Understanding Spices for Processing
Spices are unique because they add both flavor and color to the food and effective in small quantities. Spices when added to foods contribute flavor, pungency and color, and contribute antioxidant, antimicrobial, pharmaceutical and nutritional properties. The indirect effects are salt reduction, sugar reduction and control the cooking or processing of food. The complex effects that the spices give to food are - increased appetite, masking effect, improvement of texture and preservation. Since the flavor compounds of spices are thermo-labile, proper packaging is essential to maintain the flavor. The bitterness of some spices is decomposed during cooking. Spices enhance the flavor of some foods and may also increase the palatability of other foods. In spice processing, their end use is important. This is more of individual judgment although some patterns are common. Spice blends have a more delicate flavour than individual spices in a mixture. Cultural preferences and country’s food habits determine the composition of a spice blends. With the world moving towards processed food, specific chemical component of a spice is becoming more important than the whole spice.