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Spicing up your food

Spicing up your foodThe spices are the most sought after food additives around the world. History stands testimony to the number of wars empires in the past have engaged into wars over claiming authorities on the spice abundant territories. No explorer/ navigator, who have ever left the shores of his land, during the exploration period, returned back without a flotilla of spices. Orient was christened as the spice land.

This was the prowess of these apparently diminutive but multifariously potent vegetative products.  Spices are drawn from various parts of different plants. Spices as seeds, leaves, roots and barks of different plants are loaded with disease resistant substances, and are used to add different flavors to the food.

Apart from being flavor inducing additives in the food, spices are also powerful preservatives. If added in adequate amounts, they can keep the food uncontaminated for longer periods of time as is evident from the pickles prepared ones, remain intact for years.

Spices like Turmeric have medicinal properties; a perfect antiseptic for a sore throat if taken with warm milk.  Clove oil is universally popular for relieving toothache. Ginger and basil have a special place in Ayurveda, due to their uses in curing multiple maladies.

Coriander, Fenugreek and Celery are packed with powerful antioxidant compounds, which slows down the aging process considerably in human beings. Apart from being therapeutic, spices also aid indigestion.

There is a correct method of using each spice separately, for enhancing the desired results. Leafy spices like Basil should be crushed before mixing them with the food, as crushing would help release the sap stored inside and  diffuse the flavors in the dish faster. Adding spices at the starting of the cooking process will give properly blended flavors and adding them toward the end keeps the flavors distinct.

Spices  should be added in juices hours before their consumption to allow enough time for the flavor to develop. The amount to be added depends on the desired intensity of the flavor. Spices add the colour and flavor to the food. Absolutely differing cuisines can be created from the same base material by working out different combinations of the spices available.

Nowadays, various spices and their combinations are available over the counter as spice pastes with added benefits like consistence of flavor, easy to store and complete extraction of the flavor. These come in user friendly containers which have their reuse value.

Spices are the ornaments of any cuisine. Their presence in the food titillates the digestive glands and aid in the proper absorption of the digested food by the body. Different measures of spices are representative of different cultures round the world. Fresh spices like Coriander and Basil  can be easily grown in the private kitchen gardens, processing of the other spices is a complete industry in itself.

Spices like mint are used as a mouth freshener widely.  It is believed that the entire Ayurveda resides in a kitchen rich in spices. Home remedies are preferred todaydue to these magical/medicinal properties of the spices.