Rich, heady, aromatic and flavourful – Indian cuisine is almost inconceivable any other way. It is synonymous with spices, which are responsible for its unique flavours. But Indian spices and herbs go beyond just flavour and aesthetics. An integral part of Ayurveda and traditional Indian medicine, they have now gained recognition across the world for their therapeutic properties.
Unfortunately, what is yet unknown to most people is that there is rampant adulteration in our everyday spices. From staples like turmeric powder, black pepper, chilli powder to even common salt, adulteration has been found in a large variety of spices and seasonings. Adulterated spices come devoid of the very medicinal properties and that spices are otherwise hailed for. In fact, many of them contain harmful additives like the controversial flavour-enhancer, monosodium glutamate. Did you know that pebbles, pesticides, bacteria, harmful colours, fillers, sawdust, red oxide and carcinogens are among the adulterants present in cheap spices? While it isn’t feasible to painstakingly test for adulteration in your spices every time you buy them, it is possible to shop from only verified sellers. At Conscious Food, we take authenticity very seriously and source strictly from organic farmers.
Why buying organic spices makes sense
What makes organic spices superior to run-of-the-mill spices begins with organic farming itself. Ultimately, they are derived from plants that have been cultivated without the use of pesticides, animal hormones and chemical fertilizers. Next is the processing – conventional spices are sterilized using irradiation and carcinogenic chemicals like ethylene oxide while organic spices are sterilised using safe methods like steaming, freezing and sun drying. Moreover, Conscious Food employs hand pounding and iron pounding techniques for processing its herbs and spices. Unlike traditional pulverising machines, this prevents depletion of the true aroma, flavour, texture and natural oils. Spices stay close to their natural form, thereby retaining the nutritional and therapeutic benefits. Our customer love our organic hing and turmeric. Try them and tell us what you think!
In the culinary world, spices refer to the dried part of a plant, other than the leaves, used for seasoning and flavoring a recipe, but not used as the main ingredient.
The green leafy parts of plants that are used in this way are considered herbs. Every other part of the plant, including dried bark, roots, berries, seeds, twigs, or anything else that isn’t the green leafy part, is considered a spice e.g. Cinnamon is the bark of a tree. Cardamom is a seedpod. Allspice is a dried berry. Cloves are dried flower buds. Spices are used in a dried form while herbs can be used either fresh or dried. One thing to keep in mind when cooking with spices is that spices start to lose their flavor when they are ground. So whenever possible, it’s best to grind your own herbs and spices immediately before using them, rather than using spices or herbs that are already ground. You can use a coffee grinder or mortar and pestle for this purpose. If grinding your own spices isn’t possible do the next best thing and buy our organic spices. Our powdered spices are iron pounded and not pulverized. Iron pounding ensures that spices are ground at a lower temperature thereby retaining the oils and flavours. This also means that you need a smaller quantity for seasoning compared to commercially ground spices.