Been looking into getting to know my spices and educating my palate on them. I have been studying the spice, smelling them and some of them tasting as well (without it being cooked). I have written a little bit about each one that I have studied so I can get the knowledge in my head rather than on paper. Let me know what you think and if anything needs touching up.
Paprika is the spice from dry bell peppers or chilli peppers that have been grounded down into a powder. It is used in powder form and can be bought normal or hot. Paprika has a very distinct dark red colour and is easily spotted. When I think of spices Paprika is one of the first things that comes into my head. Used commonly all over the world but mainly associated with Hungarian cuisine. Paprika like all other spices has a distinctive taste. Sweet and hot in taste but also has a sweet aroma to it as well. Although it adds flavour to food it also adds colour. High in vitamin C and antioxidants. Paprika works in many dishes whether it is used for colour of flavour. Great on chicken, pork and veal. Works well with sauces, garnishes and for BBQ’s.
Cayenne pepper is a hot chilli pepper that is used to flavour dishes with a hot kick. This spice is used for making dishes spicy, and used often in the making of hot sauces. Cayenne pepper has a deceptive mild aroma unlike its fiery taste. When using Cayenne pepper in cooking it is essential to be careful about how much you add as it is strong in small doses making it very easy to over use resulting in an overpoweringly spicy dish. Used a lot in Mexican and Cajun cuisine but is a staple in Asian cooking as well.
Nutmeg is the seed from the nutmeg tree that also is the source of the mace spice. Nutmeg can be bought ground or as a whole seed but is better quality grated from the seed which has a more intense flavour. It is slightly egg shaped and quite small. It has a sweet taste and works well with cinnamon, eggs, cheese, sweet dishes, savoury dishes and is a common ingredient in a white sauce and is best used in small amounts.
Turmeric also known as Indian Saffron is an Asian spice and is part of the ginger family. It has a orangey-yellow colour and a mustardy aroma. It has a slightly bitter, earthy, peppery taste with a little bit of a kick. Turmeric adds colour to foods as well as enhancing their flavours. When you cook with turmeric the flavour of it becomes stronger so when using remember less is more. It is important in curries and chutneys but goes well with duck, chicken and rice.
Cinnamon is a spice obtained from the bark of certain trees. It can be bought as cinnamon sticks or as a powder. Mostly used in Sweet and savoury dishes and works brilliantly with apples. It has a strong aroma and a spicy, bitter but sweet taste. Used often in baking, but also in some meat dishes as well.
Edited by taylor94 - 3/27/13 at 5:46pm