3What are spices?A spice is a dried seed, fruit, root, bark, or vegetative substance used in nutritionally insignificant quantities as a food additive for flavour, colour, or as a preservative that kills harm ful bacteria or prevents their growth. In the kitchen, spices are distinguished from herbs, which are leafy, green plant parts used for flavouring. Many spices are also used for other purposes, such as medicine, religious rituals, cosmetics, perfumery, or eating as vegetables. For example , turmeric is also used as a preservative; liquorice as a medicine; garlic as a vegetable. In some cases they are referred to by different terms.
5Grouping Spices Grouping by plant part , spices can be grouped as: Dried fruits or seeds, such as fennel, mustard, and black pepper.Arils, such as mace.Barks, such as cinnamon and cassia.Dried buds, such as cloves.Stigmas, such as saffron.Roots and rhizomes, such as turmeric, ginger and galingale.Resins, such as Asafoetida
6Names of Common Spices and some information about them
7ArrowrootUsed mainly as a thickening agent because arrowroot tubers contain about 23% starch. Arrowroot is used as an article of diet in the form of biscuits, puddings, jellies, cakes, hot sauces etc., and also with beef tea, milk or veal broth, noodles in Korean cuisine, or boiled with a little flavouring added, as an easily digestible food for children and people with dietary restrictions.
8BasilWith an aroma of mint and tea, Basil is available in leaf form. Basil is one of the main ingredients in pesto, a green Italian oil-and-herb sauce from the city of Genoa, its other two main ingredients being olive oil and pine nuts. Chinese also use fresh or dried basils in soups and other foods. In Taiwan, people add fresh basil leaves into thick soups and eat fried chicken with deep-fried basil leaves. Basil is sometimes used with fresh fruit and in fruit jams and sauces, in particular with strawberries, but also raspberries or dark-coloured plums. Arguably the flat-leaf basil used in Vietnamese cooking, which has a slightly different flavour, is more suitable for use with fruit. However, basil is also used commonly as a seasoning for pizza, spaghetti sauce, sausage, soup, tomato juice, dressings, salads, and any other dish where oregano would also be used.
9Black PepperBlack pepper has a sharp, penetrating aroma and a characteristic woody, piney flavor. It is hot and biting to the taste. It is found on nearly every dinner table in major parts of the world, often alongside table salt.Use:Take at first sign of any diseasePain relief from toothacheBrings down a fever.
10Celery & Celery seed Celery seed tastes like celery and is aromatic with a slight bitterness which enhances other flavors. Celery seed is available whole, ground, or mixed with salt. Celery salt is a blend of ground celery seed and fine salt. It is used primarily as a flavoring in salads (especially potato), sauces, pickling, soup, tomato juice, and meat. It is also an integral part of the flavoring of traditionally prepared crabs and other seafood.It is also used to enhance flavor of cocktails such as Bloody Mary. Celery is one of three vegetables considered the holy trinity, along with onions and bell peppers, of Louisiana Creole and Cajun cuisine. It is also one of the three vegetables, together with onions and carrots, that constitute the French mirepoix, which is often used as a base for sauces and soups.
11Cayenne Pepper/ Chilli Powder A seasoning ground from small, red chili peppers. It has been used as a spice in the dishes of many countries and is also used as a table condiment. It’s heat and spiciness varies.It is made from dried chilies, usually blended with garlic, onion, cumin, oregano, chili peppers, allspice, garlic, and salt. Color and spiciness varies. It has an earthy, slightly sweet, and sometimes hot flavor. This spice blend usually dominates food rather than enhancing it. Mexican and other Latin American dishes depend on chili powder for their characteristic flavor.
12White PepperWhite pepper has a similar but more earthy flavor than black pepper. Used in many dishes, sauces, rubs, and marinades.White pepper consists of the seed of the pepper plant only, with the darker coloured skin of the pepper fruit removed. This is usually accomplished by a process known as retting, where fully ripe peppers are soaked in water for about a week, during which the flesh of the pepper softens and decomposes. Rubbing then removes what remains of the fruit, and the naked seed is dried. Alternative processes are used for removing the outer pepper from the seed, including decortication, the removal of the outer layer from black pepper from small peppers through mechanical, chemical or biological methods.White pepper is sometimes used in dishes like light- coloured sauces or mashed potatoes, where ground black pepper would visibly stand out. There is disagreement regarding which is generally spicier. They have differing flavor due to the presence of certain compounds in the outer fruit layer of the berry that are not found in the seed.
13ThymeIt has a pungent and sweetly herbal fragrant. Thyme is often used to flavor meats, soups and stews. It has a particular affinity to and is often used as a primary flavor with lamb, tomatoes and eggs.Thyme, Ground - Use on green beans, eggplant, carrots and zucchini. Add to beef stew, barbecue and pot pies. Use in cheese spreads or sauces.Thyme Leaves - Use with green beans, eggplant, carrots and zucchini, tomato soups, lamb, beef stew. Mix in with barbecue or spaghetti sauce, cheese spreads, sauces, pot pies.
14GarlicIt has a strong, pungent green flavor and is one of the most popular seasonings used today. Garlic can be conveniently purchased as fresh bulbs, dehydrated powder, minced flakes, and blends with salt. It adds flavor to almost any dish. Garlic is especially popular in Italian cuisine and throughout the Mediterranean region and Asia. Sprinkle to taste on hamburgers, lamb, chuck roast, steak, chicken, Italian green beans, zucchini, tomatoes and green salads. Use with sour cream or cream cheese for dips. Sprinkle on stuffed eggs. Use it sparingly to begin with and add small amounts until it suits your taste. Use :Chronic and acute bacterial colds and flusBronchitis, asthma, whooping coughHigh and low blood pressureRemoving parasites and infectionsHypoglycemiaDiabetesDestroys intestinal parasitesReduces cholesterolRepels insectsReduces sting effects of insects and red ants
15GingerThe flavor of ginger is pungent, lemon/citrus, warm, and sweet. Ginger is available ground, whole (gingerroot), and crystallized. Used to add zest to many dishes such as gingersnaps, gingerbread, in Asian dishes and in sweets such as cakes, cookies, puddings, pumpkin pie and sweet breads. Use :Cold / FluSuppressing coughCrampsNauseaStiffnessDetoxify meatBlood ThinnerEase bruises & sprainsStimulate delayed periodBreak up congestion and feverPreparations :Ginger prepared in tea form is useful for cramps, nausea, thinning blood, as a substitute for coumadin, break up congestion and fever.Use externally for stiffnessAdd in cooking to detoxify meat, especially chicken.Boil 2/3 cup of freshly chopped root in 1 gallon water, wrapped in cheesecloth (or old nylon stocking) until the water is yellow. Then soak towel and lay on bruises and sprains while still hot, to ease them.Ginger is one of the few herbs that easily passes the blood/brain membrane and is used in conjunction with other herbs that are meant to have an effect on the mind.
16Juniper BerriesAromatic and spicy with the slight flavor of pine. It is mostly used a spice for meats in marinades, on roasts and in sausage mixes. They also season pork, cabbage, and sauerkraut dishes. Traditional recipes for choucroute garnie, an Alsatian dish of sauerkraut and meats, universally include juniper berries. Juniper also flavors gin, a liquer developed in the 17th century in the Netherlands. It was first intended as a medication; juniper berries are a diuretic and were also thought to be an appetite stimulant and a remedy for rheumatism and arthritis. Western American Native Tribes are also reported to have used the juniper berry as an appetite supressant in times of hunger and/or famine. Currently, the juniper berry is being researched as a possible treatment for diet- controlled diabetes, as it releases insulin from the pancreas (hence alleviating hunger). It is also said to have been used by some tribes as a female contraceptive. The name gin itself is derived from either the French genièvre or the Dutch jenever, which both mean "juniper". Other juniper-flavoured beverages include the Finnish rye-and-juniper beer known as sahti, which is flavoured with both juniper berries and branches.A few North American juniper species produce a seed cone with a sweeter, less resinous flavour than those typically used as a spice. For example, one field guide describes the flesh of the berries of Juniperus californica as "dry, mealy, and fibrous but sweet and without resin cells". Such species have been used not just as a seasoning but as a nutritive food by some Native Americans. In addition to medical and culinary purposes, Native Americans have also used the seeds inside juniper berries as beads for jewellery and decoration.An essential oil extracted from juniper berries is used in aromatherapy and perfumery.The essential oil can be distilled out of berries which have already been used to flavour gin.
17MustardMustard has a clean, fresh aroma and a pungent, biting flavor. Ground mustard enhances meat, fish, poultry, sauces, salad dressings, cheese, and egg dishes. It must be moistened for about ten minutes to develop its sharp, hot, tangy flavor. The whole seed is used in pickling, boiled with beets, cabbage, or sauerkraut, and as a garnish for salads. Use :Sprained backsDeep rattling coughsPreparation :1 Â½cups of dry yellow mustard in a bathtub of water for sprained backs.Make a paste with water and apply to knee and elbow sprains till blisters appear!1 tsp. each mustard and ginger powder mixed with 2 Â½tbs. of olive oil for deep rattling coughs. Rub over chest and back and put on an old T-shirt (or cover with cloth diaper).
18OreganoSimilar in flavor to marjoram, it is not as sweet and is slightly more pungent and bitter. Use oregano in your favorite ethnic dishes as well as in fresh garden salads, egg dishes, quick breads, rubs, and sauces.Traditional Mediterranean herbs such as sage and oregano help battle insulin resistance by 28 to 64 percent. Oregano is high in antioxidant activity, due to a high content of phenolic acids and flavonoids.Additionally, oregano has demonstrated antimicrobial activity against food- borne pathogens such as Listeria monocytogenes. Both of these characteristics may be useful in both health and food preservation. In the Philippines, oregano (Coleus aromaticus) is not commonly used for cooking but is rather considered as a primarily medicinal plant, useful for relieving headaches and coughs.Oregano is also used in South India primarily as a medicinal plant (where it is called as "Karpuravalli"), the leaf is roasted and the essence is had, to get relief from cold, sore throat, phlegm and cough.
19CinnamonCinnamon, ultimately originating from the Malaysian language ‘kayu manis’, has a characteristic woody, musty, earthy, and sweet flavor. It is warming to taste. It is available whole, as cinnamon sticks, and ground. Cinnamon is generally used in spiced vegetable dishes, also in sweet dishes such as baking, pies, compotes, and also with meats, stews, vegetables and curries.It is also used largely used in the preparation of certain desserts, chocolate, spicy candies, tea, hot cocoa and liqueurs. In the Middle East, it is often used in savoury dishes of chicken and lamb. In the United States, cinnamon and sugar are often used to flavour cereals, bread-based dishes, and fruits, especially apples. A cinnamon-sugar mixture is even sold separately for such purposes. Cinnamon can also be used in pickling. Cinnamon bark is one of the few spices which can be consumed directly. Use :DiarrheaDysenteryGeneral IndigestionYeast infectionAthlete’s footReduces cancer causing tendencies of many food additives.ColdPreparation :Cinnamon ground or taken with milk is a good balance after a heavy meal or dessertSimmer sticks with cloves for 3 min, add 2 tsp. lemon juice, 2 tsp. honey, 2 tbs. whiskey as cold medication.Boil 8-10 sticks in 4 cups water, simmer 5 min, steep 45 min, then douche or apply to athlete’s foot.
20ClovesCloves, Ground - Use in applesauce cake and gingerbread. Add to baked beans, cranberry relish, sauerbraten, chili sauce, green vegetables and ham sauce. Use in plum pudding, cookies, spiced nuts, stewed fruits, and dessert sauces.Cloves, Whole - Stick cloves in ham. Add to hot chocolate and tea, onions, glazed pork, beef pot roast, marinades, poached fish and soups. Use in pickling, pomander balls and fruit peels for a garnish. Use:ToothacheNasueaVomitingSore gumsTopical pain relief of arthritisAntiseptic mouthwashAlcohol craving suppressorPreparation :Chew for toothache, nausea or vomiting.Use oil for pain relief for sore gums and toothache.Add clove oil to neutral oils for topical pain relief of arthritis.Small amounts of clove in a tea for nausea.3 cloves in two cups of boiled water, steeped for 20 minutes, as an antiseptic and mouthwash.Former alcoholics can suck on one or two cloves when the craving strikes to curb the desire.
21SpearmintSpearmint is an ingredient in several mixed drinks, such as the mojito and mint julep. Sweet tea, iced and flavoured with spearmint, is a summer tradition in the Southern United States. It is used as a flavouring for toothpaste and confectionery, and is sometimes added to shampoos and soaps. In herbalism, spearmint is steeped as tea for the treatment of stomach ache. Use :Colds, flusMild feverAntispasmodicPrevents vomitingRelieves stomachIntestinal gasDiaphoreticReduces pain
22Rosemary TeaRosemary Leaves - Use in ground beef for spaghetti, barbecue, pizza, lasagna sauces.Use on lamb, pork, and chicken, eggplants, zucchini, stewed tomatoes, green beans, marinades. Use:HeadachesBody achesBreath purifierAid in digestion of fatFree radicals reducerStressMuscular stiffness and painPreparation :Flower tea for the breath.Boil water with rosemary in it to make it safe to drink.Diuretic and liver aid, increases bile flow. Two handfuls of flowering tips into 2 cups of good brandy, soak 10 days, strain and seal. Mouthful twice daily.Oil of rosemary is a natural anti-oxidant, and stress relieverSniff for headaches.Chop a double handful of twigs and put in a pint of olive oil for one week, and use as a muscle liniment.
23CorianderCoriander has a sweet, slightly lemony flavor. Cilantro, mentioned above, are coriander leaves. Coriander is available as whole seed or ground, is a principal ingredient in curry powder. Middle Eastern, Indian, Russian, North African, and Mexican recipes include coriander for its distinctive flavor. Coriander seed is a pleasant addition to potato salad, rice’s, bean, vegetable dishes, hot dogs, apple pie, poached fish, or bean, pea, and lentil soup.
24ParsleyParsley has a slightly mild green taste. Parsley is available fresh or as dried flakes. It adds both flavor and visual appeal to salads, soup, pasta, butters, shellfish, meat, poultry, sauces, potatoes, omelets and soft cheeses. The fresh flavor of parsley goes extremely well with fish. Use :PurifierHalitosisTumor inhibitorKidney stones and other kidney related problemsPainful urinationPreparation :Chew for halitosis.A few sprigs provide 2/3 the vitamin C of an orange, lots of vitamin A, and the important amino acid histidine, which is a tumor inhibitor.Parsley tea is good for kidney problems, painful urination, and kidney stones.One cup of parsley to 1 quart of water makes a strong tea. Two cups of parsley to 1 quart of water, steep an hour and drink warm, as an aphrodisiac. In Spain they have found that feeding parsley to sheep will bring them into heat at any time of year!
26Spice BlendsProbably the most widely-recognized spice blend is curry powder. Curries can contain as little as two or three different spices or up to fifty or more. There is no set amount or ingredient list for most spice mixtures. They have evolved based on personal tastes and should always be adjusted to suit your own needs.
27Spice Blending ToolsIf one plans on making your own spice blends at home, you will want to invest in an electric spice grinder. Luckily, they are inexpensive. If you should have difficulty finding a spice grinder for some odd reason, you can also use a electric coffee grinder with equal success. You should be able to find either for around $15 and surely under $25. Do not make the mistake of using a coffee grinder for both spices and coffee. No amount of cleaning in between will keep coffee flavor from your spices nor spices from your coffee. You can also crack peppercorns and other whole spices by placing them in a freezer bag on a cutting board and pounding with the bottom side of a heavy skillet. Of course, you can always resort to grinding by hand with a mortar and pestle.
28Spice MixesBerbere Spice Mix(Ethiopian)-dried red chiles, black peppercorns, ground ginger, cloves, coriander seeds, ajowan, allspice berries, greed cardamom seeds, fenugreek, cinnamon stick Garam Masala(Indian)-The name translates to hot mixture: cumin, coriander seeds, cardamom, black peppercorns, cloves, mace, bay leaf, cinnamonSansho Seven Spice Mixture (Japanese)-sansho, seaweed, chile, orange peel, poppy seeds, white sesame seeds, black sesame seedsZahtar (Middle Eastern)-sumac, roasted sesame seeds, ground thyme Chat Masala (Indian)-ground asafoetida, mint, ginger, ajowan, cayenne, black salt, mango powder, cumin, dried pomegranate seeds Curry Powder (Basic)-dried red chiles, coriander seeds, mustard seeds, black peppercorns, fenugreek seeds, ground ginger, ground turmeric Five Spice Powder-star anise, fagara, cassia, fennel seeds, cloves Herb Salt-sea salt, bay leaves, dried thyme, dried rosemary, dried oregano Jerk Seasoning(Jamaican)-chiles, thyme, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, cloves, garlic, onions Mixed Pudding Spice- coriander seeds, cinnamon stick, allspice berries, whole cloves, nutmeg, ground ginger Quatre-Epices (French)- The name means four spices: black peppercorns, whole cloves, nutmeg, ground ginger Panch Phoran(Indian) -cumin seeds, fennel, mustard, fenugreek, nigella Pickling Spice- black peppercorns, yellow mustard seeds, hot red pepper flakes, allspice berries, dill seed, mace, cinnamon stick, bay leaves, whole cloves, ground ginger Ras-el Hanout (North African) -Translates to top of the shop: peppercorns, cardamom, mace, galangal, nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon, ash berries, cloves, ginger, turmeric, nigella, lavender, rosebuds, orrisroot, cassia, fennel seeds
30Natural remedies for cough Powder the bark of the tree and boil it in 1 glass of water. Gargle with it once a day for releasing mucus and if you have any throat infection. You can also take 1 or 2 pinches of the powdered bark and sniff it which will make you sneeze and help in decongesting your nasal passage.Take the pulp of the Belleric Myroblan fruit and mix salt, long pepper and honey to it for taste. Have it 2 times everyday for relief from cough. Fry the fruit and roll it in wheat flour and have it once a day.Crush the fruits of the Betel Leaf herb and mix it with honey. Lick it for relief from irritating cough.Roast 1 clove and chew it slowly. This will decongest you’re the throat. Extract some juice from the root of ginger and take 1 tsp of it mixed with honey 3 times a day. Boil some peeled and grated ginger roots in water, add a pinch of salt to it and 1 tsp of sugar and drink it while it is still warm. You can also drink ginger tea twice daily.In 1 tsp of honey add a pinch of turmeric powder and take it once before going to bed at night. This will release cough through the stool and throat.
31Soothing itchy red skin. Aloe Vera is a universal soothing application for your skin. The clear gel obtained from a fresh leaf may be rubbed onto the patch that is itching. Baking soda paste could prove to be helpful in your case. Some types of itches respond more to moisturizing. It could be dryness that is actually affecting your skin. This is because dryness is the most common complaint leading to itching skin.
32Usage of Spices in Cosmetics, Aromatherapy and Perfumery The sense of smell is one that leaves the longest impression for human beings.Aromatherapy uses essential oil distilled from spices and herbs. A few drops of these oils invokes certain feelings, be it relaxation or sensual. They also have healing properties for some common illnesses.Perfumes are categorized as being floral, musky, citrusy or spicy, depending on the extract of the ingredients used in them. I was given once a perfume made of black pepper from Sarawak (a Malaysian state in Borneo). I loved it!In cosmetics and body care, body scrub can be made with ground ginger and turmeric. You can raid your kitchen to make a facial mask by mixing turmeric powder, egg white and honey. A traditional spa is not complete without steaming your body with spiced water and soaking in sweet smelling milk added with spices. What a terrific indulgence!All in all, usage of spices is everywhere. Life is definitely full of surprises and also spices.
33Spices in Traditional Rituals It was written that Emperor Nero burnt a year's supply of cinnamon as a pyre for his dead Empress. Victorious soldiers marching into Rome were showered by expensive saffron. These extravagant usage of spices showed how powerful the spice trade was for the Roman empire.In Malaysia, special events which are steeped in tradition always include herbs and spices. For example, during the shaving ceremony of a newborn baby, there is a bowl of spiced scented water alongside kaffir lime, "sintok", a pinch of glutinuous rice paste and also turmeric. These paraphernalia are useful in case of bleeding on the infant's delicate head.To exorcise evil spirits, various spices are mixed with rice grains colored yellow with turmeric to be placed at strategic corners around the affected home. The shaman would sprinkle this magical potion while saying his mantra.For weddings, usage of spices in every step of the ceremony is a must. Potpourri (called "bunga rampai") is made with pandanus, roses, bouganvillae blooms scented with rose water and a handful of cloves and cardamoms. Glutinous rice is dyed yellow with turmeric to symbolize good luck. The happy couple on the raised dias are sprinkled with rose water and spices for even more prosperity and good luck.
34Bunga rampaia potpourri of scented pandanus, rose petals and turmeric rice grain