Spices play an important role in modern cooking. So the place of spices in everyday kitchen looks no wonder.
Any plant material that can change the taste of food can be considered a spice. The one that better affects the taste endings of a particular person and can be considered the best.
Spices have a long history, once they were brought from overseas countries and they cost a fortune. People have always been interested in these unusual flavors, but they have been used with caution for a long time.
That is why many myths and misconceptions about such tempting and mysterious spices were born. Today, the properties of spices have been studied in detail by both cooking and science.
Spices were originally used to hide the taste and smell of rotting food. It is believed that during the Middle Ages, the popularity of spices was due precisely to their ability to hide the aromas of spoiling food. However, this myth is easy to refute. In those days, the only people who could afford to buy spices were very, very rich people. They were simply not served bad food. And the spices were too valuable for primitive use as a concealer. People used seasonings very carefully and sparingly. After all, spices were transported for several centuries from far away, from India itself. Few could afford the pleasure of trying them, and certainly not those who ate rotten meat.
All spices are hot. In fact, in the dictionary the word "spicy" means having the quality, taste, or aroma of spices. In everyday life, we often call spicy food with pepper spicy, spicy or hot. In fact, not all spices are comparable in their characteristics to pepper. In India, many dishes are prepared without hot chili at all; other spices are used to improve the taste. They can even be sweet. A classic example is cinnamon. It is a classic ingredient in many Western sweet dishes and is found in coffee. The king of spices, saffron, has a delicate aroma and spicy taste. It is also valued for giving food its beautiful golden color. And cardamom, cumin or coriander have nothing to do with pungency.
Spices cause stomach ulcers and are bad for digestion. In fact, the bacterium Helicobacter Pulori is responsible for the appearance of stomach ulcers. And spices do not interfere with the digestion of food. And turmeric and cumin in general have traditionally been used just to facilitate this important process. Research from the University of Oregon has shown that turmeric is also a great anti-inflammatory agent. Not only can this spice cure an upset stomach, it also has anti-cancer and antioxidant benefits. These properties of the spice have been proven by animal experiments. Experiments with rats have shown that cumin protects the liver from highly toxic substances, such as ethanol and rancid sunflower oil. The main components of turmeric and pepper - curcumin and piperine, have long been called the main preventive agents against cancer. It is known that grilled meats are loaded with carcinogens that form when cooked at high temperatures. And if the meat is properly marinated in such spices as coriander, cumin, turmeric and rosemary, then there will be no harm from it. Cardamom is generally used in medicine to treat heartburn, irritable bowel syndrome, intestinal spasms, and other problems related to digestion.
Spices increase body temperature, so it is best not to use them in summer. Not all spices warm up the body. There are also examples of cooling. For example, cumin, coriander and fennel seeds have a calming and cooling effect. No wonder they are very popular in Indian cuisine in hot weather. Other spices - cinnamon, cardamom, turmeric, red and black pepper - really have a warming effect. They are best used during the cold season to improve blood circulation.
Spicy foods are fatty and lead to diabetes and obesity. Spices not only do not make food greasy, but they also help fight diseases such as diabetes and obesity. Caraway has been shown to lower blood glucose levels, making it better than the popular anti-diabetic drug glibenclamide. This spice helps to control oxidative stress. This is very important for diseases such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, sickle cell anemia, heart failure, and bipolar disorder. Cumin lowers cholesterol and triglyceride levels, preventing the body from dramatically losing weight. Purdue University has proven that cayenne pepper increases metabolism and helps burn fat. Chili peppers, like the less spicy varieties, improve the oxidation of fats, allowing the body to consume them for fuel. Cinnamon lowers glucose, triglyceride, and cholesterol levels in people with type 2 diabetes. To improve the dish, it is better to add a little spice there than sugar, cream or sauce, which just add calories.
Food with spices is bad for the heart. In fact, eating with spices can only improve heart function. You can give up such harmful oils and sugars, but preserve the taste thanks to the spices. By lowering triglycerides, cholesterol and blood glucose levels, thanks to turmeric, cinnamon, cumin, chili peppers, the risk of heart disease is also reduced. Curcumin has been shown in mice to reduce fatty deposits in clogged arteries. Another study found that cardamom lowers blood pressure, improves antioxidant status, and enhances fibrinolysis. This natural process is responsible for removing blood clots. Spices have many beneficial properties that have yet to be explored. Usually, there are no side effects to talk about, as long as they are used in reasonable amounts.
Spices are exotic substances and are not suitable for everyday meals. There are some classic mistakes in using seasonings. One of the harshest is adding fewer spices to the dish than required. Often a person tries to enhance the expressionless taste with salt and sugar. But even the most ordinary dish can be made unforgettable with the help of spices.
Thanks to hot pepper, metabolism improves. It really is. And capsaicin, the substance that gives the pepper that very spicy taste, is "to blame" for this. If you add at least a tablespoon of chopped chili to your lunch dishes, then you can fill up much faster. Metabolism will accelerate by 23% according to American researchers. By the way, capsaicin is only found in chili peppers and bitter paprika. But in black peppercorns it is not. And you will not eat such spicy dishes every day. In addition, such severity is generally contraindicated for patients with gastritis or stomach ulcers.
India is a real land of spices. It really is. It is here that a lot of them are grown, and a lot is eaten. It will be difficult for an unaccustomed tourist to get used to the constant burning sensation in the mouth and stomach. They say that even if you repeat "no spices" 10 times in a restaurant, they will still be put in, albeit less than usual. But spices are much cheaper here than in Russia. In addition, no one bothers to bargain.
Each spice has its own product. There is even a list of how to combine spices with certain foods. The art of cooking with spices is quite subtle. The truth is born here through experimentation. Classical cookbooks say that rosemary doesn't go well with fish, but it goes well with meat. But there is an excellent recipe for carp baked with this spice. And with meat, some gourmets prefer not to use rosemary, except perhaps adding to the marinade. So when choosing spices, you should think primarily about your personal taste and look for appropriate combinations. Books and checklists won't help here.
There are no special requirements for the storage of spices. In fact, there are fairly clear guidelines for storing spices. They should be stored in a dark and dry place where there is no temperature difference, preferably in a cool place. Glass jars with a tightly closed lid are best suited for these purposes. It is better to purchase and store spices as a whole, and it is better to grind it yourself. After all, the aroma quickly disappears, and with ready-made spices it happens even faster. Ground spices cannot be stored for longer than six months at all. If they are as a whole, then you can hold them longer. However, you should focus on the smell. You can take a small amount of spices and smell them. In the event that the aroma is suspicious, it is better not to risk it and throw away the spice that has already become obsolete.
Red pepper burning in the mouth can be relieved with some liquids and products. The Mythbusters team went through this experiment to find that unique remedy that can help with a burning mouth from the spice. It turned out that ordinary water cannot help - the burning sensation returns immediately after swallowing the liquid. The beer helped a little, but there is no need to talk about the full effect. But tequila even increased the burning sensation. There was even a certain numbness that dulled the pain. But this effect was also insignificant. The toothpaste with petroleum jelly did not help either. Wasabi turns out to be an ambiguous action, someone gets better from it, and someone even worse. However, the relief is still insignificant. But milk really helps. The burning sensation goes away due to the fats contained in this drink.
Cumin is completely harmless. Don't underestimate the power of the spice. Cumin is strictly forbidden to use for thrombophlebitis, after a heart attack and with coronary heart disease. And even during pregnancy, black cumin will increase body temperature, which will stimulate blood production. In this position, it is not very good. But for a nursing mother, black seed oil will help increase milk production.
Spices can harm your sex life. For several centuries, people have known about the properties of spices to arouse love desire. Perhaps chemistry is to blame for this, perhaps aroma or something else. For example, the ancient Romans and Chinese added cheap cloves to food. In Indian folk medicine, it is believed that a drink made from fennel and milk gives the drinker special sexual opportunities. There, vanilla was added to milk, considering such a drink to be a kind of sexual tonic.