central America. Unfortunately the wild trees were cut down to harvest the berries and few remain today. There are allspice plantations in Mexico and parts of Central America but the finest allspice comes from Jamaica where the climate and soil are best suited to producing the aromatic berries. Allspice gets its name from its aroma which smells like a combination of spices, especially cinnamon, cloves, ginger and nutmeg.

In some parts of the world, allspice is calledby the name pimento and pimento or allspice oil is used medicinally for srthritis and sore muscles.

In cooking, it is a particularly popular spice in Europe, as it is an important ingredient in many marinades, pickling and mulling spices. Many patés, terrines, smoked and canned meats include allspice. A few allspice berries are added to Scandinavian pickled herring, to Sauerkraut , pickles, soups, game dishes and English spiced beef. Traditionally, allspice has been used in cakes, fruit pies, puddings ice cream and pumpkin pie. Some Indian curries and pilaus contain allspice and in the Middle East it is used in meat and rice dishes. Allspice can be used for jerked meats like pork and chicken, reflecting its Spanish/Jamaican background. It is also used in liqueurs, notably Benedictine and Chartreuse.

Allspice can be used as a substitute, measure, for measure, for cinnamon, cloves or nutmeg. Conversely to make a substitution for allspice, combine one part nutmeg with two parts each of cinnamon and cloves.

Here are some tasty and delicious Thanksgiving recipes using nutmeg:

Apple Cider Pound Cake

Applesacue Raisin Cake

Pumpkin Cranberry Cake

Sweet Potato Muffins

Photo source:

The Absolute Very Best, Most Delicious Spice Cake Ever

And Its gluten free!

My Husband makes this delicious spice cake often and it is always a crowd pleaser. You would never know its gluten free, its absolutely delicious and highly recommended.

What you need:

1 cup brown rice flour

2/3 cup potato starch

1/3 cup tapioca flour

1 teaspoon xanthan gum

1 3/4 teaspoons baking soda

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon gound cloves

1 1/2 cups milk (we use rice milk, any kind will work)

1 1/2 cups brown sugar packed

1/4 cup butter

1/4 cup cooking oil

1/3 cup molasses

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 large eggs, beated

1. Preheat oven to 325. Grease 9-inch round nonstick pan. Line bottom with waxed paper and spray again.

2. Sift together flours, xanthem gum, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves in a large mixing bowl

3. Combine milk and brown sugar in a heavy sauce pan and bring just to a boil over medium heat.remove from heat and add butter, oil, vanilla and molasses.

4. When butter is melted add butter and sugar mixture to flour mixture in mixing bowl and mix until thoroughly blended.Add eggs and mix until blended.

5. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 50 minutes of until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Cool cake on pan for 5 minutes. Invert cake onto a plate to finish cooling and remove wax paper.

This recipe is from the fabulous cookbook: Wheat-free Recipes and Menus by Carol Fenster

Get What You Need To make The Very Best Feast Here

Spicy World Whole Allspice, 16 oz
Spicy World Whole Allspice, 16 oz

Allspice loses much of tis flavor when ground, get the best fresh allspice here

Camp Chef True Seasoned  Cast Iron Pie Pan 10" CIPIE10
Camp Chef True Seasoned Cast Iron Pie Pan 10" CIPIE10

With this true-seasoned cast iron pie pan, baking pies has never been so easy. The handles on each side make for easy lifting in and out of the oven. Cast iron creates even heat distribution, resulting in a perfect golden crust each time.

Frontier Nutmeg Whole, 16 Ounce Bag
Frontier Nutmeg Whole, 16 Ounce Bag

Fresh, premium quality and at a good price

The Complete Spice Book: From Allspice to Vanilla--the Ultimate Companion to the Ancient and Everyday Wonders on Your Spice Rack
The Complete Spice Book: From Allspice to Vanilla--the Ultimate Companion to the Ancient and Everyday Wonders on Your Spice Rack

Excellent book which contains Infomation on each spice including its history and legend, current medicinal uses, crafts and household uses, as well as other interesting factual tidbits and of course hundreds of excellent recipes

Lodge L5P3 Cast Iron Cookware Mini Muffin/Cornbread Pan, Pre-Seasoned
Lodge L5P3 Cast Iron Cookware Mini Muffin/Cornbread Pan, Pre-Seasoned

We love this muffin pan! The thick cast iron does a great job keeping your pre-heated fat/oil smoking hot while you add your batter. Puddings and popovers seem to come out much poofier compared to when we used to use our other cheap, thin walled muffin tin.


Ninety percent of the international spice trade is in whole spices, paprika being the only spice sold ground in significant quantities. Curry powder is the only blend that is of any commercial importance.

Spiced Winter Turkey

Add a twist to your Thanksgiving turkey

Looking for a different way to make that turkey this year? This delicious recipe will spice up your bird in no time.

What you need:

1 (20-pound) turkey, preferably organic, not kosher

10 teaspoons salt

5 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground allspice

1 teaspoon ground cloves

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1. Rinse turkey, and pat dry. In a small bowl combine salt, sugar, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, and nutmeg. Coat turkey evenly with seasoning, sprinkling a little in cavity, and rubbing the rest into skin.

2. Set turkey uncovered on a rack above a plate. Let turkey stand for 48 hours in refrigerator, preferably on top shelf for maximum air circulation.

3. Heat oven to 425 degrees F. In a roasting pan, place turkey breast side down on a rack. Cook until the temperature of a leg reads 160 degrees F. Turn bird breast side up half way through the cooking process. Baste turkey with released juices

4. Remove chicken from oven, and let stand 15 minutes before carving. Serve warm.

This recipe is original but was inspired from: The Zuni Cafe Cookbook: A Compendium of Recipes and Cooking Lessons from San Francisco's Beloved Resturant by Judy Rodgers (W. W. Norton)

photo source:

Thanks For Visiting - I would love to hear from you

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    • profile image


      6 years ago

      our company ( are required for export of spices.

      What you need to contact me:

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Using cinnamon provides so many benefits as well as taste.

      Again, I liked another one of your lenses. BG

    • eccles1 profile image


      9 years ago

      Nice lens ! Happy Thanksgiving

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 

      9 years ago from United States

      Wow! Not only is this a beautiful lens, but I am anxious to try that spice cake recipe!

    • aka-rms profile image

      Robin S 

      9 years ago from USA

      I can almost smell this delicious lens!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Very informative. great job.

    • ZenandChic profile image


      9 years ago

      Love this lens. It makes me feel toasty!


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