QUALITY SPICES

TURMERIC

 Turmeric is the boiled, dried, cleaned and polished rhizomes of Curcuma longa. The plant is a herbaceous perennial, 60-90 cm high, with a short stem and tufted leaf. There are 7 to 12 leaves, the leaf sheaths forms the pseudo stem. The lamina is green above and pale green below and has a length of 30-40 cm and width 8-12 cm. Inflorescence is a central spike of 10-15 cm length. 1-4 flowers are born in axil of the bract opening one at a time. About 30 flowers are produced in a spike. Turmeric is used to flavour and colour foodstuffs. It is a principal ingredient in curry powder. Turmeric oleoresin is used in brine pickles and to some extent in mayonnaise and relish formulations, non-alcoholic beverages, gelatins, butter and cheese etc. The colour curcumin extracted from turmeric is used as a colourant.

CARDAMOM (SMALL)

 Cardamom of commerce is the dried ripe fruit (capsules of cardamom plant) often referred as the “Queen of Spices” because of its very pleasant aroma and taste. Cardamom is a perennial, herbaceous, rhizomatous plant. Based on the nature of panicles, three varieties are recognised viz. Malabar with prostrate panicle, Mysore with erect panicle, and Vazhukka with semi erect panicle. in In case of Malabar,plants are of medium size (2 to 3 mtr height) with pubescent leaves (on the dorsal side) and fruits globose, whereas plant robust (3 to 4 mtr height) with leaves glabrous on both sides with ovoid capsules in the case of Mysore. Vazhukka variety is a mix of both the above in physical characteristics. Cardamom usually add a lingering sparkle to every kind of dish both traditional and modern. It is also used in baked goods and confectionaries.

CHILLI

Chilli is the dried ripe fruit of the genus Capsicum. Capsicum annuum is an annual sub –shrub, the flowers of which are borne singly and fruits usually pendent, which provide red peppers, cayenne, paprika and chillies and sweet pepper (bell pepper) a mild form with large inflated fruits.
Capsicum frutescence is a perennial chilly with small sized pods which are highly pungent. It is commonly known as ‘bird chilly’ and ‘Tabasco’.
Dry chilly is extensively used as spice in curried dishes. It is also used as an ingredient in curry powder and in seasonings. Bird chilly is used in making hot sauces as pepper sauce and Tabsco sauce.
Paprika, Bydagi chilly, Warangal chapatta and similar high colour less pungent varieties are widely used for colour extraction. This colour is highly popular among food and beverage processors for its use as a colourant, as it is a ‘natural plant colour’.

PEPPER

Black Pepper is the dried mature berry of Piper nigrum, a climbing, perennial shrub mostly found in hot, moist region of Southern India. Under cultivation, pepper vines are trailed over support as columns, 5-6 mtr tall, 1-2 meter diameter. The climbing woody stems have swollen nods with clinging roots at each node, which helps in anchoring the vine to the support trees (standards). It has straight upward growing main stem and have lateral shoots from the axils of the leaves having shorter inter nodes without adventitious roots. In such branches the terminal buds get modified into an inflorescence (spike) and the auxiliary buds continue further growth. Pepper is largely used by meat packers and in canning, pickling, baking, due to its preservative value. It has the ability to correct the seasoning of dishes, therefore is used as a final dash at the end of cooking to effectively adjust the flavour. It is an important component of culinary seasoning of universal use and is an essential ingredient of numerous commercial foodstuffs. It is also used as an ingredient in spice mixes.

CUMIN

Cumin is the dried, white fruit with greyish brown colour of a small slender annual herb. The surface of the fruit has 5 primary ridges, alternatively has 4 less distinct secondary ridges bearing numerous short hairs. The plant is 15 to 50 cm high. The aromatic seed like fruit is elongated, ovoid, 3 to 6 mm long, slightly bitter and has a warm flavour. The flowers are white or rose coloured in small umbels.Cumin seed have an aromatic odour and bitter taste. It is used as a condiment, and is an ingredient in curry powders, seasonings of breads, cakes and cheese.

MINT

Japanese Mint (Mentha Arvensis) is a perennial herb with creeping root stalk and an erect stem, 1-2 quadrangulate branched with short dense hair. Leaves are 2.5 – 5cm long, oblong-ovate. Flowers are in auxiliary whorls, none at the top. Plant rises to a height of 0.4-0.8 mtr.
Mint is used for flavouring meat, fish, sauces, soups, stews, vinegar, tea, tobacco and cordials. The mint oil is used for the production of natural menthol; dementhalised oil is used for flavouring mouth washes and tooth paste.

Health benefits

The contribution of Indian spices to health benefits has been well chronicled since Vedic times. Some of the popular spices and their health benefits are as follows

GINGER

Ginger helps to relieve common colds. It is also most commonly known for its quick relieving effects on heartburn, nausea, upset stomach, diarrohea, motion and morning sickness. It has been found to be a beneficial anti-inflammatory, due to its high levels of gingerol, making it a great natural remedy for headaches, minor body aches and even some cases of arthritis.

TURMERIC

Studies have shown that turmeric helps prevent Alzheimer's disease and joint inflammation. It also helps in minimising liver damages caused by taking excessive alcohol consumption or regular use of pain-killers. A warm glass of milk mixed with turmeric helps in cold and cough. It is also an antiseptic.

CLOVES

The antiseptic and antibiotic properties of clove oil are used in medicines especially in dentistry, oral and pharyngeal treatments. It has wider applications in preparations of toothpaste and mouthwashes, soaps and perfumes. It is also reported to help diabetics in sugar assimilations.

ASAFOETIDA

This flavoring agent has wonderful health benefits as it helps in digestion. It is useful in the treatment of respiratory disorders like cough, asthma and bronchitis. It has been proved useful in the treatment of health problems concerning women such as unusually painful and excessive menstruation. It is also used in medicines because of its antibiotic properties.

SAFFRON

Saffron has the ability to treat depression, prevents loss of vision, and improves memory. The stigma of the flower can provide relief from digestive issues with the help of its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anti-depressant properties. In medicine, saffron is used in fevers, melancholia, and enlargement of liver and spleen. In Ayurvedic medicine it is used to heal arthritis, impotence and infertility.

NUTMEG

Nutmeg has anti-bacterial properties. It helps in fighting tooth decay, Alzheimer's and improves memory. It can also release the tension in muscles.

BLACK PEPPER

Black pepper has the ability to increase the production of hydrochloric acid that the stomach needs to help in digestion. It is also anti - bacterial in nature, reduces blood pressure and contains iron that is beneficial for the body.