Cinnamon & Other Fall Spices
Fall spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, allspice and ginger are perfect for livening up desserts – but they can also add a kick to hot drinks and savory main dishes. Here are a few ways to use these autumn flavors all day long.
Creative uses for fall spices
Fall spices are popular choices for sweet rolls, quick breads and pies, but don’t let them waste away waiting for your next baking project. Here are some creative ways to use these versatile spices.
Savory flavor combinations
- Use nutmeg to round out the flavor of white sauces – like alfredo and béchamel.
- Try cinnamon to add depth to beef and lamb dishes like shepherd’s pie or short ribs.
- Choose ginger for chicken, chutney or even tea recipes.
- Add an international flare to main dishes. Moroccan cooking utilizes ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and allspice in savory dishes. Try our recipes for Moroccan-style cod or Moroccan chicken pie.
- Spice up a weekend breakfast. Add a sprinkle of cinnamon, nutmeg or ginger to pancake mix or French toast batter. Or, create spice-infused syrups or jams to use as toppings (add a few dashes of your favorite spice or a cinnamon stick to syrup or jam and warm gently on the stove).
Drinks and snacks
- Make mulled cider for a hot treat on a cold night.
- Skip the coffee shop and make your own pumpkin spice coffee. Add two teaspoons of honey and ½ teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice (see recipe below) to a mug. Pour in your favorite brewed coffee and top it with warm milk or cream.
- Whip up some candied nuts for your next party menu. Whisk together one egg white and one tablespoon of water. Toss 3 cups of nuts (pecans or almonds work great) in the egg mixture. Then, coat nuts with half a cup of sugar and ½ teaspoon each of salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ground cloves. Bake on a foil-lined baking sheet at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.
Make your own fall spice blends
Many dessert recipes call for spice blends like “pumpkin pie” or “apple pie” spice. If you don’t have one on hand, you can easily make your own. The following make about 1 teaspoon of each blend:
- Apple Pie Spice
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon + ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg + 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
- Pumpkin Pie Spice
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon + ¼ teaspoon ground ginger + 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg + 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves or allspice
When to replace spices
Almost all spices will last at least a year in your cupboard. Below are guidelines for how long spices should retain their flavor if stored in a closed container.
Tip: Use a permanent marker to write the date opened on the spice container.
- Ground Spices 2 years
- Whole Spices 3 years
- Herbs 1-2 years
- Seasoning Blends 1-2 years
- Extracts Up to 4 years
If you can’t remember when you opened them, here’s how to know when your spices have lost their punch.
- Check the color. Green herbs lose their rich color over time. Red spices get brown with age.
- Give them a sniff. Fresh spices have a strong aroma. Put a pinch in your palm and rub it gently. If its smell is dull, it’s time to replace it.