A time when neighborhoods are filled with beautiful lights, families are baking cookies together, Christmas carols are sung at every corner and Christmas markets invite you with pleasant smells that tickle the nose and make you feel warm. And exactly these smells sweeten this magic time of the year. And – quite frankly: What would Christmas be without the scent of cinnamon, anise, ginger and many more spices?
However, spices, the ingredients from distant lands, were and are much more than just seasonings for dishes. They are probably one of the oldest trade goods of all and were weighed in gold in ancient times.
Best seasoning in the barn
For decades, herbs and spices have found their way into animal nutrition, too. In the barn, spices are always in season, showing a big variety in maintaining and supporting animal wellbeing. Whereas at Christmas, people prefer some spices that are seen as typical for the cold time of the year. Perhaps not least some of them have warming effects. Reason enough to take a closer look at selected flavor bringers in your kitchen and just in time for the festive season, in which they are so often used to create delicious dishes.
Does your home already smell like Christmas?
We probably all love the scents that come to our noses at Christmas time! And some of them really seem to be indispensable during the last weeks of the year. Representing many more, we have picked out a few typical Christmas spices that we would like to briefly introduce in the following.
Cinnamon – a classic par excellence
Why is cinnamon always associated with Christmas? The answer is simple: In former times, cinnamon was an expensive spice and was only used at special occasions, such as Christmas. Therefore, it is a typical Christmas spice par excellence. Recipes with cinnamon range from cinnamon stars, baked apples, fruit bread, to punch drinks. Though, also hearty dishes such as roast or blue cabbage are skillfully refined by cinnamon. And not to forget: the wintery fragrant cinnamon sticks also look great as decoration for all kinds of Christmas arrangements and handicrafts.
Star anise – the strong one
Not least because of its shape, the star anise, which originates in Asia, fits perfectly into the Christmas season. Unlike anise, whose flavor derives from the seeds, the intense, sweet aroma of star anise is found in the fruit walls.
The essential oil anethole creates the unique taste of star anise, though perhaps good to know that it is not immediately released during the cooking process but unfolds over longer cooking times.
Ginger smells, ginger smells, ginger all the way
What is winter and Christmas without ginger? The precious tuber has enjoyed great popularity for many years. In addition to hot drinks, which can be excellently refined with fresh lemon juice, it also pares well with other dishes. In powder form, ginger magically adds a bit of spiciness and warmth to dishes and baked goods. Whether in chocolate cookies, roasts or as a fiery addition to jam - the miracle root is very versatile and – moreover – in folk medicine assumed to prevent colds.
Phytogenics – the pick of the bunch
We could, of course, continue the list of wonderful Christmas spices much further, yet it would go beyond the scope. At Delacon, we enjoy being constantly surrounded by herbs and spices – all year long. We just have to take a few steps into the production facility and find ourselves in a sea of different smells and flavors. A good feeling that these treasures of nature can be successfully used in animal nutrition, too.
Good to know
Phytogenics are standardized, specific and science-based combinations of bioactive compounds found in plants with proven efficacy and a sustainable impact on animals, people, and/or the environment.
“The Christmas time is also a festive highlight for the sense of smell. Bring the magic home and fully enjoy probably the world´s most phytogenic season…“
After her study in agriculture sciences at the university of natural resources and life sciences in Vienna, Elisabeth joined the Delacon team in December 2013 as Technical Communications Manager - a position, she always exerted with pleasure. Since 2021, her task areas have been extended and thus, she is also supporting colleagues in writing offside the technical focus as Content Manager. Elisabeth describes herself as a great animal and nature lover and prefers to spend her free time high up in the mountains with her little family, away from the hustle and bustle.