Chili powder

Chili powder is a wonderfully useful spice year-round. While chili powder may be best known as the essential ingredient to any renowned chili, the spice also compliments crisp summer salads. Chili powder is pretty darn diverse, too:

  • It works well in sweet and savory dishes.
  • Packs a healthy punch.
  • Serves as an awesome pest repellent in your organic garden.

The Benefits (Health and Otherwise)

The health benefits of chili powder are vast. It’s packed with vitamins A and C. Chili powder’s subtle spice can speed metabolism, ease indigestion, relieve achy joints and fight inflammation. Also, a little known factoid, capsaicin, which is the component in the powder that gives it its kick, can increase blood flow to your feet. Health.com has a nifty DIY foot scrub.

Chili powder also keeps garden pests at bay. Sprinkle chili powder at the edge of your garden and at the base of garden plants. Another option: Add the chili powder to two cups of water in a spray bottle, and spray plants with the solution.

Chili Powder Recipes

A savory summer selection:

OA writer Jessica Reeder highlighted this Spicy Spinach Curry Lettuce Wrap. One of the staple ingredients? Chili powder. The dish is light and perfect for a summer lunch!

And a sweet one:

Yes, brownies don’t necessarily count as a summer staple, but darn if they don’t taste awesome with a glass of fresh lemonade. Here’s Tales of the T’s Spicy Chipotle Brownies recipe:

Ingredients

2 sticks organic, grass-fed, unsalted butter
4 cage-free eggs
2 teaspoons organic vanilla extract
2 cups organic sugar
2/3 cup organic, Fair Trade cocoa powder
1 cup unbleached, organic flour
2 teaspoons organic cinnamon
1 teaspoon organic chipotle chili powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Method

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a 13×9 pan with parchment paper. Grease parchment paper with butter.

In a medium saucepan, heat butter over medium-low heat. Once melted, remove saucepan from heat.

Add eggs, vanilla and sugar to saucepan and stir until combined.

Add remaining ingredients and stir until combined. Spread mixture into pan, even out on parchment paper.

Bake for 20-25 minutes. The brownies will be fudge-y and moist when a toothpick is inserted.

Resources:

http://www.lhj.com/recipes/healthy/eating/5-spices-with-health-benefits/

http://www.livestrong.com/article/434794-chili-powder-health-benefits/

http://greenliving.nationalgeographic.com/organic-pest-control-gardening-red-pepper-3140.html

Image: timsackton (on vacation)