Yesterday, I attended a workshop at Mumbai University, Kalina. The workshop was about Health benefits of Spices. The event was graced by eminent speakers- Mr.Vilas Shirhatti and Dr.R.K.Sanghavi, and it was a pleasure to hear them out.
Here I am sharing my take away from the workshop.
The workshop highlighted how the world is waking up to the benefits of spices. Going forward, spices are going to be big in neutraceuticals. We Indians are lucky because our cuisine relies heavily on spices. We use spices every day in all regions of India. They form an integral part of our everyday food.
Our “Dadi maa ke nuskhe” or “grandma’s remedies” also make extensive use of spices.
- For a toothache – clove oil
- For cold – carrom seeds
- For a sore throat – ginger and tulsi(holy basil) concoction
- And so on…
Our ancestors realised the benefits of these spices and incorporated them into our daily life.These spices add aroma, flavour, texture to your food while imparting a bagful of health benefits. How wonderful!!
A study was conducted across 5 countries regarding the use of spices. 2500 Indian dishes were tested. Cuisines across the world work on the theory of pairing. This means that the flavours that go well together are paired together. But in Indian cuisine, opposite flavours are paired. This opposite pairing is found only in the Indian cuisine. Indian cuisine mixes different flavours and spices that lend it a unique taste and hence health benefits. Our curry powder and garam masala blends are a classic example of this unique pairing.
Spices are like tiny little bombs of flavour and aroma. Each spice has more than 1000 chemicals! Yes….1000! That is huge! Now you can imagine the health benefits of these tiny little spices. But all spices are not equal. Spices from different regions have different levels of chemicals. This affects the aroma and flavour of the spices. Spices are composed of oils which are volatile and are susceptible to loss on inappropriate handling. Hence proper storage is necessary.
A few tips for buying and handling spices
- Buy spices from a good brand.
- These brands ensure that the cleaning of the spices is done the right way.
- Avoid buying unbranded spices because you won’t have any idea when they were harvested and in what conditions they were stored.
- Always store spices in steel or glass containers. Glass is the best bet and plastic is the worst. Storing spices in plastic containers leads to a loss of flavour and causes a change in texture.
- Roasting of the spices helps in denaturing the harmful effects of pesticides.
- Spices have different effects depending on when they are introduced in the food and the cooking method.
- Storing spices in the fridge is a good idea as it prevents oxidation of the oils in them.
I am sure, you all enjoyed reading this because I enjoyed attending and sharing it with you all!
Stay healthy, Stay happy 🙂
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