spices by xiangpeng


• derives from the Latin word species,
  meaning specific kind, and later, goods or

                   Plants that Changed History, Joan Elma Rhan, 1982
• Orient
  – cinnamon, nutmeg, mace, black pepper, ginger,
    cloves, cardamom
• New World
  – allspice, chilies, vanilla
            First use of spices
 Today we use spices primarily to make good food
  taste even better
 In the days before refrigeration they used to hide
  the taste and odor of spoiled food.
 Today some perfumes, soaps, and lotions are
  lightly scented with species
 In the days before people took frequent baths,
  species were used as deodorants. Those who could
  afford to do so had spices sown or tucked into
  their clothes to hide their body odors.

                      Plants that Changed History, Joan Elma Rhan, 1982
           Spices in History
• Ancient Egypt big users of spices
  – Mummies were packed with spices
  – Aristocrats burned cinnamon in their palaces so
    they could hide the stench from the outside.
• Most spices thought to have medicinal
                Ancient History
•   Egypt
•   Greeks
•   Roman empire
•   Arab controlled
•   Dark Ages 641-1096
    – Lost access to spices
      from the Orient
                              Trade between the empires of Asia and Rome
                  Spice Trade
• Crusades in 1096: Europeans are out fighting in Syria
  and taste exotic spices and want to bring them back
• 1180‘s: Pepperer‘s guild, predecessor to herbalist and
• Middle Ages: spices valuable trade item used to pay
  bills, taxes
• 1300‘s: Polo brothers travel to China and bring back
  tales of spices.
• By 1300‘s: spice trade was a legitimate profession.
   Why were spices popular for
• it was very lucrative
• transported easily
• very popular with the upper classes
  – spicy food considered classy, sign of wealth
  – put spices in everything
     • e.g. Ginger bread
   Papal Race for Spice Islands
• During the late 15th century, the popes
  – Spain and Portugal
• After that, Pope issued a decree to divide
  the world between Spain and Portugal from
  Pole to Pole
• Portugal got the EAST, Spain got the
            Age of Exploration
 onset of an age of exploration that lasted almost
  500 years
• Columbus discovered America in 1492
   – didn‘t know the size of the Earth or about the Pacific
• Charles V and King of Spain, sent Magellan on an
  expedition to reach the spice islands
   – westward route through the South Seas and Spice
   Where Columbus and Magellan
       voyages ―failures‖ ?
 Neither won for Spain the easy access to
  spices that she wanted
 Columbus never found the spices or the
  lands he sought
 Magellan‘s expedition reached the Spice
  Islands, but the route across the Pacific
  Ocean was much too long and much too
  dangerous to be practical then
                   Plants that Changed History, Joan Elma Rhan, 1982
  What spice trade accomplished
 New lands were discovered and the question of whether
  the world was spherical or flat was finally decided
 New plants and animals were discovered; some of them
  were transported to continents where they had never been
  before but where the climate was suitable
 People‘s diets became more varied and better balanced
  Europeans, whose homelands were beginning to be
  overpopulated, colonized the newly discovered lands,
  some of which had plenty of space
 Generally this worked out well for the Europeans but
  rather badly for the natives of the colonized countries
 For better or worse, the search for species brought together
  the civilizations that had originated separately in the
  ancient worlds. They would never be isolated again
                          Plants that Changed History, Joan Elma Rhan, 1982
• Spain annexed Portugal in 1580, and was
  too big to defend against other countries
• England and Netherlands get into the act
  – Dutch took over the Indonesia
     • Dutch East India company
  – England took over India, Ceylon, Singapore,
    Hong Kong
     • British East India company
        England and Holland
• 1824: England and Dutch sign a treaty
  giving Holland, Malay archipelago
• Britain gets India, Ceylon, Singapore, Hong
• Very competitive people
spice                 Part of plant used
Black pepper          Dried fruits (peppercorns)
Ginger                Rhizome (underground stem)
Nutmeg                Seed
Mace                  Covering of nutmeg seeds
Cloves                Unopened flower buds
Cassia and cinnamon   Bark
Cardamom              Fruits, seeds
Turmeric              Rhizome
sesame                Seeds
Piper nigrum
      • Climbing vine in hot, wet
      • Berries picked green,
        darken & shrivel upon
      • Biting flavor due to
        volatile oils, flavor
        dissipates after grinding
      • White pepper – berries
        ripen on vine, outer hull
Cinnamomum zeylanicum
           • Parts Used
             Oil, bark
           • Properties
             Astringent, stimulant,
             carminative, anti-infective,
             antifungal, digestive aid
           • Common Uses
             Used as a flavoring for foods, it
             may aid digestion, and lessen
             the potential of food poisoning or
             food-borne disease.
           • Origin
             Native to Sri Lanka, India. One of
             the spices responsible for the
             start of world trade.
Eugenia caryophyllata
           • Parts Used: Flower buds
           • Active Compounds: Clove
             oil is 60 to 90 percent
             eugenol, which is the
             source of its anesthetic and
             antiseptic properties.
           • an evergreen tree, 15 to 30
             feet tall, native to the Spice
             Islands and the Philippines
             but also grown in India,
             Sumatra, Jamaica, the
             West Indies, Brazil, and
             other tropical areas
Myristica fragans
         • Part Used---Dried
           kernel of the seed
         • tree is about 25 feet
           high, has a greyish-
           brown smooth bark,
           abounding in a yellow
         • Fruit is source of 2 spices,
           nutmeg & mace
         • Mace is derived from the
           netlike aril that is wrapped
           around the pit
         • Within the pit is a single
           seed, the source of nutmeg
                    Zingiber officinale
• name from Sanskrit word stringa-vera, which
  means ―with a body like a horn‖, as in antlers.
• In English pubs and taverns in the nineteenth
  century, barkeepers put out small containers of
  ground ginger, for people to sprinkle into their
  beer — the origin of ginger ale.

Curcuma longa (turmeric)
            • Part used: rhizome
            • Culinary, dyes
Crocus sativus
       • ‗zafaran‘ Arabic
       • 3-parted Stigma for saffron
       • Dried by slow roasting
       • Impacts delicate & enticing taste &
       • French, Spanish, Middle Eastern &
         Indian cooking
       • Each saffron crocus flower has 3
           – 80,000 flowers (240,000) stigmas to
             make a pound of saffron
           – 12 days to pick
           – cost is $600 to $2000 per pound.
           – 1444: any merchant caught selling
             adulterated saffron in Bavaria was
             burned alive
  Scoville ratings
16,000,000: Pure capsaicin
100,000 - 350,000 Habanero
30,000 - 50,000 Cayenne pepper
5,000 - 23,000 Serrano pepper
2,500 - 5,000 Tabasco sauce/Jalapeno
1,000 - 2,000 Poblano pepper
   100 - 500 Pepperoncini pepper
   0 Sweet Bell pepper

 Vanilla planifolia

•flavoring comes from the seed pod, or the ‗bean‘ of the vanilla plant
•Member of orchid family
•behind, saffron and cardamom, vanilla is 3rd most expensive spice
•non-culinary uses, including aromatizing perfumes, cigars and
•Europeans prefer the bean, while N. Americans the extract
•extract made by percolating alcohol and water through chopped,
cured beans
   • Kitchen
   • Shampoos, cosmetics,
     soaps, potpourris,
   • Aromatic leaves
   • Sometimes seeds of
     temperate plants
   • Some are other plant
     Mint Family
• Native to Mediterranean region
• includes thyme, sages, lavender,
  marjoram, oregano, rosemary,
  savory, hyssops, basil, the
  various mints, catnip, and
• common garden mint is
  spearmint, not peppermint
• Square stems & aromatic
  simple leaves with oil glands
• in Mexico, known as yerba
  buena, the good herb.
• Mint is said to be an effective
  mouse deterrent
                    Parsley Family
• includes carrots, celery, dill,
  parsley, parsnips, fennel,
  caraway, anise, coriander,
  cumin, poison hemlock and
  water hemlock
• Parsley seed oil is used in
  shampoo, soap and men‘s
• Italian parsley, Petroselinum
  crispum, is a plain flat leaved
  parsley, with darker green
  leaves than curly leaved
  parsley, and a stronger but less
  bitter flavor.
• Add during last few moments
  of cooking for the best flavor,
  or sprinkled raw on salads,
  soups, fish, meat, etc.
• (white, yellow), Brassica alba;           Mustard
  black (brown), Brassica nigra)
• Mustard plants produce about        (Brassicaceae)
  1,000 pounds of seeds per acre.
• In one year at New York's Yankee
  Stadium more than 1,600 gallons
  plus 2,000,000 individual packets
  of mustard are consumed.
• Most of the mustard seeds used in
  Dijon, France are actually grown
  in the United States and Canada.
  Canada produces about 90 percent
  of the world's supply of mustard
• Over 700 million pounds of
  mustard are consumed worldwide
  each year.
• The Mustard Museum is in Mount
  Horeb, Wisconsin.
    – world's largest collection of
      mustards, with over 3,500
•   prized for its medicinal and gastronomic
    qualities for centuries.

Did you know that . . .
• Horseradish is still planted and harvested
    mostly by hand?
• Sales of bottled horseradish began in 1860,
    making it one of the first convenience foods?
• In the American South, horseradish was rubbed
    on the forehead to relieve headaches? (Some
    folks still swear by it.)
• Horseradish is added to some pickles to add
    firmness and "nip"?
• Before being named "horseradish," the plant
    was known as "redcole" in England and as
    "stingnose" in some parts of the U.S.?
• Horseradish has only 2 calories a teaspoon, is
    low in sodium and provides dietary fiber?
• Researchers at M.I.T. claim that the enzyme
    "horseradish peroxidase" removes a number of
    pollutants from waste water?
• Germans still brew horseradish schnapps . . . .
    some also add it to their beer?
    (onion family)
    Example: Leek
• swollen, overlapping leaf
  bases are eaten cooked as
  a vegetable.
• originates from the wild
  species Allium
  ampeloprasum which
  occurs from Portugal and
  North Africa eastwards to
  Turkey, Iran and about
• national plant of the
•   culinary, medicinal and religious use dates
    back more than 6000 years.
•   Chicago got it's name from the American
    Indian word for the wild garlic that grew
    around Lake Michigan - "chicagaoua".
•   California produces more than 250 million
    pounds of garlic each year. One farm in
    Monterey County (near Gilroy "The Garlic
    Capital of the World") plants 2000 acres of
    garlic and produces almost 25 million
    pounds annually.
•   There is an all-garlic restaurant in
    Stockholm where they offer a garlic
•   There is an all-garlic restaurant in San
    Francisco where they offer a garlic ice
    cream. The name of the place is a nickname
    for garlic...The Stinking Rose!
•   originated in Asia,
•   ancient Egyptians worshipped the onion,
    believing that its spherical shape and
    concentric rings symbolized eternity. Of all the
    vegetables that had their images created from
    precious metals by Egyptian artists, only the
    onion was made out of gold.
•   ranks sixth among the world's leading
    vegetable crops.
•   you can get rid of onion breath by eating
•   Yellow onions make up more than 75% of the
    worlds production of onions.
•   The official state vegetable of Georgia is the
    Vidalia onion.
•   The official state vegetable of Texas is the
    Texas Sweet onion.
•   According to the National Onion Association,
    onion consumption in the U.S. has increased
    approximately 50% over the past 20 years.

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