Old Bay history
Old Bay seasoning is a staple in many American households and has been for quite a long time. It is named after the Old Bay liner, an American steamship line that ran from 1840 until 1962. The route this freighter took was from Baltimore, Maryland, to Chesapeake to Norfork Virginia. The blend of spices in this unique brand has only four main ingredients. They are black pepper, paprika, celery salt, and crushed red pepper flakes. Old Bay is popular in Maryland, parts of New England, the Southern States, the Gulf Coast, and the Mid-Atlantic States.
This product was created by Gustov Brunn who was born in Germany and worked as a European spice merchant. Brunn who was Jewish, was sent to Buchenwald concentration camp but fate intervened. He was released after only two weeks and in 1938, he and his wife fled to Baltimore. This is where he began grinding his spices to be used with cooking crabs. The Baltimore Spice company held the rights to Old Bay until 1990 when they were sold to the McCormick company. When I was a child, Old Bay was sold in bright yellow metal cans. In 2017 McCormick switched to plastic containers and they also sell this seasoning in plastic bottles. The McCormick company also offers less sodium in this product.
Old Bay Seasoning was originally called Delicious Brand Shrimp and Crab Seasoning.”That was a very long name so Gustav Brunn rethought it. This is when he decided to dub his spices after the ship liner which went between Baltimore and New York. Even though this seasoning was popular for using with crabs, not many people knew where it originated. Brunn is also said to have brought his original spice grinder from Germany and used it to make his product. If you have ever eaten the UTZ company's Crab chips, you may not have known that the unique flavor comes from Old Bay seasoning.
Old Bay seasoning is mainly used to season shrimp and crab. It is also utilized in oyster stew and clam chowder. This seasoning is also delicious as a topping on eggs, salads, potato chips, corn on the cob, popcorn, potato salad, tater tots, dips, french fries, baked potatoes, and guacamole. There are movie theaters in the Chesapeake Bay area that actually offer Old Bay with their other condiments. Early in its history, the Subway company used Old Bay in its seafood and crab salad. There are still local Subway shops that offer Old Bay for use on their sandwiches. There are bars in the Baltimore area that sell what is known as 'Crabby Bo', which is National Bohemian beer and Old Bay is used to make the drink.
The rim of the mug or glass that is being used is moistened and then dipped into a container of this popular seasoning. Herr's Snacks has a brand of potato chips made with Old Bay that is called Old Bay chips. In 2018, Lay's included the spice in their "Chesapeake Bay Crab Spice" flavored chips. In the Chesapeake region, and even in Palm Beach Florida, Old Bay is sometimes used to make Bloody Mary,. In 2014, the Maryland-based brewery Flying Dog celebrated Old Bay's 75th anniversary by creating a summer ale that was named Dead Rise.
Old Bay health benefits
Each of the ingredients in Old Bay seasoning is loaded with antioxidants and has it's own individual health benefits, When they are all together in this product the healthy qualities are enhanced. The capsaicin found in the red pepper flakes prevents platelets from clumping together which reduces the formation of blood clots. This may decrease the risk of heart attack and stroke. Black pepper has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties and is beneficial for cognitive function. It also has some ability to lower cholesterol as well as blood sugar. Paprika has been proven to support healthy digestion, prevent hair loss, maintain hair color, heal wounds, and treat some skin issues.
This spice also has anti-inflammatory properties and may decrease the risk of a heart attack. Celery salt is made from celery seeds and had been shown beneficial in lowering cholesterol, reducing the risk of cancer, and lowering blood pressure. Put these four ingredients together in Old Bay seasoning and together they can help improve your health. This makes it win-win. Do be careful and use in moderation because too much of any spice may irritate the stomach and cause digestive problems.