Discoveries at the Jungle: Mama Sita’s Seasoning from the Philippines and AG Ferrari Sea Salts from Italy

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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!

Mama Sita’s Seasoning – Philippines

​Mama Sita’s was founded by Terista Reyes in the 70’s, after her travels abroad showed her that Filipinos living in other countries longed for the flavors of home. These seasonings are unique Filipino spices such as caldereta, singang, and sampalok. These seasonings go great in soups, on meat dishes, vegetables, and more!

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

​Did you know? Despite being synonymous with blandness, vanilla is one of the most complex spices in the world and the second most expensive, next to Saffron.

AG Ferrari Sea Salts – Italy
​AG Ferrari has been importing Italian products into the US since the 1900s. It all started with Annibale Ferrari, who went from small shops in California to selling products across the country and online to the entire world. These aren’t just any old sea salts, though, they’re blended with different spices, offering an adventure in flavor. You can find truffle sea salt, tuscan sea salt, diavola sea salt, and more!

Where you can find these: Fairfield: Yellow 7 // Eastgate: Green 6

​Did you know? Like mineral salt, production of sea salt has been dated to prehistoric times. However, there is little or no health benefit to using sea salt over other forms of sodium chloride salts.

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