16 April 2015

Why do we Season Foods?

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Seasoning has plenty of nutritional benefits

Every time we begin our cooking process, the first thing we carry out is seasoning of food. Have you ever thought why we do this process of seasoning or tempering?

We Indians love to season foods and find countless techniques to incorporate it wherever possible. The spices commonly used for seasoning are mustard seeds, asafoetida, cumin, fennel, cinnamon, clove, bay leaves, aniseeds, green chillies, red chilies, curry leaves and coriander leaves. The sputtering sound and the aroma of the spices indicates that the process is over. We either season at the beginning or at the end of the cooking process.

Seasoning has plenty of nutritional benefits

  • First of all seasoning increases the flavour of foods. Our olfactory cells can sniff and detect the menu of that day before we enter our house.
  • The hot ghee or vegetable oil we use turns the inactive components of spices to active and unlocks the bioavailability of spices.
  • Cooking oil extracts the fat soluble vitamins from the spice and food which would be otherwise wasted.
  • Many spices have excellent preservative property that can preserve the food for hours.
  • Above all spices are promising functional foods that can help in disease prevention and treatment.

Cautions

  • Use spices and oil in moderation.
  • Never save your burnt spices, discard them.
  • Olive oil disintegrates at high temperature, so never use it for seasoning. Can just add it to your menus.
  • To avoid throwing out of spice from the pan, just use a lid for a few seconds while the spices are sizzling.
  • Never prepare seasoning and store it for future use in your refrigerator.

Image Credit: Flickr/ Dennis Wilkinson

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