There are more than a hundred spices in the world. Out of hundred, India produces 75 of them. In India, Kerala is known for the quality spice production followed by states like Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and so on. Some of the most commonly used spices in India are seeds such as Black pepper, mustard, cumin, fennel, Nutmeg & coriander. Flower buds like Clove, Barks such as Cinnamon. Fruit capsules like Chili & Cardamom. Rhizomes like Turmeric & Ginger. Arils like Mace and stigmas like saffron and so on. Did you just realize that any part of a plant can turn into a spice? Well, it seems to be so.
The Worthy Spices
Spices are primarily meant to add flavour and taste. Some are also used in the cosmetic and perfume industry. As years pass by people begin to realize the medicinal values that spices possess. Spices are expensive! This can be quoted with some examples from history. About half a kg of ginger was equal to the life of a sheep & one bag of pepper was worth a human’s life during the Middle Ages. That sounds strange right, but it is kind of actually true because spices in the Middle Ages were very rare and consumption of them was regarded as a symbol of status & social class.
Even in this 21st century, spices are still the costliest. The black pepper is known as the “Black gold of India” and is costly because of the processing that it has to undergo before it comes out as a final product. Cardamom is also one of the costliest spices because it needs to be manually harvested and requires a lot of labour for harvesting.
The most expensive among all the spices undoubtedly is the Saffron. Saffron is the extracted stigma of the flower. Each flower contains only 3-4 stigmas. To produce 1 gram of saffron 100 flowers are required. More than 2,50,000 stigmas have to be hand-picked to produce half a kilogram of saffron.
Did you guys notice that word hand-picked? That might be a tiresome task for the workers in saffron fields. Since the stigmas have to be hand-harvested, the work involved to extract saffron shows a direct relation to its price. Do you know that a small bowl of Saffron in Spain was once sold to $371? People say that it is costlier than gold.
The fresh beans of vanilla do not contain its taste or smell. It contains Vanillin which is released only after the curing and processing of the beans. This Vanillin gives the beans its aroma and flavour. This extensive curing process makes vanilla the second most expensive spice next to saffron.
The Spicy Benefits
Black Pepper, one of the most common Indian spices also called the “King of Spices’’, helps in maintaining healthy blood vessels and boosts our metabolism. Cardamom, which is popularly known as the “Queen of Spices’, is high in minerals like magnesium and zinc. This acts as a mouth freshener and soothes an upset stomach. Then comes the famous spice couple, the Ginger-Garlic. Ginger has high antioxidant & anti-inflammatory properties which help in preventing cancer.
Ginger helps in preventing the nausea feeling during pregnancy or chemotherapy while Garlic contains the compound called the Allicin. If consumed regularly, garlic will reduce blood cholesterol and prevent heart diseases. It fights common cold & is good for the lungs. If any of your relatives are diabetic then probably you should suggest they try Cinnamon. Studies have shown that it helps in balancing blood sugar level. Also, this sweet spice can eliminate the free radicals that damage our body cells.
Readers, who want to lose weight? Then you must include a teaspoon of cumin in your daily low-calorie diet. It is rich in iron which helps in RBC formation. The upcoming spice is one of the most favourite spices for women. Not to eat but to use it as a natural home remedy for skin problems. That is nothing but turmeric. Turmeric has the anti-inflammatory power because of the anti-oxidant, Curcumin. It helps in reducing the pain of arthritis patients and also acts as an antibacterial and antiviral agent. It is proven that a pinch of turmeric intake daily will prevent Alzheimer’s disease and improves our memory power.
Gunatit Impex is a leading exporter of all kinds of foods right from grains and pulses, seeds to nuts & spices. Gunatit helps in exporting all Indian spices to any part of the world.