Legacy of Indian Spices: Its Production and Processing
Centuries before Greece and Rome had been discovered, sailing ships carried Indian spices-black pepper, cardamom, large cardamom, herbal perfumes and natural fibre textiles to Mesopotamia, Arabia and Egypt. It was the lure of these that brought many seafarers to the shores of India. The legacy of Indian Spices is more than 7000 years old (BC 5000). Routes led by Christopher Columbus and Vasco de Gama, were to become the world’s first step towards globalization, in the pursuit of a more flavored and scented food. Due to different climatic conditions across the country, India produces a variety of spices which are indisputably an indispensable part of global and Indian economy as India produces 75 types of spices out of the 109 listed with the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). Even in the ancient and medieval ages, Indian spices played a significant role in strengthening the economic conditions. Indians were thus crowned as the pioneers in the knowledge of spices, and the Malabar Coast has been known as a Spices Kingdom. Preferred as flavouring agents, their potential to prevent food spoilage and their anti-microbial activity, spices are heading to be the most sought after group of crops, in the coming centuries and generations. This chapter has attempted to touch upon the historical routes and landmarks, the production statistics of spices, the potential of this group of crops which are reflected in the changes in global trends in consumption and demand, while highlighting the medicinal properties and constituents, and value addition in spices. It has also highlighted spices as an unifying agent of the world’s culinary choice and usage.Increased spices consumption reflects enhanced quality of food and associated freedom from hidden hunger and malnutrition.
KeywordsExport value Global usage Medicinal constituents Production Spice route Value addition
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