Thursday, February 2, 2017

Why Do We Use Spices?

Spices, Spice Mix, Colorful, CurryDid you know that the term spice is not a botanical designation?  It is used to designate plants and plant parts used to flavor food and drink?  Spices are everything else but the leaves.  The leaves are considered herbs.

Examples of spices include Cinnamon which is the bark, Allspice which is a berry, or cloves which are a dried flower.

Many of these spices remained local until the age of exploration began and explorers such as Marco Polo, Magellan, and Columbus  roamed the world.

In the past, spices served multiple purposes.  In the Middle Ages, spices were often used either to help flavor the meat or make certain types of meat easier to eat.    Was it used to make rotting meat palatable?  According to things I've read, no this is not true because due to the cost of spices, only the rich could actually afford these.  Why would anyone waste money that way? By the 1400's, poor people could afford cost of a pound of pepper and the rich people quit eating it for that one fact.

Over the years, spices have become more accessible to everyone.  In some places, such as India, spices are used more frequently than in others.  

Did you know:
1.  The first commercial chili powder was released in the late 1800's.

2. Peppercorns have been used since at least the 4th century BC

3.  Columbus named one spice Pimento but once it arrived in Europe, it became known as Allspice.

4. The Nutmeg tree produces both nutmeg and mace.

5. Although many people think Masala is a specific type of spice, it actually means spice.

6. The Trinidad Moruga Scorpion chili is considered the worlds hottest chili.  Its can burn its way through a latex glove.

7. Mustard and Wasabi do not become spicy until they are crushed.

8. Before the invention of electricity, they had clocks which opened the compartment of a different spice.  People could tell the time by the smell of the spice.

9. Sumac is the only spice native to all 48 contiguous states.

10. The Canna Indica seed and peppercorns were used as shotgun pellets.

Have a great time and I hope you enjoyed this.