About spices and herbs

Spices and herbs are among the most versatile and widely used ingredients in food processing and cooking. Apart from their traditional role in flavoring and coloring foods, they also been used as natural preservative. Spice are defined as any various aromatic vegetable products used in cooking while herbs can be defined a seed producing annual, biennial or herbaceous perennial that does not develop persistent woody tissue . The term herb is also used to describe a plant that is used for medicinal purposes. A spice, is technically a plant product that has aromatic properties and used to season the food.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Classifications of Spices

Classifications of Spices
In the case of herbs it is possible to classify them into groups having broadly similar sensory attributes based on the prime constituent of the essential oil. Unfortunately, when one is considering the spices such a meaningful grouping is only partially possible as far fewer associations, based on some common organoleptic property, exists; many of the spices are individually distinctive and unlike any other spice. This being so, it is convenient to classify certain of them on a purely botanical basis either by family or by form (e.g., aromatic fruits).

The spices are so classified as follows:

The pungent spices
Capsicum, ginger, black and white pepper, mustard, horseradish

The aromatic fruits
Nutmeg and mace, cardamom, fenugreek

The umbelliferous fruits
Anise, fennel
Celery, lovage, parsley

The aromatic barks containing cinnamic aldehyde
Cinnamon bark, cassia bark

The phenolic spices containing eugenol
Clove bud, allspice, cinnamon leaf, clove stem, clove leaf, West Indian bay

The most important of the spices commercially is, of course, pepper, which is used universally; pepper is followed by cloves, nutmeg and mace, cardamom, cinnamon and cassia, ginger and allspice or pimento. These 9 species together account do some 90% of the total spice trade.
Classifications of Spices

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