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Seasoning - anything you could help me to expand on.

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

Hey folks, Been trying to get as much study and ground knowledge as possible before I hit college later on this year. I would appreciate all help with the articles I post and anything you could help me expand on or correct would be fantastic.

 

This is my start on seasoning

 

Seasoning

 

Seasoning is the process of improving food and enhancing the flavour of food by using other ingredients and condiments. If food is not seasoned food is bland, tasteless and plain right boring. Seasonings include, salt, pepper, herbs, spices, sugars, vinegars, as well as condiments such as oils, butters, fats, sauces, and wines. Seasonings are categorised into four main categories.

 

Saline Seasoning

 

 Saline Seasonings are your salts. Unlike other seasonings salt does not flavour the food unless it is put in after cooking in which case you get a salty taste. When you cook with salt, the salt intensifies the food making its own flavour shine and stand out more. When seasoning with salt you have to use the right amount. If you use to much salt the end result of flavour will be salty. To judge the right amount the best way to do this is to taste as you go, and get the experience of doing it. Once you do it enough times your judgement becomes better at knowing how much to use.

 

Acid Seasoning

 

Acid seasonings consist of citrus juices and vinegars. The taste of these seasonings raw are strong and sharp. They can either taste sharply sweet or sharply sour. Unlike salt these type of seasonings add flavour rather than intensify. Like all seasonings using to much can result in your dish being over powering. To use the right amount, get the experience using them and taste as you go. If something is to sour, adding some sweetness to it can mellow it out. This also works is something is to sweet you can mellow it with something sour. The best way to season is to never assume and always taste.

 

Hot Seasoning

 

Hot seasonings consist of peppers and spices. Consumed on their own these seasonings are hot to the tongue and can easily over power a dish. When used they can give the dish a nice kick and potentially make the dish spicy. Hot seasonings stand out easily as they are typically quite strong even in small amounts.

 

Saccharine Seasoning

 

Saccharine Seasonings consist of sugar and honey. These seasonings add sweetness to a dish and are mostly used in desserts. They can be used in other dishes such as a honey glazed gammon however I find they are used mostly in sweets or desserts. To much saccharine seasonings can make a food be overly sweet.

 

Summary

 

To becoming efficient in seasonings there are a few things you must do. First is to get the experience using them so your judgment on how much of something to put in and how to redeem mistakes of adding to much. Second is to learn your ingredients, the more you understand what you are using the more competent you will be cooking with them. Third is to learn to taste and educate your palate. By tasting as you go and making mental notes of taste's you educate your palate so when tasting dishes you can pin point ingredients, flavours and seasonings.

post #2 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by taylor94 View Post

If food is not seasoned food is bland, tasteless and plain right boring.

 

I think you may want to reword that.  

 

Have you ever simply bitten into an apple, right off the tree? An orange? Fresh grapes? A fresh tomato? When fruits are picked tree-ripened and in season there's usually no need to season them. 

post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 

Ye good point. Thanks for that. :)

post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 

that's it reworded :)

post #5 of 11

I would add that some sources like to distinguish between seasoning and flavouring food, the former meaning to add just enough of the seasoning that the flavour of the dish is heightened and more intense, but you can't really taste the seasoning (typical examples include salt, black pepper, nutmeg and mace, garam masala in North Indian cuisines), the latter meaning to add just enough to change the flavour of the dish, not just intensify it. Examples of flavouring include salt on crisps (you add so much that you flavour the crisps), black pepper in Chettinad chicken (again, lots of it so that you can really feel it), spices in Asian curries or Middle Eastern dishes, chili peppers in a Texan chili con carne, etc.

 

 

II. Acid seasonings

Also, acid flavourings don't end with citrus juices and vinegars.

 

a) An ancient flavouring still sometimes in use in Europe (e.g. traditional moutarde de Dijon) is verjuice, that is the juice of unripe grapes. To improve the quality of (ripe) grapes and thus wine, some clusters sometimes have to be cut off when still unripe, so that there are enough nutrients for the remaining clusters and thus the flavour is more intense (this my layman's understanding of it at least). As the unripe grapes are very sour, their juice was often used as a souring agent.

 

b) A very widespread souring agent is tamarind. It's a tree with a pod-like fruit, whose pulp is, when diluted with water, used in roughly the same way as lemon juice. It is widespread in South and SE Asian cuisines and is used in Middle East, too.

 

c) Another widely used souring agent is pomegranate syrup. It's made by boiling down the juice of pomegranates until a thick, dark and sour syrup is obtained. It's widely used as a souring agent in Middle Eastern cuisines.

 

d) Especially in Slavic cuisines, you may find many regional soups which are soured with some of the sour brine obtained by lactic fermentation of vegetables (or grains). The best known such soup is borscht, which was originally soured with the brine from fermented red beets, but today is commonly soured with vinegar (though I still insist on using the brine when making it myself). Mačanka from eastern Slovakia, kwasówka from Poland and other soups are soured with sauerkraut juice. Russian rassolnik is soured with the brine from pickled cucumbers (not the vinegar-preserved variety you can buy in a supermarket, but real pickles, that is fermented by lactic fermentation), the Polish soup barszcz biały is soured with ''zakwas'' made by fermenting rye bread in water with garlic and bay leaves (the bread, garlic and bay leaves are discarded), etc.

 

e) Of course, some other naturally sour fruits and vegetables are used in many cuisines to produce sour dishes (some forms of Russian shchi use sour apples or crab apples, then sorrel comes to mind), but here the question is whether these are flavourings or main or secondary ingredients and this in turn raises the question of the definition of flavourings/seasonings.

 

To sum up, souring agents may be naturally sour (citrus juices, pomegranate syrup, tamarind juice...) or their acidity may be the result of fermentation, either lactic (sour brines) or acetic (vinegars).

 

 

III. Hot seasonings

I would call these rather just spices and herbs or something like that, as not all spices are hot (caraway, cumin, cardamom, etc.) and I can't think of a herb that is hot.

 

 

IV. Saccharine seasonings

Apart from various kinds of sugar (palm, beet, cane...) and honey, I would add vincotto, which is a sweet syrup obtained by boiling down the juice of ripe grapes and tree sap syrups made by boiling down the sap of a tree (most notably maple and birch). Also, you might consider stevia, though this is just a current trend I guess (and also probably doesn't fit the name saccharine in spice of its sweetness). After all, why not just use the word sweeteners?


Edited by Slayertplsko - 3/25/13 at 4:36pm
post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 

Very helpful. I appreciate it. If it is ok with you could I take some of what you have wrote and re-write it into my own article using my own wording of course. This has made my study a lot better and hopefully will have it right in the back of my head for future. The next ramsay here I hope :P

post #7 of 11

Of course you can, that's why I wrote it. I'm glad I helped. Also, if you don't mind some more advice, I would simplify the language a bit. I'm thinking of the words saline and saccharine, instead you might want to consider classifying it thus:

1, salts - here you may also write about different kinds of salts and gourmet salts (fleur de sel, Himalayan pink salt, Kalahari salt, etc.) - there's a lot of information on that on the Internet, just google it.

2, souring agents - you may classify them as natural (citrus, tamarind...) and obtained by fermentation, lactic (sour brines) and acetic (vinegars). You may also write something about different kinds of vinegars (apple cider, rice, wine, malt, fruit like blackberry or raspberry - both natural and steeped) and some famous vinegars like that of Modena, that of Jerez, that of Shanxi.

3, sweeteners - you may write here also about different kinds of sugar (malt, cane, beet) and how they're produced, maybe some famous honeys (Manuka, Sidr...), the tradition of making maple and birch syrups and vincotto.

4, herbs and spices

 

You can find all that information just by googling.

post #8 of 11

Saccharine is not sugar and honey. As suggested, sweeteners is a much precise word.

You could add Umami to your list.

Gebe Gott uns allen, uns Trinkern, einen so leichten und so schönen Tod! Joseph Roth.
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Gebe Gott uns allen, uns Trinkern, einen so leichten und so schönen Tod! Joseph Roth.
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post #9 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by ordo View Post

Saccharine is not sugar and honey. As suggested, sweeteners is a much precise word.

You could add Umami to your list.


Actually, saccharine is an adjective that means ''relating to saccharides'' and saccharides are a group of organic chemical compounds that include glucose, fructose, sucrose, maltose etc. Thus, sugar (sucrose + other stuff, unless refined), vincotto (glucose, fructose + other stuff), honey (fructose, glucose, maltose, sucrose + other stuff), maple syrup (primarily sucrose and other sugars + other stuff) certainly are saccharine sweeteners. However, not a saccharide, but steviol glycoside is responsible for the sweet taste of stevia. I think you're confusing the word saccharine with the artificial sweetener saccharin (with no -e). But sweeteners is a more precise word, on that we can agree.

 

I was thinking about umami, too. So perhaps there could be a fifth category called ''other''. This would include MSG and perhaps other stuff that might come to mind. But then again, are all those industrial flavour enhancers seasonings? So we're back at the definition of the word. Also, what about condiments? Are soy sauce, fish sauce, garum seasonings or condiments? Dry mustard is certainly a spice. But what about prepared mustard?

post #10 of 11

Edited (redundant so deleted).

post #11 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Slayertplsko View Post


Actually, saccharine is an adjective that means ''relating to saccharides'' and saccharides are a group of organic chemical compounds that include glucose, fructose, sucrose, maltose etc. Thus, sugar (sucrose + other stuff, unless refined), vincotto (glucose, fructose + other stuff), honey (fructose, glucose, maltose, sucrose + other stuff), maple syrup (primarily sucrose and other sugars + other stuff) certainly are saccharine sweeteners. However, not a saccharide, but steviol glycoside is responsible for the sweet taste of stevia. I think you're confusing the word saccharine with the artificial sweetener saccharin (with no -e). But sweeteners is a more precise word, on that we can agree.

 

I was thinking about umami, too. So perhaps there could be a fifth category called ''other''. This would include MSG and perhaps other stuff that might come to mind. But then again, are all those industrial flavour enhancers seasonings? So we're back at the definition of the word. Also, what about condiments? Are soy sauce, fish sauce, garum seasonings or condiments? Dry mustard is certainly a spice. But what about prepared mustard?

Thanks for the correction.

Gebe Gott uns allen, uns Trinkern, einen so leichten und so schönen Tod! Joseph Roth.
Reply
Gebe Gott uns allen, uns Trinkern, einen so leichten und so schönen Tod! Joseph Roth.
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