Lemongrass

Lemongrass derives its name from its characteristic scent and appearance. It is widely used in Southeast Asian (including Thai, Malaysian, Singaporean, Vietnamese, Cambodian, Indonesian as well as Sri Lankan) cooking - soups, curries, sauces, and desserts. Scientific Name(s) Cymbopogon citrates Southeast Asian, West Indian Cym-bopogon flexuosus Sri Lankan, Thai, Burmese Myanmar. Family Poaceae (grass family). Origin and Varieties lemongrass is indigenous to Southeast Asia and South Asia. It is...

Typical Sensory Characteristics of Spices

Characteristic Spices and Other Flavorings Sweet Green cardamom, anise, star anise, fennel, allspice, cinnamon Sour Sumac, caper, tamarind, sorrel, kokum, pomegranate Bitter Fenugreek, mace, clove, thyme, bay leaf, oregano, celery, epazote, ajowan Spicy Clove, cumin, coriander, canela, ginger, bay leaf Hot Chile peppers, mustard, fagara, black pepper, white pepper, wasabi Pungent Mustard, horseradish, wasabi, ginger, epazote, garlic, onion, galangal Fruity Fennel, coriander root, savory,...

Spice Preparation

Spices need to be ground, sliced, roasted, toasted, fried, or boiled to release their characteristic flavors. Just as we roast garlic, saute onions, or mustard, we also need to apply appropriate cooking techniques to other spices to derive their optimal flavor sensations. Volatile oils are released from spices through grinding, cutting, and heating. Spices also release unique flavors when they are cooked. Several different flavor characteristics can be derived from the same spice by using...

Onion

Onion is an ancient spice, native to Asia, and it is long noted for its flavoring and pickling properties. From the Latin word cepmeaning onion, Greeks valued it for its curative powers, while Egyptians ate it raw. Today, onion is an indispensable ingredient for flavoring many ethnic cuisines, whether sauteed, roasted, or pickled. Indians savor it not only for its flavor but also for the texture and consistency it provides to curries. There are many types of onions that vary in color, size, and...

Coriander Seed Leaf Cilantro

Since ancient times, coriander has been enjoyed by many cultures for its culinary and medicinal values. Coriander is mentioned in Sanskrit literature as far back as 5000 BC and in Greek Eber Papyrus as early as 1550 BC. About 400 BC, Hippocrates, the Greek physician, recommended coriander for its medicinal value. Coriander was found in Egyptian tombs dating from 1090 BC. As early as fourth century BC, the Chinese ate it to attain immortality. The Arabs used it as an aphrodisiac, while the...

Spice Forms And Composition

Spices are available in many forms fresh, dried, or frozen whole, ground, crushed, pureed, as pastes, extracts, or infusions. Each form has its respective qualities and drawbacks. The form chosen by the food product designer will depend on the specific application, processing parameters, and shelf life. Consumers and chefs frequently use fresh spices to give a fresh taste to foods. This fresh taste of ginger, cilantro, sweet basil, or chile peppers is due to the overall flavor, aroma, and...

Galangalgalangalegalingale

Galangal is an aromatic, peppery, gingerlike spice. First used in Chinese and Southeast Asian cuisines, galangal has traveled around the world and is found in Egyptian, Indian, and a few European applications. There are three types of galangal the greater galangal, the lesser galangal, and the kaempferia galangal. Greater galangal, called liang xiang in Mandarin (which means mild ginger) or lengkuas in Malay, commonly used in many dishes of Southeast Asia, is more popular globally than the...

Peppers Black White Green Pink Longpippali Cubeb Negro Tasmanian

Black pepper has long been known as the King of Spices. The word pepper comes from the Sanskrit word pippali, which is Indian long pepper, a relative of black pepper. Native to the Malabar Coast of southwest India, black pepper was introduced to Egypt and Europe through Arab traders. Black pepper was a precious commodity in ancient times. Measured like gold, it played a vital role as a medium of exchange, whether to pay taxes, rents, dowries, or ransoms. In ancient times, the Romans lavishly...

Nutmeg

Nutmeg has its origins in the Spice Islands of Indonesia. Arab traders brought nutmeg to India (thus called Indian nut by many European languages), then to Europe, and eventually it was taken to the Caribbean by the Spanish. It was widely popular in Europe and in India for its flavoring and medicinal properties. During the Middle Ages, fashionable Europeans carried their own nutmegs and graters to eating establishments as a status symbol. Nutmeg's name is derived from the Latin word nux...

Maintaining Spice Quality

When spices are exported into the United States, they must meet ASTA specifications. The general quality tests set by ASTA include cleanliness (foreign and extraneous matter), ash level (impurities), volatile oil (adulteration), moisture content (pricing, stability), water activity (microbial growth), pesticide levels, mycotoxin aflatoxin levels, and particle size. Other tests include piperine levels for black and white peppers ASTA color values capsaicin level Scoville units for chile peppers...

Doshas and Respective Personalities

Vata Quick thinking, creative, flexible, nervous Pitta Determined, strong willed, fiery, passionate Kapha Good endurance and stamina, heavy, stable, relaxed, tolerant taste. For example, fenugreek seed provides a bitter taste as well as astringency, and fennel seed has sweet and cooling tastes. Thus, there is more than one taste contributed by a spice (see Table 10). With regard to rasas, other spices can be explored to provide more variety. Understanding these rasas is essential to...

Examples of Characterizing Essential Oil Components in some Popular spices

Spice Components in Essential Oils Allspice seed Eugenol 1,8-cineol humulene, a-phellandrene Basil, sweet Linalool 1,8-cineol methyl chavicol, eugenol Cardamom 1,8-cineole linalool limonene a-terpineol acetate Dill leaf Carvone, limonene, dihydrocarvone, a-phellandrene Epazote Ascaridol, limonene, para-cymene, myrcene, a-pinene Fennel Anethole, fenchone, limonene, a-phellandrene Ginger Zingiberene, curcumene, farnescene, linalool, borneol Juniper a-pinene, P-pinene, thujene, sabinene, borneol...

Spice Regulations

The U.S. government plays a prominent role in the import and supply of spices. They regulate spice sanitation, pesticides, and sterilizers used, labeling, tariffs, and now, bioterrorism. FDA and ASTA set guidelines and quality specifications for importing and trading of spices. ASTA specifications are used throughout the world today to provide cleaner and better quality raw spices from the producing countries. ASTA specifications place limits on extraneous matter (insects, insect excrement,...

Lavender

Used in ancient times by the Phoenicians, Egyptians, and Arabs as a perfume and for mummification, and later, by Romans and Greeks to scent bath water. Lavender got its name from the Latin word 'lavare,' meaning 'to wash.' As part of wedding bouquets, it sends a message of good luck to the bride and groom. It is a favorite with the French who not only use its oil for perfumery and cures but for culinary purposes as well. A member of the mint family, its dried flowers make up the potpourri used...

Mints Spearmint And Peppermint

Peppermint was discovered in the seventeenth century in England as a wild plant and was mainly used as a medicinal infusion. From here it spread to Europe, North Africa, and to the United States. The familiar after dinner mints originated in England to soothe the stomach after a meal. Nowadays, mint is widely used in confectionery, liqueurs, teas, and chewing gums. Spearmint was the symbol of hospitality in traditional Europe, where it was crushed and used in baths and other leisure places. It...

Fenugreek Seed And Leaf

Called in Sanskrit methika, fenugreek was cultivated in Egypt as early as 1000 BC. It was prized throughout the Middle East and in India as a flavoring, medicine, and fumigant, while in Europe mainly for medicinal use. The Egyptians and Indians soaked the seeds in water until they swelled and then used them to reduce fevers and aid digestion. By AD 1050, fenugreek had spread as far as China. The name fenugreek is derived from the Latin word foenum graecum, which translates to Greek hay (strong...

Spices as Antioxidants

Carnosol, carnosoic acid, rosmanol Rosmanol, epirosmanol Curcumin, 4-hydroxycinnmoyl methane Eugenol Phenolic glucoside, caffeic acid, rosmarinic acid, protocatechuic acid Myristphenone Sesaminol, 8-tocopherol, sesamol Shogoal, gingerol effective against oxidative rancidity of fats and color deterioration of the carotenoid pigments. Spices can prevent rancidity and extend shelf life by slowing the oxidation of fats and enzymes. Fats are broken down into peroxides free radicals with exposure to...

Spice Definition And Labeling

To establish appropriate standards of quality and authenticity for spices, we need to properly define spices. Standard definitions for spices will allow spice suppliers to write specifications on a global basis. The International Standards Organization ISO defines spices as vegetable products used for flavoring, seasoning, and imparting aroma in foods. The Food and Drug Administration FDA defines spices as any aromatic vegetable substance in whole, broken, or ground form, except for those...