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Old Bay Seasoning Has Interesting History as Well as Health Benefits

Cheryl enjoys writing about subjects that bring little known facts to the readers.

Old Bay seasoning

Old Bay seasoning

Ingredients and 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.

The Old Bay steam liner

The Old Bay steam liner

Fun facts about Old Bay

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.

Paprika and black pepper make Old Bay seasoning healthy.

Paprika and black pepper make Old Bay seasoning healthy.

Many uses

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 their 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 are 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's,. In 2014, the Maryland-based brewery Flying Dog celebrated Old Bay's 75th anniversary by creating a summer ale that was named Dead Rise.

Crushed red peppers and celery salt give Old Bay it’s flavor.

Crushed red peppers and celery salt give Old Bay it’s flavor.

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, reduce risk of caner and lower 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.

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Old Bay in plastic container

Old Bay in plastic container

The Bottom line

There is no one miracle food or spice, but four spices with antioxidants increase the health benefits of using only one. Old Bay seasoning utilized in foods, along with a healthy lifestyle and diet can increase the chances of your preventing certain health issues. This information is for reading only and for the reader to consider. There is no guarantee that everyone who uses this combination of spices will have the same results.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Cheryl E Preston


Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on June 23, 2020:

I am glad to know these things about Old Bay Seasoning. We use it, so thank you.

LaRoussou on June 22, 2020:

I am from Maryland and my family puts this on everything. Including baby food. We have no sense. I was so happy to find it on the West Coast when I moved. Otherwise I would have had to enroll an Old Bay dealer from the east coast to keep me stocked. :)

Cheryl E Preston (author) from Roanoke on June 22, 2020:

Thank you for reading.

Robert Odell Jr from Memphis, Tennessee on June 22, 2020:

Thank you for this article.

I learned about Old Bay seasoning

from my niece, who is a vegan.

I now have a can of Old Bay in my spice cabinet.

I enjoyed learning about all of its health benefits.

Cheryl E Preston (author) from Roanoke on June 21, 2020:

Thank you for reading

Theblogchick from United States on June 21, 2020:

Your article is quite informative Cheryl. Thanks for the brief history and health benefits of using old bay seasoning.

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