Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Spices, Herbs and Flavor

Spices, Herbs and Flavor
Foods may be evaluated either on the basis of their nutrient content or their appeal to the consumer. Although the nutrient content of a food is an important factor, it is nevertheless true that a food will not be chosen freely and consumed unless it appeals to the consumer. Expressed another way, a food must appear tasty, it must rates right, and it must posses the texture one wants.

In many cases foods can be made more appetizing by the addition of flavoring agents such as spices, herbs, and flavorings. Of further help in this respect is the use of flavor enhancers and salt.

Flavoring agents may be natural or synthetic. In the past most flavoring agents were derived from natural sources. Among the most important were spices, aromatic seeds and herbs. In general, when the natural product was from plants of tropical origin, it was considered a spice; when from plants of temperate climates, it was considered a herb.

This distinction is somewhat tenuous, and it is sometimes difficult to classify a product as a spice or herb. All of these products have one thing in common: they contain an aromatic flavoring component, usually an essential oil that enriches or alters the taste of a food. With few exceptions the particular plant product is used whole or ground after being dried.
Spices, Herbs and Flavor

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