The Principal Use of Spices!
Spices have held three key functions in cooking: medicinal, a preservative, and seasoning. Each spice has a chemical property, a characteristic, as well as a taste. Knowing the composition of your spice you can begin to integrate them into your everyday food. For example, ginger is warm in character, medicinally it is antibacterial and aids digestion, it's taste is hot.
Great food and spices are all about the fine balance of the 6 tastes, sweet, sour, salty, pungent, astringent and bitter. By harmonising the flavours correctly you excite every part of your palate! For example, sweetness taste softens that sharpness of a food, such as a tangy lemon tart.
The beauty about spices is that different flavours can be extracted from the same spice by using different methods of cooking, like grinding, roasting, tempering, whole, fresh or dry. That's what I love about spices, food and cooking! For example, ginger, already mentioned above, and one of my favourite spices for medicinal and seasoning uses, fresh ginger is warm, calming, moist and soothing. Great to have in a tea, aids weak digestion or add to tempering for seasoning food. Dried powdered ginger is hot, best avoided or minimum intake with those that are of Pitta constitution or have increased Pitta in their body. Dried ginger is great to soothe a dry, itchy cough with warm milk and tumeric at bedtime.
Why not experiment with your favourite spices in different ways, and see how they excite your palate! Happy tasting, seasoning and healing 🙏🏼