HERBS/ AND SPICES, FOOD FLAVOURING AND COLOURING
Herbs and spices belong to a group of substances known as “Food Additives”. Food additives are substances deliberately added to food to improve the appearance, colour, texture, flavour, nutritive values, aroma and taste and also to preserve the food. By improving the flavour and texture of foods, herbs and spices excite the appetite and increase the flow of the digestive juices thereby making the food more easily digested. Herbs are usually obtained from the leaves of plant while spices are derived from the roots, seeds buds or the bark of plants. Herbs and spices should be purchased in small amounts so that they may be used before they become stale. Because they contain volatile materials known as essentials oils which give them their characteristics flavour and aroma.
Table of Contents
Classification of Herbs and spices
Herbs can be classified into two main groups. Viz: Natural and Artificial.
Natural herbs and spices are those used directly as derived from the plants without subjecting them to any industrial processing.
Artificial herbs and spices are herbs and spices that are produced industrially after some processing.
NATURAL HERBS & SPICES ARTIFICAL HERBS & SPICES
African lemon grass Curry
Bitter leaf (ewuro, shawaka onugbu) Thyme, Mustard
Tea bush (efirin, nchanwa, infang, amana) Sesame
African nutmeg Nutmeg
African black pepper (Ijere, Uziza, ada) Cinnamom
Ginger, garlic, onion
Red, pepper, mustard seed
Ogiri (fermented melon) iru
FOOD FLAVOURING AND COLOURING
Flavourings are substances added to food to improve the flavour, aroma, texture and in some cases taste. Colourings on the other hand are substances added to food to improve its colour and hence make it more aesthetically appealing and attractive. Both flavouring and colouring can be classified into two major groups, viz: natural and artificial. The natural ones are those present in plants. In this case, the actual plants are added to food and they exude their flavour, aroma or colour during cooking. The artificial ones are the extracts from the plants and are chemically modified to suit specific objectives. They are produced industrially. Certain chemicals are also added to food to assist in establishing the colour and flavour of the food. These types of chemicals are called flavour enhancer.
Examples of flavouring
Ginger Curry powder
Examples of colouring
Carotene coal tar dyes of different colours e.g. those used in the manufacture of ice cream, jellies e.t.c.
Chlorophyll vanilla caraynel (from burnt sugar)
Cochineal (from crushed insects)
USES OF FOOD ADDITIVES
- To improve the flavour of the food
- To improve the appearance and colour of the food
- To improve the taste of the food
- To excite appetite
- For garnishing and preservatives.
Differentiate between herbs and spices.
Make a list of ten local spices used in your locality