Smelling good food already makes your mouth water. Who has never been enchanted by an aroma, is not it? Each person adds a touch of personality to what they cook. I myself really like spices and herbs.
Each place in the world has given rise to ingredients that world gastronomy cannot imagine without, for example:
- Europe: Wines and Olives (Olive Oil)
- Mediterranean: Aromatic herbs, wheat flour, onion and garlic.
- Africa: Chili Peppers and Coffee
- Asia: Cinnamon, Cloves, Nutmeg and Black Pepper and Sugar Cane.
- Americas: Tomato, Cocoa (and chocolate), Potatoes, Pineapple and Vanilla.
Of course, these are few examples of what came out of these regions to the world, not to mention countless preparations. Spices were called that because they were something that in the Western world, only the European elite had access. But every place in the world has its spices, and today, due to their “internationalization”, even though some are more expensive, but many of them are accessible and have properties that we can’t even imagine!
Aromatic herbs and spices have some functions unknown to many. With distinctive and irresistible aromas and flavors, it is difficult to think of anything else. A tomato sauce with herbs like oregano or basil, some baked potatoes with olive oil and rosemary, nutmeg zest in the filling of your apple pie, the smell of cinnamon exuding from the oven in a very colorful preparation!
These condiments do not make up a significant volume in the preparations, but they are details that make all the difference! Take a look at some of their functions that go beyond aroma and flavor!
Food is an easy target for microorganisms, fungi and bacteria, which feed and consecutively proliferate in them. There are two classifications: deteriorators, which are nature’s “recyclers”, alter the sensory properties of food (appearance, texture, taste and smell) by rotting it; and the pathogenic, which cause illness and discomfort to those who ingest them. Microorganisms, regardless of classification, need water from foods to nourish themselves, however, since this food has the addition of salt, sugar and / or mainly spices and aromatic herbs, this water, previously easily used by fungi and bacteria, now it is in solution with the condiments. So, the first function that we can cite is that of protect foods making them more resistant to microorganisms.
While we manipulate food, harvesting, cutting and cooking, nutritional losses occur, due to the various physical, chemical and biochemical actions that take place during this period, such as the loss of liquids during cuts, or the disposal of bruised pieces, the loss of fragile vitamins like vitamin C, a series of inevitable losses, but the most aggressive and inevitable process of some preparations is cooking. In chemistry, the function of catalyst belongs to the elements that accelerate chemical reactions. Spices and aromatic herbs are catalysts, so by using these condiments, we decrease the time needed for cooking, losing less nutrients due to the action of heat, also saving time and gas / energy.
Who has never had tea for medical purposes? Or a tasty infusion to relax? Specifically, each of the aromatic herbs and spices have their own characteristics that can bring health benefits, when used in teas, in preparations that go on fire or even raw, such as sprinkled cinnamon and freshly ground black pepper, basil leaves or mint to finish dishes. The actions medicinal they are numerous and vary from condiment to condiment.
Don’t miss the next posts, themed by condiment. Curiosities, recipes, techniques and specific information to leave your mouth open.