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Watkins Gourmet Herbs and Spices

J.R. Watkins was a pioneer in spices and seasoning in the late 1800's. In the hopes of increasing sales of his Natural Liniments and Tonics, he assembled a display of herbs and spices used in his products to show his customers the quality of the ingredients used in this line. It was the customers who began asking to purchase the herbs and spices themselves... and so began the creation of our most popular line of natural 'Gourmet-Everyday' food products!

QuestionDo you ever look at someone's "full-to-the-brim" spice rack and think "what do they do with all those?" ... or ever feel that your family's meals are in a "slump"? ... or wish you could be creative without a major risk of having to listen to the "what's that?!" that may await you?

SmileHopefully we can help you with ALL of those dilemmas! Just browse down to get some great ideas that could turn your "hmmmm's" into "mmm-mmm's"!


Consumption of spices and seasonings in North America is at an all-time high. In fact, spice consumption in North America has increased by 50% in the past decade alone! We are not only using spices more frequently and in greater volume, but in a much wider variety; approximately 29 spices are used in the average North American home.

Watkins was a pioneer in spices and seasoning in the late 1800's, and by the turn of the century had acquired a national reputation for quality. Today, our spice line has grown and diversified to accommodate a growing appetite for spices, while retaining the same high quality.


Why Watkins
for Your
Spice Panty?

Quality Raw Materials
We buy the pick of the world's herb and spice crop - each selected from the best growing region.

Skillful Preparation
All spices contain volatile flavouring oils. If care is not exercised during grinding or granulation, it is possible for enough heat to be generated to evaporate these oils and result in an inferior product.

Strict Quality Control
We select our spices for taste, colour, and appearance; then more thorough tests are made to further determine the quality. One of these tests involves oil content. This oil, known as the "essential oil", is a good measure of flavour and quality.

Watkins Purest Ground Cinnamon, for example, has a minimum of 2% essential oil; many others on the market have 1 - 2%, and inferior brands have as low as 0.5%. Further quality control checks are made to insure that none of the raw material quality has been lost. After the spices are processed, they are packaged in airtight, light-blocking tins to preserve quality (many of the spices' essential oils are not compatible with plastic).

Air-Tight, Light-Blocking Tin with Shaker Top
After processing, our herbs and spices are immediately packed in our custom air-tight and light-blocking tins to preserve quality. (Many herbs and spices are not compatible with plastic.)

Certified Kosher

Allspice - (Jamaica) Ground from the dried berries of an evergreen tree growing in Jamaica, Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras. It takes its name from its flavour, which is said to be a combination of cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon and pepper. Excellent in baking or in Caribbean or Middle Eastern meat dishes; also great in puddings, baked fruits, cakes, cranberries, barbecue and brown sauces, cooked vegetables, cookies, pickles and relishes.
Basil - (California) - Basil's light licorice/ clove/ mint-like taste is important in most areas of the Mediterranean, but it is also highly prized in Thailand, where a similar variety is called "holy basil". Blends well with all other herbs. Use in all Italian and tomato dishes, scrambled eggs, soufflés, omelets, Welsh rarebits, roast beef, pork or veal, meat pies, casseroles and stews, herb stuffing, vegetable juices, seafood cocktails, tomato, orange, or butter sauces, French and Russian dressings.
Bay Leaves - (Turkey, Greece) - The leaves of the bay laurel tree. The main sources are California and Turkey. Watkins uses Turkish bay leaves (also grown in surrounding countries), generally considered to be more flavorful than the larger California variety. Essential for soups, stews, poaching liquids, casserole and sauces.
Cayenne (Red) Pepper - (China, India, Mexico, Pakistan) - Unlike black or white pepper, Cayenne (or Red) Pepper comes from chili peppers, or capsicums. Prepared from one of the hottest chili pods, it is always a ground product. Its ancestral home was Cayenne, in South America, but the hottest cayenne peppers are now grown in Africa and Asia. Use in Italian and Mexican dishes, curries, deviled eggs, seafood, cottage and cream cheeses, cooked green vegetables, Welsh rarebit, cheese soufflés, many meats and sauces. In Cajun cooking, it is frequently blended with black and white pepper to make and "all-purpose pepper".
Celery Seed - (France, India, United States) - The dried seed of a member of the parsley family called smallage or wile celery; produces a more pronounced flavour than fresh celery. Use in stews, egg dishes, sandwich spreads, cooked vegetables, grilled tomatoes, oyster and fish stews, hot and cold cream soups, sauces, gravies, salad dressings, marinades, stuffing, tomato juice, potato salad.
Chili Powder - (blend) - Although many associate this product with Mexican cooking, chili powder originated in Texas for use in chili con carne. A salt-free, balanced blend of ground mild chili peppers, cumin, garlic and oregano. Use in chili, Mexican dishes, eggs, omelets, sauces, soups, cottage cheese, rice, meat, fish, cocktail sauce, gravies, stews, vegetables.
Cilantro - (Mexico, California) - The leaves of the coriander plant, cilantro is also known as "Mexican parsley" or "Chinese parsley". Its flavour is totally different from the seeds, which are used as a spice, mostly in curry powders. Cilantro is a popular flavouring herb and garnish essential to salsas, Latin, Indian, Middle Eastern and Asian dishes; great in vegetable dishes, with meats and fish, and most tomato dishes.
Cinnamon - (Indonesia) - Cinnamomum cassia, grown primarily in China and southeast Asia, has a characteristically intense aroma and much more flavour than Ceylon cinnamon, which is why it is greatly preferred here. The best cassia available today in Korintje, from the Indonesian island of Sumatra. Use in all types of baked goods, such as pies, cakes, rolls and cookies. Excellent with fruit desserts, especially apples and peaches. Use sparingly in meat, poultry and game dishes, lamb or beef stew, Mexican dishes and mashed sweet potatoes. Also excellent in many savory foods, such as tomato sauce, beef stew, chili and Mexican dishes, and curries.
Cloves - (Madagascar, Zanzibar, Indonesia) - The name for this spice comes from the Latin clavus, meaning "nail", which is what the whole spice resembles. One of the world's most aromatic and important spices, cloves originated in the Moluccas, or Spice Islands, and now grow in many tropical maritime locations. Use in baked goods, confections, liqueurs, pickles, chili sauce, ketchup, meats, vegetables, mincemeat, beverages, sauces, marinades, pork roast, green or yellow vegetables, jams, jellies, fruit cakes, pumpkin or fruit pies, marmalades, chutney, and puddings.
Cumin - (Mexico, Turkey, India) - Known in Mexico as comino, cumin in indispensable to Mexican and Southwestern cooking, and is widely used in Indian, Middle Eastern and North African cuisines. It is a primary ingredient of chili powder and curry powder. Excellent in cheese dishes, with rice and corn dishes such as curries or tamales; use in soups, stews, salad dressings, barbecue sauces, ground meat dishes; also good with sauerkraut, lentils, potatoes, cabbage, and dried beans of all kinds.
Curry Powder - (blend) - A ground blend of as many as 20 spices, Curry Powder is one of the world's oldest spice blends. It originated in England and was designed to give the characteristic flavour of Indian curry cookery, which became popular during the British colonization of India. It has grown to be used as a single spice in Western kitchens, and is very popular in the Caribbean as well. Use generously in Indian and Caribbean curries, and sparingly in Western dishes such as eggs, deviled eggs, fish, shrimp, parsley, meats, vegetables, rice, French dressing, white sauce, fish chowders, soups, salted nuts, and sweet pickles.
Dill - (United States) - The bright green leaf of an annual plant related to anise, fennel, cumin and caraway. Like fennel, dill has a great reputation as a digestive herb, and is most popular in the cuisines of Scandinavia, Germany, and Central and Eastern Europe. Excellent with fish and seafood, in salads, dressings and sandwich fillings; marries well with mustard and lemon.
Garlic - Powder/Dried/Essential Oil - (California) - Garlic has long been credited with numerous medicinal qualities, such as boosting the immune system. Its reputation for providing strength was the reason it was fed to the Egyptian slaves who built the pyramids. In the kitchen, it is used in nearly every world cuisine for enhancing most savory dishes, including meat, fowl and seafood, salad dressings, soups, sauces and appetizers.
Ginger - (China, India, Jamaica) - The root of a tuberous perennial which flourishes in the tropics. One of the first true Oriental spices to make its way westward from its native southern Asia. Used primarily for baking in the West and for savory dishes in the East. Gingerbread, cookies, cakes, pumpkin pie, orange/yellow vegetables, baked, stewed and preserved fruits, applesauce, custard, meats, pickles and conserves, baked beans, Asian stir-fries. Many people put powdered ginger in capsules as a natural remedy for motion sickness.
Green Onion - (United States) - Made from crushed green tops of scallions; used in place of chives to impart a more delicate taste than onion flakes.  Use with steaks, chops, roasts, soups, salads, stuffings, stews, casseroles, barbecue sauces, tomato sauces, eggs, marmalades, salad dressings, garnishes.
Marjoram - (France, Spain, Egypt, Chile) - This member of the mint family is closely related to oregano; in fact, oregano is a wild version of marjoram. The gentler, sweeter marjoram is preferred in the cuisines of France and parts of Italy, as well as in traditional American dishes like corn chowder. Excellent with chicken and turkey, stuffing, vegetables, beans and bean soup, corn chowder, and most tomato dishes. Use in place of oregano for a milder taste, or combine with it for balance on pizza or in sauces. Also blends well with basil, thyme, and most Mediterranean herbs.
Mustard (Dry) - (Canada, United States) - The ground seed of a plant grown extensively in Canada and the northern U.S. Pale yellow, with a flavour ranging from mildly sharp to pungently hot. Use in white sauces for macaroni, corn, seafood, potato or egg dishes, salad dressings, butter sauces, omelets, soufflés, meats, gravies, cheese sauces, creamed and stewed oysters, dips, most protein and starchy foods, hot English mustard, Chinese hot mustard sauce, deviled eggs, and pickles.
Hot English Mustard - Mix Watkins Dry Mustard with enough cold water (or milk for a smoother flavour) to make a paste. Let stand 10-30 minutes before using.
Japanese or Chinese Mustard - As above, but use boiling water, cover and allow to stand.
Nutmeg - (Indonesia, Trinidad) - The hard seed of the peach-like fruit of an evergreen tree native to the Moluccas, or Spice Islands. Watkins selects the seeds from the Penang and Singapore because they are the richest in oils and impart an exotic nut-like flavour. Use in baked goods, eggnogs, custards, cheese, egg, fish and poultry dishes, whipped cream toppings, doughnuts, fruits, spinach and boiled vegetables, cream soups, fruit soups, ice cream, sweet potatoes, hot milk drinks, hot alcoholic drinks, sweet dough, muffins, coffee cakes, cakes and fruit cakes, frostings, applesauce, crepes, stewed fruits, beef, ham, and sausages.
Onion (Powder/Dried) - (United States) - A favourite flavouring vegetable for centuries; used in every cuisine in the world. Onions grown for dehydration have been specially developed for high solids, and low moisture. Use easily-blended powder in almost any savory dish. Use with meats, poultry, seafood, salads, vegetables, soups, sauces, omelets, and egg dishes.
Oregano - (Greece, Italy) - A wild variety of marjoram, although a bit stronger and with a pleasant bitter undertone. Widely used in Greece and Italy, with a stronger, cruder version grown in Mexico. Best known for its use on pizza; also excellent in pasta sauces, pork, veal, fish, vegetables, dressings, gravies, seafood, poultry, grilled tomatoes and all tomato dishes, white sauces, ground beef and pork, Greek, Italian and Mexican dishes, chili, egg dishes, and salads.
Paprika - (Spain) - The word paprika is Hungarian for "pepper". Paprika, like cayenne pepper, is ground from dried red chiles; however, the peppers used for paprika are the mild, sweet pimiento. Watkins uses the legendary pimentón of Spain, brilliant red and sweeter than its Hungarian cousin. Use as a garnish and flavour for creamed foods, such as deviled eggs, mayonnaise dressings, white potatoes, cauliflower, salads, dips, canapés, and chowders. Also used as a main ingredient in Hungarian dishes such as paprikás (paprikash) and gulyás (goulash).
Parsley - (United States) - This delicious, nutritious herb has a refreshing taste that goes extremely well with garlic, onion, lemon, and any herb. Although dried parsley has often been called flavourless, you will find ours to be a pleasant surprise! Add to butter sauces for meats, poultry, fish and vegetables, scrambled eggs, stuffing, soups, chowders, salads, and dressings.
Pizza & Pasta Seasoning - (blend) - A traditional blend of Italian herbs and spices makes superb spaghetti sauce and main dishes. Add to plain tomato sauce to give authentic flavour to most pasta dishes; also great with meats and vegetables. (Basic spaghetti sauce - add 1 tbsp/15 ml of ground Watkins Pizza & Pasta Seasoning to 8 oz/240 ml tomato sauce.)
Red Pepper Flakes - (China, Africa, India, Mexico, Pakistan) - These crushed dried red chiles, mostly from cayenne-related varieties, are the famous table seasoning in pizzerias. Because they include the seeds, they are very hot. Highly versatile and used in most cuisines throughout the world. Use in pickling, chowders, gumbos, pizza and spaghetti sauces, and in making sausage; also excellent for meats, seafood, eggs and egg dishes, soups, cheese dishes, sauces and gravies, vegetables and vegetable juices, curries, creamed dishes, soufflés and croquettes.
Rosemary - (France, Spain, North Africa) - The name "rosemary", derived from Latin, means "dew of the sea" - appropriate because the herb thrives in the dry climate and salty sea spray of the Mediterranean shores. Its pungent minty/evergreen flavour is a favourite in Italy and Provençe, especially in dishes simmered with wine, olive oil and garlic. At its best with roasted or grilled lamb, pork, poultry and game; also excellent with potatoes and vegetables, stews, marinades and breads. Lends a surprising twist to apple jelly and poached pears.
Sage - (Albania, Croatia, Greece, Italy) - This Mediterranean herb got its name because of the ancient belief that it strengthened the memory and imparted wisdom. Dalmatian sage, the world's best variety, comes from the area that is now Albania and Croatia. Excellent in poultry stuffing, especially with onion; its flavour and digestive properties make it perfect for pork, sausages, goose and other rich meats; also enhances risotto, chowders and tomato sauces.
Tarragon - (France, United States) - Originally native to Siberia, Tarragon is best known for its use in French cuisine; the very best tarragon is grown in France. Its bittersweet flavour is reminiscent of anise, and it is most widely used as a flavouring for vinegar. Complements chicken and fish dishes, lobster, beef and lamb, as well as salads and dressings, mustard sauces, and the classic béarnaise sauce.
Thyme - (France, Spain) - One of the great European culinary herbs, and perhaps our most versatile. Closely related to oregano, with a stronger, more balsam-like flavour that has made it a favourite far beyond its Mediterranean origins - from the British Isles to North America to the Caribbean. Excellent with meat, fish and poultry, tomato dishes, stuffing, stews and sauces, vegetable juice, clam juice, seafood cocktails, cream and cottage cheese spreads, clam and fish chowders, marinades, gravies, vegetables.

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Copyright 2000 - 2012 del Rio Enterprises, Fort Erie ON L2A 3R6

The statements made and opinions expressed on this page are those of the Independent Watkins Associate who is the publisher of this document, and are not to be construed as the statements or opinions of Watkins Incorporated.  This Newsletter is provided for informational purposes only.  ALL information provided in this newsletter is provided "AS IS" without warranty of any kind, either express or implied, including but not limited to the implied warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose and freedom from infringement. The user assumes the entire risk as to the accuracy and the use of this document. The opinions set forth by the editor or "guest" editors are their personal experiences and therefore are not intended to represent "typical" or "average" results.