How to Cook with Spices
Spices are aromatic or pungent seed, bark, root, fruit, and other plant materials primarily used for flavoring and coloring food. They are available in fresh or dried forms, typically sold in stores and marketplaces. Dried powdered spices are more commonly distributed and sold due to their long shelf life. Spices like ginger tend to have a sharper smell and sweeter flavor when added to food during cooking because it is still fresh. Ground or powdered ginger holds its flavor, but it is not as intense as its fresh counterpart.
Humans have been using spices for millenniums for a variety of purposes. Ancient Egyptians used spices like cumin, myrrh, and anise, as part of the mummification process for their pharaohs, nobles, and some familiar people. Also, spices like cumin, thyme, myrrh, and cayenne were mentioned in the Bible. Passages from the old and new Testaments revealed that people knew about using different spices thousands of years ago.
Classification of Spices
Spices are made from different parts of plants and are classified by the plant material they are obtained from. Here are some examples of spices and the part of a plant you get them from 부산역 맛집
● Barks – Cinnamon
● Fruits – Peppers
● Seeds – Nutmegs and mustard
● Stigmas – Saffron
● Roots – Ginger and Turmeric
● Leaves – Bay leaf
Uses of Some Common Spices
Primarily used as an ingredient for food, cinnamon is one of the most widely used spices because of its unique taste and the added nutritional benefits that it possesses. Cinnamon spice is got from stripping and processing the bark of the cinnamon tree, which is commonly found in Asia. Indian and Chinese traditional medicine has depended on the health benefits of this spice for years, even before the discovery of the nutrients present in cinnamon. It is an excellent potassium, magnesium, calcium, and phosphorus source. It is used as a baking ingredient. Furthermore, cinnamon has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
● Mustard Seed
Mustard seeds are tiny round seeds that are obtained from a variety of mustard plants. Although there are about 40 spices of mustard plants, popular commercially used mustard seeds include black, brown, and white mustard. In North America, mustard seeds are the primary ingredient in the manufacture of mustard condiments. Ground mustard seeds are mixed with vinegar, spices, and flavored liquids and spices to make these popular condiments.
Cumin spice is obtained from the tiny, elongated seeds of a plant known as Cuminum cyminum. It is a member of the parsley family, Apiaceae. The seeds of Cuminum cyminum are dried and sold as whole seeds or in ground form. Whole seeds of cumin required heat to infuse their flavor into food. A common way, popular in Indian cuisine, is to add cumin into hot oil as part of the first ingredients. The flavor is absorbed into the oil and then the food. Unlike whole seeds, powdered cumin has already been roasted before it is grounded into power. This makes it unnecessary to preheat it before adding the spice to your meal.
● Bay Leaf
Bay leaf is a spice with extensive uses in cooking, such as marinating, stuffing, and flavoring. Whole dried bay leaves and sometimes powdered bay leaves are packaged and sold in supermarkets. This spice is acquired from the leaves of a sweet bay tree, which grows in northern Africa and southern European countries, especially countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea. It has an aromatic smell with a slightly bitter taste. Whole dried bay leaves are added directly to food while cooking. The heat allows bay leaves aroma to be absorbed into the food. You should remove the leaves after cooking and dispose of them appropriately.
● Cayenne Pepper
Cayenne Pepper is a type of pepper easily recognized by its characteristic elongated and slim shape. It is a fruit of the annual capsicum plant, a type of chili pepper. It has a moderately hot and spicy flavor, making your meal more exciting. Cayenne pepper is an ingredient mainly used to add hot flavor to food. This spice is sold in either its new or powdered form. It is a welcome ingredient in cooking meat, curries, seafood, and stews. It is also used to produce a hot sauce, a popular condiment that can be eaten with different kinds of food and added to taste.
As the name implies, spice mixtures are a blend of different spices that follow a particular recipe. It is easier to buy spice blends from stores as a consumer to save time while cooking. It also helps to minimize the chances of messing up a meal through excessive seasoning.
● Curry Powder
Curry powder is a mixture of different spices used to add depth to your soup, stew, and fried food. Typical spices that are ground together to make this widely used powder are cumin, turmeric, ginger, and black pepper. Curry powders that different brands make do not consist of the same ingredients. Anyone can make a curry powder if you have dried powdered spices available.
Curry powder is not to be confused with the Indian dish, Curry. Curry (food) refers to a seasoned sauce taken with a meal. This dish originated from the Indian subcontinent, and it was named by Northern Europeans to classify a variety of India’s seasoned sauces.
● Chili Powder
It is made from a mixture of different types of chili pepper fruits and some additional spices. A variety of peppers are dried, grounded into a fine powder, and thoroughly mixed. Other spices might be added to it depending on the manufacturer’s preference. Examples of chili peppers in chili powders are cayenne, chipotle, ancho, jalapeño, and New Mexico peppers. Chili powders are added to food to give them a pungent, hot, and spicy flavor.
Other Applications of Spices
Not only do these condiments add flavor to food, but they also find applications in manufacturing different products. Spices are also used in traditional medicine and manufacture perfumes and incense. Cardamom, juniper berries, coriander, pink pepper, and ginger are spices used in producing perfumes. Sage, Myrrh, and Lavender are commonly used as incense due to their sweet smell when burnt.