Sunday, June 29, 2008

Variability of Odor and Flavor Strength of Spices

Variability of Odor and Flavor Strength of Spices
Spices posses the variation characteristics of all natural products. With few exceptions, spices depend for much of their value upon the essential oil content. It is the quantity present which determines the flavoring power; and its composition determines the flavoring quality of the spices essential oil is a product of the plant’s metabolic processes and is particularly subject to seasonal and climatic changes in the growing area; to the nature of the soil in each region; to the care taken in planting, husbandry and harvesting; and, finally, to the care taken during the preparation of the spice for marketing – which often may be after long periods of storage under adverse conditions in tropical warehouses. At all stages the essential oil content is at risk, giving rise to commercial samples of wide flavoring differences.

Whereas one would expect flavor differences between related plants of different species, perhaps it is not so widely realized that there can be even more significant differences in aromatic profiles between plants of the same species but grown in different regions. This becomes obvious when one compares the flavor profile of ginger grown in Jamaica, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Cochin, China, Australia or New Guinea. All are derived from Zingiber officinale, L; but one certainly cannot transpose one source for another without endangering the flavor profile of end-product.

The needs for the good working knowledge of the source of herbs and spices and the aromatic profiles of the commercial grades available are obvious.
Variability of Odor and Flavor Strength of Spices

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