Discoveries at the Jungle: Grace Caribbean Seasonings from Jamaica and Shan Seasonings from Pakistan

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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!

Grace Caribbean Seasonings – Jamaica

​Grace Seasonings was founded in 1922 and offers traditional Jamaican seasonings. They’re typically on the hot side, as jerk and curry seasonings are made with a lot of pepper. If you’ve never had a jerked dish before you are missing out. 

Where you can find these: Fairfield: Orange 9 // Eastgate: Green 6

​Did you know? Jamaican jerk sauce was derived from African ancestry; it is something that was adapted and modified over hundreds of years as various cultures added their influence.

Shan Seasonings – Pakistan
​Founded in 1981, Shan has grown into the leading spice company in Pakistan, offering a complete range of spices, seasoning, and mixes. Their products are exported to over 50 countries around the world! Shan has a spice mix for just about any dish you’re making.

Where you can find these: Fairfield: Orange 17 // Eastgate: Pink 3

​Did you know? In ancient Rome, one of the most common cooking ingredients was called “laser,” from the silphium plant. It does not exist today. It was so delicious that it was harvested to extinction from its natural habitat in what is now Libya. We think that it probably tasted something like garlic.

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