Taste and Then Some: Spices with Multiple Uses

Spices with Multiple Uses

You can find out a lot about a person by looking at their spice rack – if it consists of little more than salt and pepper, you can tell that the owner is not much of a cook. A spice rack can literally spice up your life (or at least the part you spend eating). At the same time, it can be a treasure trove of other things if you look beyond the flavor.


Turmeric – the spice – is a root with beautiful golden color and pungent, bitter, and warm taste. It is a common ingredient in Asian food – it is one of the main spices in curry – but it often acts as a replacement for saffron to give foods some of its beautiful colors. Turmeric is also a traditional medicinal plant. The health effects of turmeric are discussed widely online based on the Ayurveda.
These effects were not yet confirmed by science, so we’ll set them aside for another time.
Turmeric, in turn, can also be used as paint. Boiling eggs in water with added turmeric will give them a beautiful golden color. The root turned into a paste, can be used directly on the canvas. And when mixed with water, the root (or the dried powder) can be used to dye fabric.


Cinnamon is another wonderful oriental flavor that should be there on every spice rack. Locked away, of course, so reckless teens can’t turn it into a viral challenge. It can be used to spice up sweet and savory dishes alike – in some countries, it’s used in sausages as well as desserts.
It also doubles as a natural fungicide. Mix a teaspoon of cinnamon powder with a couple of cups of water, leave it to “brew” overnight, then strain it, and spray the mixture on the leaves, roots, and soil of your houseplants to prevent them being attacked by fungi.


Garlic is perhaps the most divisive spice of them all: in the kitchen (and on the plate) its aroma is wonderful – outside of it, in turn, it can be very, very repulsive. Still, it is one of the most widely used spices in savory dishes – in some cases, it is even used as the main ingredient.