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Friday, May 6, 2016

Spices

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Spices are the main flavor source of the world's greatest cookery. Used imaginatively and judiciously, they can transform the most pedestrian dish into a triumph or haute cuisine.

Now to answer to the question; Are there differences between spices and herbs? There is a difference, of course, but in the vernacular of cooking"spice" has comes to mean a substance used in nutritionally insignificant quantities as a food additive for flavor, color, or as a preservative that kills harmful bacteria or prevents their growth, and it is in a form that is either a dried seed, fruit, root, bark, or vegetative substance. Simple enough?

Now do not confuse the word spice with the word hot. Very few spices are hot. In fact, the majority is quite mild and used sparing will add only the most subtle flavor to your dish.

When you spices be really careful not to use to much spice flavoring or even too little. If the recipe calls for a certain amount, start with that measurement. When you start using spices, do not expect flavor miracles in direct proportions to the amount used. Miraculous cooking is the results of delicacy and restraint.

To list some of the botanical basis for definition purposes:

Arils, such as mace.

Barks, such as cassia and cinnamon,

Dried flowers bud, such as cloves.

Stigmas, such as saffron.

Roots and rhizomes, such as turmeric, ginger and galingale.

Resins, such as asafetida.

To confuse things even more, now mix some of the different spices and you get these:

* Old Bay Seasoning (US), Pumpkin pie spice (US),

Mixed spice (UK), Chili powder, Curry powder, five-spice powder (China), Garam Masala (South Asia), Chaat Masala (India and Pakistan), Jerk spice (Jamaica).

The above spices you may have seen or tasted. How about these: Baharat (Arab world, and the Middle East in general), Harissa (North Africa), Za'atar (Middle East), Quatre epics (France), Panch phoron (India and Bangladesh), and Vegeta.

Larry Eiker
Eiker's Burgoo of Food Ideas