Excursus - The difference between spice, spice preparation and spice mixture
Spices in the broadest sense are flowers, buds, fruits, seeds, barks, roots, rhizomes, bulbs or parts thereof, usually in dried form. Herbs are fresh or dried leaves, flowers, shoots or parts thereof.
Table 1: Classification of the main spices and herbs
Bell pepper, vanilla, allspice, paprika, chili, black mustard, juniper, anise, star anise, cumin, coriander, sesame, sumac, dill
Nutmeg, fenugreek, cardamom, mustard
Cloves, saffron, capers, mace
Root and rhizome spices
Ginger, turmeric, galangal, horseradish
Basil, leaf parsley, savory, tarragon, marjoram, oregano, rosemary, sage, thyme, dill, bay leaf, lemon balm, mint
In the case of mixtures of herbs and spices, a distinction is essentially made between spice mixtures and spice preparations.
- Spice blends are mixtures consisting exclusively of spices.
- Spice preparations are mixtures of one or more spices and other ingredients added for their flavor or technological effect.
In spice preparations, salt, sugar, oil, glutamate, yeast extract and starch derivatives are added for their flavor or technological effect. They often have a particularly intense flavor portfolio. Nevertheless, spice preparations contain at least 60 percent spices, but they may also contain spice flavors. When they are supplied to processing companies - for example, meat processing companies or food manufacturers - they are also referred to as spice preparations. These are available, for example, for the production of meat sausage variants with authentic taste.
Table 2: The most popular spice blends and their composition
... is a mixture of ...
Bell pepper, paprika, coriander, clove, cumin, cardamom, nutmeg, cinnamon
Chili powder (TexMex)
Cayenne pepper, cumin, garlic, oregano
Madras curry (India)
Turmeric, fenugreek, coriander, cumin, ginger, chili, allspice, nutmeg, cardamom and cloves
Five spice powder (China)
Star anise, Szechuan pepper, cinnamon, fennel, cloves
Garam Masala (India)
Cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, pepper, fenugreek, cumin
Herbs of Provence (France)
Rosemary, basil, thyme, marjoram, oregano, tarragon, fennel, lavender, chervil, lovage
Ras el Hanut (North Africa)
turmeric, coriander, pepper, chili, bay leaf, ginger, cloves, anise, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, galangal, fenugreek, cumin
Table 3: Some of the most famous spice preparations
... consists of ...
Turmeric, ginger, paprika, coriander, galangal, pepper, mace, cardamom, allspice, table salt, sugar
Mulled wine spice
Cinnamon, cloves, allspice, cardamom, ginger, star anise, dried orange peel, sugar
salt, sweet paprika, bell pepper, onion, garlic, cane sugar, rosemary, thyme, oregano, marjoram, cumin, coriander, chili, allspice
Cinnamon, orange peel, lemon peel, cardamom, star anise, coriander, cloves, pepper, fennel, nutmeg, mace
Magic Dust (Barbecue Rub)
Sweet paprika, salt, cane sugar, mustard flour, garlic, pepper, cumin, smokedjalapeño, smoked paprika, cayenne bell pepper
Carrots, parsnip, leek, parsley, celery, onions, tomatoes
Tandoori Masala (India)
Cumin, coriander, pepper, chili, cinnamon, nutmeg, sweet paprika, garlic, salt
Many of the blends are traditionally established, but their ingredients can still vary. By taking salt out of the recipe, a spice preparation can also quickly become a spice blend again.
Why spices are healthy
The sensory experience of enjoying a well-seasoned meal is also closely linked to the health benefits of spices. Just the sight or smell of delicious food triggers pleasure and well-being in our bodies. The water literally runs in our mouths. Many spices even have an antibacterial effect and can inhibit the growth of pathogenic germs. The antibacterial property is related to the content of essential oils. Health-promoting can be anise, basil, chili, dill, fennel, cardamom, garlic, coriander, cumin, bay leaves, mace, marjoram, nutmeg, cloves, oregano, paprika, parsley, bell pepper, peppermint, allspice, rosemary, sage, celery seed, star anise, thyme, cinnamon and onion. Antioxidants are considered particularly beneficial to health and can minimize free radicals. They can also extend the shelf life of food by delaying chemical and enzymatic spoilage. Natural antioxidants are found in rosemary, sage, marjoram, oregano, thyme, cloves, pepper, allspice and mace.
Scent, taste and effect - why spices are fascinating
The fascination of spices lies in the combination of essential oils, aromas, antioxidants, colorants, vitamins and minerals. They make the pleasure a sensual experience. Some spices are believed to have health-promoting properties. Other spices have a preservative effect.
The sensual experience that spices prepare,
arises from the interaction of the senses of smell, taste and touch. Experts speak of "flavor". Through taste, we perceive only the five basic flavors of sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and umami. Only the sense of smell reveals to us the diverse aromas of the various spices. The highly volatile aromatic substances are contained in the essential oils of the spices. The sense of touch perceives the sharpness of some spices. Bell pepper, paprika, ginger, garlic and horseradish, for example, trigger heat and pain stimuli. Especially the capsaicin contained in chili, peppers and hot peppers makes us feel a kind of pain pleasure. Since the pungents stimulate blood flow to the taste buds, they also act as flavor enhancers for the basic flavors. They stimulate the appetite and improve digestion.
The journey from the producer to the consumer is long and a good "flavor" is quickly lost. Therefore, the methods of transporting, sterilizing, grinding, sieving, mixing, conveying, and filling are adapted specifically to spices.
Read more interesting articles about "spices"
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