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Spices: raw or not?

Alot of recipes call for spices…for obvious reasons. My question is are all spices raw? or do i have to look for raw spices…or really should i just not be that specific and just buy whatever?


  • i grow alot of herbs during the summer and either freeze or dry them b/c different herbs taste different preserved in different ways. I mostly use these for flavor. I definitly consider these raw.

  • This is a controversial issue, or at least has been on this site in the past. I personally am not THAT picky when it comes to spices. I grow my own herbs in my garden, but the spices and herbs I can’t grow, I get from the store. I try to buy organic, but that is about as much thought as I put into it.

  • I only use what I can use fresh

    so chilli’s , basil, mint, ginger

    Bit of a cloudy area.. have wondered about it, but figure fresh is safest for now since the things I like I can easily get fresh

  • Last night, I grated a little dried chipotle into my guacamole. I wondered if that was raw or not—the amount was so small, I doubt it matters. I like dried herbs, its has such a different flavor than fresh, though I grow basil, sage and rosemary now.

    When I buy them, I get organic (non irradiated). I think non irradiated is the more important thing.

  • Chipotle probably isn’t raw, seeing as it’s smoked jalapenos. But know you are not alone. ;)

  • joescjoesc Raw Master

    Many spices are not considered raw because it it heated at high temperatures to be crushed into a dry powder. I still use spices either way, I feel like it is such a small amount in my diet and I will only go so far.

  • I have a burning question that relates to this. Just curious about everyones opinion. How is using nutritional yeast as a seasoning any different than using paprika from a raw standpoint?

  • joescjoesc Raw Master

    The taste is different. Paprika taste nothing like nutrional yeast. Now as far as raw is concerned. Some paprika are not raw, all nutritional yeast are not raw because the benefit and why it is nutritional is because it is dead and unlike active yeast does not spread in your body.

  • I guess if you are looking at it from the standpoint of just sprinkling a little into your food, like you would any other spice, then it is no different. I choose not to eat nutritional yeast because it provokes an MSG reaction in me, and I try and stay away from anything with MSG. Nutritional yeast is often considered a form of MSG.

  • Thanks spirtedmama! No wonder I have such a bad reaction to nutritional yeast. It almost have a “gluten” effect in my body and I had a horrible migraine on top of that. You learn something new everyday.

  • joescjoesc Raw Master

    I tried the nutritional yeast for some kind of cheese but since I don’t eat nuts or haven’t lately unless it is almonds I have some wasting space. I only used it once too.

  • This is an interesting subject to me, because for months my diet has been extremely simple (out of necessity, because I’ve been travelling a lot). Over the past 2 weeks since I’ve been home, I’ve been making a lot more complicated stuff and using my vast array of spices, especially curry powders and other pre-prepared bumbus (spice mixtures) from ethnic markets.

    Normally my complexion is pretty good and I have no headaches whatsoever. Recently I’ve been getting mild headaches (!) and seeing a bit of redness around my nose and even a pimple or two on my chin.

    Being that the only changes in my diet have been a higher amount of flax seeds from dehydrated foods, and way more dried spices… I’m apt to blame the spices.

    Guess I better get back into using a mortar and pestle. Hopefully using fresh spices will clear up my symptoms. I’d hate to think I had to give up spicy food for good!

  • tierneyrtierneyr Raw Newbie
    edited November 16

    I would say pepper is the berry of a plant called Piper nigrum. Most pepper is raw. Black peppercorns are simply the green fruits of the Piper nigrum that have been sun dried. White peppercorns are the same berries, but they have been left on the plant to ripen until they are red in color. They are then soaked and peeled, which reveals their white corns.

    Commonly used spices that are not raw in their dried form as a result of their required processing techniques include paprika, saffron, sassafras, turmeric, and vanilla.

  • TammiTrueTammiTrue Raw Superstar

    Fresh ginger is a good one. I also grow mint and parsley. I'm hoping to expand my herb garden next year. 

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