Spices

Cardamom

Cardamom is the dried ripe fruit and because of its very pleasant aroma and taste, it is often referred as the “Queen of Spices”. Cardamom is a perennial, herbaceous, rhizomatous plant. Cultivation of cardamom is mostly concentrated in the ever-green forests of Western Ghats in South India. It has a strong and unique taste with resinous fragrance. Black cardamoms help to cure colds and cough. Cardamom is used to spice both sweet and savory dishes.Cardamom has a unique taste with resinous fragrance. Cardamom can help in curing stomach problems. It is also known to boost your metabolism & promote weight loss. Cardamom tea helps in flushing out all the toxins. Cardamom is a flavouring material with its pleasant aroma in whole and ground form. With both traditional and modern dishes, it adds a lingering sparkle and taste. In other countries like Europe and North America, it is used with curry powder ingredient. Moreover, Cardamom oil is used in ayurvedic medicines, liquors, foods, cordials, etc.

Cumin

Cumin seeds are small and boat-shaped and it is harvested by hand from an annual plant. Brownish-yellow color cumin is the most common variety of cumin seeds. It is also available in black, green and white in color. It is made from a Cuminum cyminum which is a dried seed of a plant and it is a member of the parsley family. Cumin seeds are commonly used in American, Indian cuisines and it is considered as one of the most popular spices. Cumin seeds are available in the form of whole seeds as well as ground form. Cumin are also available in the spice blends such as curry powder, garam masala, etc.Cumin with a bit of both sweetness and bitterness has a warm, earthy flavor and aroma. In order to reach the optimum flavor, the whole seeds need to be toasted. Different studies have shown that cumin may improve cholesterol levels, promote weight loss, and help prevent diabetes.

Mustard

Mustard seeds are rich source of oil and protein and grows well in temperate regions. It has 46-48% of oil and 43.6% of protein. In addition to flavor and color, mustard flour has preservative and antioxidant properties. It takes approximately 8-10 days to germinate if placed under a cold atmosphere and relatively moist soil. Mature mustard plants grow into shrubs. Black Mustard seeds commonly grow in South Asia. They are sharp and more pungent than the other two varieties. It is used as a condiment in different varieties of dishes. The dried mustard powder when mixing with water will initiate an enzymatic process which helps to enhance its pungency and heat. Its size is about 1-2 mm in diameter.

Fenugreek

Fenugreek seeds are smooth and oblong and its size is about 3mm long with a hooked appearance. Fenugreek can be used in food as well as in medicines. Fenugreek powder is used for flavouring variety of foods as well as for garnishing. The extract of fenugreek is mainly used as a flavouring agent of imitation maple syrup. Fenugreek seed is a ripe fruit of an herb. It is also considered as one of the constituents of curry powder. Fenugreek seeds can be used to cure Diarrhoea, chronic cough, diabetes, etc. Moreover, the fenugreek oil also used in the manufacture of hair tonics, hair oils, etc. Fenugreek is one of the cold seasonscrops which is tolerant to frost and very low temperature. It is a native of West Asia and South Eastern Europe and now, it is cultivated in India, Egypt, etc. The molecule sotolone which is in the fenugreek seeds and leaves helps to impart aroma of fenugreek and maple syrup in lower concentrations, curry in higher concentrations, etc. Moreover, this fenugreek seed is used as an herb, spice, etc.

Pepper

Black Pepper is produced from still-green pepper plant. The climbing woody stems have swollen nods with clinging roots at each node, which helps in anchoring the vine to the support trees (standards). The piperine level is about 4.6 and 9.7% in black pepper in terms of mass. The spicy heat of pepper is from the piperine which is derived from outer fruit and the seed. It has straight upward growing main stem and have lateral shoots from the axils of the leaves having shorter inter nodes without adventitious roots. Pepper can also lose flavor when exposed to light, which can transform piperine into nearly tasteless isochavicine. In such branches the terminal buds get modified into an inflorescence (spike) and the auxiliary buds continue further growth. The specie is naturally self-pollinated and pollen dispersal is aided by the presence of water droplets. On some estates, the berries are separated from the stem by hand and then sun-dried without the boiling process.It is also used as an ingredient in spice mixes.Other products in use are pepper oil, oleoresin, micro encapsulated pepper, green pepper in brine, dehydrated green pepper, frozen pepper etc.Piperine, the pungent principle in pepper oleoresin helps to enhance bio-availability and therefore used in pharmaceuticals. The major functional properties of pepper are analgesic, anti-pyretic, anti-oxidant and anti-microbial.

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