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Essentials Of Spices In Culture

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With ambrose ekhosuehi {Last update 25/092017}

ESSENTIALS of spices in culture is the necessary uses in the highest degrees of spice. Spice is a substance of exotic origin, aromatic, hot, piquant taste, use to enhance the flavour of foods, so as to add to the food the stimulant ingredients contained in the spice.

Spices helped to improve the taste of most of the food that people ate before food preservation methods were discovered.

There are spice plants and the flavouring made from spice plants are usually ground into powder. They are used either single or in combination to give special flavour to foods.

Curries are made by using various mixtures of spices when cooking meat, vegetables or rice. The uses of spices started from the ancient.

Pre-historic people used the leaves of certain plants to enhance the flavour of foods which they ate. However as the state of knowledge advanced by the experiences of the first great explorers, more and more people learned about spices and wanted to take advantage of the lucrative trade, by passing the traditional routes.

Spices were sought after by the people of the Middle Ages and the spice trade was very important to them.
Traditional medicine practitioners make use of spices for their medicinal properties. It has been revealed that spices have various capacities among which are antioxidant capacity — a property of spices in aqueous emulsions. Preserving capacity — is the property due to the spices in habiting the growth of micro-organisms.

It is caused by the presence of essential compounds which have a preserving action specific to the spices. They breakdown the resistance of micro-organisms to heat.

In traditional medicine, spices are used in varying proportions; in preparations such as to improve gastric tone and to facilitate digestion; promoting sneezing and clearing the air ways.

The ground black pepper — Oziza powder, for instance, was sprinkled on bruises, wounds to promote healing. This practice clearly shows that the antiseptic action of the pepper has been recognized intuitively for a long time.

There has been growing interest in aroma therapy of treating diseases with extracts from aromatic plants.
The essential of pepper oil contains piperine which after a variety of simple processes gives piperonal which is artificial heliotropin.

Pepper is a spice. The pepper plant belongs to a genus with many spices in the same way as piper nigrum. These other species have much more limited distribution. They are rarely consumed outside the areas in which they are cultivated. They can be used to adulterate ground black pepper.

These other peppers include, long pepper (Piper longum, tailed pepper, Guinea pepper. The pungency of the dried berry is comparable with that of piper nigrum, but the flavour is not the same.

Edo pepper-Ehien-Edo (Aligator pepper) known as melegueta pepper (Aframomum malegueta) is a herbaceous perennial plant with short rhizomes, scaly with surface roots, lilac pink; trumpet shaped flower, fruit ovoid, then tapering to a point surrounded by the permanent calyx, red, containing white pulp surrounding the seeds. The seeds of alligator pepper are aromatic with grainy tasting white kernel.

Other spice plants are Black pepper-Oziza (Piper nigrum) Ighere;
Turmeric-Agio (Curcuma domestica), cardamom-Orhiema (Elettaha
Cardamomum) All spice tree-Unien and nut meg-Ikposa are trees
growing wild in the forest.

Spices being vegetable products contain protein, Lipids, carbohydrates including starch, cellulose and various mineral compounds, also contain fractions which are not present in all other vegetable products, that give them their specific characteristics as spices.

Many of these compounds are included under the term essential oils. They give the spices their flavour, aroma and smell. Other chemical substances in the spice plants are also responsible for the flavour, is piperine, which impacts the piquant flavour.

A spice owes its flavour to complex mix of simultaneous stimulations of the sensitive nerve endings of the nose and tongue.

The best known use of spices is in food preparation and cooking. The essential oil or oleoresin is used almost exclusively by the food industry.

Pepper is one of the oldest known spices and has been widely used in the preparation of meats, venison and is well known in many types of cuisine.

Tumeric is one of the ingredients of curry powder to which it gives its attractive orange yellow colour.
Cardamom is used to enhance the flavour of hot alcoholic drinks. It is also used traditionally as piquant flavour.

All spice-unien and nut meg-Ikposa, (Myristica sp) are popular in traditional cooking. Melegueta pepper-Ehien-edo is used to enhance the flavour of hot alcoholic drinks. It is used in most traditional rites.

Other spice plants of numerous uses are available in food industries with similar techniques to those used in domestic cooking. Onions and Garlic contain lecithin found in every living thing’s cells. The highest concentration is found in the vital organs, the brain, the liver, the heart and kidney.

Lecithin performs astonishing range of vital functions, directly affecting human health and well-being, while ginger stands for the stimulating effect on appetite, especially important for people convalescing from illness.

Essential of spices in culture are numerous but it is easier to keep, more convenient to use and can be added in very precise measures and mixed in a homogeneous manner.

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