Spices crown the food

Spices and spice blends are a great way to quickly change dishes or give them a very special flavor. That brings more variety to the menu. That is why many different spices are used in the ChroniquesDuVasteMonde diet.

Bettina Matthaei develops herbal mixtures (1001 Gewürze GmbH). In an interview, she explains what spices can do, what benefits spice mixes have, and what you can do wrong with cooking with pepper, rosemary & Co.

ChroniquesDuVasteMonde.com: What is the function of spices?

Bettina Matthaei: They give the food taste, aroma and often a nice color. This stimulates the appetite and sets in motion the first important part of the digestive process: salivation. In addition, the ingredients of the spices have a variety of positive effects on digestion and thus ensure better digestibility of the food. This is particularly evident in Indian cuisine, where a lot of vegetarian food is cooked with legumes such as beans, lentils and chickpeas. Legumes are bloating. Coriander, cumin (cumin) and turmeric are included in every curry mix.

In addition to this practical feature, spices can make you happy. Their great aroma makes them inspiring, stimulating or balancing. This is especially true for cinnamon, vanilla, saffron and cardamom. Did you know that the consumption of cardamom is highest in the Scandinavian countries? It is part of almost every dish and acts as a natural anti-depressant during the long darkness.

ChroniquesDuVasteMonde.com: What is the advantage of spice blends over single spices?

Bettina Matthaei: For beginners, spice blends are an ideal "start-up". Without much effort, they can look forward to intense taste sensations. Even if someone has almost nothing at home apart from spice mixes, perhaps because he is just coming home from vacation, that works. It is enough if there are still noodles and tomato paste on the shelf. Complemented with a spice mixture such as "Pep for Pasta" or "Tomato's Best Friend", this is really delicious.

Even for professionals, the mixtures are interesting. Your creativity will be inspired in a different way. They use the spice mix as a basis, think about what might fit and get inspiration for brand new recipes.

In addition, spice blends are simply convenient, because you do not have to buy all the spices individually.

ChroniquesDuVasteMonde.com: What makes a successful spice blend?

Bettina Matthaei: All receptors should be addressed, so that a full-bodied taste results. That's why every mixture needs a tart, a spicy, a sour and a sweet note. This is the most satisfying taste experience, because these four basic taste sensations complement each other, set contrasts or balance out harmoniously. Therefore, add a pinch of salt to the shortcrust pastry or some sugar to a vinaigrette.

ChroniquesDuVasteMonde.com: How to season properly?

Bettina Matthaei: You have to differentiate between spices with volatile and those with stable aromas.

Ground spices such as paprika, black pepper or cayenne pepper are usually volatile. If you cook them too long, their aroma will be lost. To get the flavor, you should give volatile spices rather at the end to the court. However, this has the disadvantage that they no longer penetrate the court. Especially with spice mixtures, which usually contain both stable and volatile spices, it is advisable to add the first half of the mixture at the beginning of the cooking process, for example, when the onions are fried glassy. The second half will be added at the end. The initially added spice penetrates the dish, in the end it provides again for fresh flavor.

If you stir in ground spices, they burn quickly and become bitter. Therefore, for example, meat is marinated like, then the spices can move in before and when searing nothing burns. Stable whole spices such as bay leaves, peppercorns or a sprig of rosemary, on the other hand, can cook in long stewed or cooked dishes right from the start because they release their aroma continuously.

And another tip: Even if in the recipe specific quantities for spices are called: Do not stubbornly to the recommendation! Try for yourself how it tastes best.

ChroniquesDuVasteMonde.com: What to Remember When Storing Spices?

Bettina Matthaei: Heat, humidity and light are bad for spices. Spreader inserts in spice jars are not ideal, as sprinkling directly into the boiling food can cause steam to enter the openings and make the spice moist.You can tell that from the musty smell, then you should rather throw it away. Otherwise, spices can not spoil, but they lose their aroma over time. Especially when exposed to light and moisture, it happens quickly. If they are packed in transparent glass containers, they definitely belong in a dark cabinet. And you should not stand above or beside the stove because of the heat? even if it's handy.

ChroniquesDuVasteMonde.com: How do you recognize good quality?

Bettina Matthaei: High-quality spices can be recognized by the fact that they are very aromatic. Smallest quantities are enough for seasoning. In cheap industrial products, spices are often stored for a long time, even when ground. As a result, they lose their aroma. As with a good wine, the cultivation area, the soil and the care are important even with a good spice. For example, we have a tellicherry pepper on offer, which is a highly aromatic black pepper, which is elegant, round and luscious as a late vintage.

In general, we have made good experiences shopping with organic spices. Spice mixtures should be avoided if the ingredients are initially called sugar or salt. Both are cheap and heavy and replace expensive, high-quality spices. In addition, salt and seasoning are two processes. The cook should be able to salt separately.

About the person: Bettina Matthaei and Katharina Wilck

The spice women: Bettina Matthaei and daughter Katharina Wilck

A spice article in the ChroniquesDuVasteMonde issue 6/2004 was the start. There Bettina Matthaei and her love for spices was introduced. For years, the trained graphic designer and hobby cook has produced cartoons for children, then her second passion was her turn and she wrote cookbooks like "Seasoning: Especially Simple - Simply Special". Since 2003, Bettina Matthaei has been developing the spice blends for the family business "1001 Gewürze GmbH", which manages her daughter Katharina Wilck as managing director.

Shokugeki no Soma OST - Spice (July 2020).

Seasoning, spice mix, spices, eat lightly