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To make our dishes rich in their flavour, what can you think of as an option to add without adding extra calories and fats? Yes, they are the spices and condiments which offers these qualities. Don't you think it would be really interesting to know how these spices reach our cuisines to make them more attractive, pleasing to our tongue and nose? It all depends on how spices are made which decides the quality and potency of the spices that you are using in your food. Let’s find out.
How Spices Are Made?
Processing and trade of spices can be considered as one of the biggest industries in terms of need. Even it has a great impact on many country's economies like- Sri Lanka, Grenada, Indonesia, etc. Small scale or large, the spice processing and trading has a major positive impact on the population to become economically and socially successful.
All the spices go through various levels starting from harvesting and ending in packaging. We have mentioned in brief for you to understand each and every process.
The perfect time of harvesting is identified according to the type of spice. Immature or overripe plants can lead to a low-quality spice that may not further serve a good flavouring agent to the foods. Hence, experienced people work in the harvesting of spices all around the world.
After the harvesting process, the crop should undergo the winnowing process, which is the removal of dirt by low-velocity winds. This step can remove small pebbles or girt from the crop and ready for the water wash. After this step, the crop is set for a bath under running water. If running water is not available, the water in the spice bath needs to be changed at regular intervals.
During the dry season-
Sun drying is enough in this season as the intensity of the sun's heat is enough to dry the moisture content in the spices. Also, solar driers are preferred as compared to sun drying because it protects the crop from insects, dirt and impurity such as bird droppings.
During the wet season-
The season doesn't allow high intensity heat from the sun. So, it becomes really important to use machine like hot air blower and many other basic machines to dry the moisture. Locally available items like- coir fibre or bamboo can be used to make basic machines for drying.
Grading is the process of differentiating among the mass over some common qualities. So, the grading of spices is done based on shape, size, colour, or flavour.
Grinding is a step that should be followed very cautiously as this step determines the final quality of the produce. The chances of adulteration are so high and heat generated during machine grinding process should also be checked. This is not a major issue in a small-scale industry but can affect the nutrients in spices at a larger scale.
Humidity and many other factors have to be understood when you are going to do the packaging of food or any spice. So, in spices too, there should be a grading according to the –
If the humidity is low, there is no harm to the texture or flavour of spices whether whole or ground. But special packaging of polypropylene should be used in a high humidity environment.
As we have under understood how spices are made, it now time to see the difference in the conventional processing and organic processing and what difference it would bring within the spices.
Conventional v/s Organic Processing:
Many different practices are adopted for the organic production of spices. The land should be adopted with more productivity and water retention methods should also be sorted out. Fields should have crops grown without the use of chemical fertilizers or pesticides and thus protecting the genotype and thus the quality of the produce.
Crops are handpicked and cleaning of the crops is permitted by vacuum, steam, or high-pressure water. Sun drying is used for dehydration of the moisture and the grinding step is hand ground only or at most basic machinery is used. The heat generated within the spices are according to the requirements to keep the structure of the spices safe and the quality is retained. The packaging is usually done with biodegradable packaging material only to make organic spices safe for environment.
How Spices Are Made At Home?
Many people in India still prefers to use the spices that are home-prepared as they have the fresh and authentic flavour to serve in the food. Also, it becomes really difficult to use the whole spice every time we cook food so ground spices are preferred is most cooking.
For making your ground spice at home, get the desired whole spice and dehydrate them under sunlight or in a pan with low flame. After dehydration, you can hand ground the spices and store them in an airtight container for further use.
From 3500 BC, spices have been a major part of world cuisine. Not only as an ingredient but also as first aid medication for aiding in medicinal treatment of most seasonal diseases and ailments. Their processing has changed a lot in these years and mass production has led to the degradation of the spices as we knew them.
The real flavour of the spices is reduced to a lower limit than what you could get from hand-ground spices. These long processes and heavy machinery have taken away the freshness of spices. Organic processing to some extent has an edge over the automated processes as they don't use machine which can degrade the quality of spices.
Hope this post has cleared some doubts and provided you necessary information on how spices are made and how they are processed into packaging. We also threw light on the fact that hand-ground spices are much better in providing the aroma and flavour to the food along with various heath benefits. We, at ORCO have a wide range of spices that includes natural black salt, organic cinnamon powder, organic methi, organic white sesame seeds, organic brown mustard and a lot more. We have pledged to provide our customers with the best in the market, natural, chemical-free and tastiest organic spices.