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What is Better to Use in Cooking - Spices or Seasonings?

Seasonings and spice mixtures are used in cooking recipes even more often than individual spices. Not everyone can, based on their experience and intuition, choose the right spices for a particular dish. If we are talking about the fact that the dish is not hot enough or salty, everything is simple here - add salt and hot pepper. Although the situation with the hotness of dishes is not so simple - you can add hotness, using a fairly wide range of spices. And again, there is a choice - which spices to use and how they combine with each other. For this reason, pre-selected combinations of various spices, called seasonings, have become widespread. Two main types of seasonings have emerged - traditional spice mixtures for use in recipes of national cuisines and spice mixtures intended for cooking a certain type of dish or suitable for certain food products.

Seasonings in National Cuisines of the World

Each national cuisine of the world includes many traditional recipes. But their cooking would be impossible without the color that the seasonings added to them give the dishes. For example, Indian cuisine cannot be imagined without a large set of curries and garam masala, and French cuisine without a bouquet of garni and Provence herbs. In Georgian cuisine, such seasonings are Svan salt, dry adjika and khmeli-suneli; in Chinese cuisine, mixtures of xuyangmian and five spices are used; in Arab countries and South African countries, a mixture of spices Ras el Khanut and many other seasonings are common. It is worth remembering that any seasoning cooking according to a national recipe includes a basic set of spices, which determines its main properties. But otherwise, the composition of the seasoning may vary depending on the culinary traditions of the region where it is cooked, on the availability of a particular spice, and even on the season. For this reason, it makes no sense to argue about which adjika or garam masala is right - all seasoning recipes deserve the right to exist.

Seasoning for a Specific Food Product or Dish

A large group of seasonings is made for cooking a certain type of dishes - seasonings for soups, stews, roasts, pilaf, or for cooking dishes from a certain type of food - seasoning for meat, fish, seafood, pastries. In this case, the composition of the seasoning is determined not by the culinary traditions of a particular country or region, but by how well the spices included in the seasoning are combined with a particular dish or dish ingredient. Such seasonings are produced in large quantities, since there are also quite a few recipes for dishes and the products from which they are cooked. Such seasonings are especially popular with busy people who cook at home. When there is no time to invent and invent something, choosing the right combinations of spices, ready-made seasoning is the best solution.

Homemade Seasonings or Industrial Spice Mixes?

It would seem that both industrial and home seasonings consist of the same spices - so how do they differ? In addition to the range of spices, there is a significant difference between homemade and industrially produced spice and seasoning mixtures, which can cause harm to health if industrial seasonings are consumed in large quantities for a long time. This difference is a flavor enhancer, in addition, substances are added to industrial ground spice mixtures and even to individual spices that prevent them from caking. And if anti-caking additives do not bring much harm, then the flavor enhancer is another matter.

Seasonings and Flavor Enhancer

The flavor enhancer acts on human taste buds, increasing their sensitivity. But the constant stimulation of the senses leads to the opposite - gradually the sensitivity to various tastes decreases. And, unfortunately, this applies not only to taste buds, but also to other organs, for example, vision. In some national cuisines of the Far East, for example, in Chinese and Japanese cuisine, flavor enhancers are traditionally used. These may be natural flavor enhancers derived from algae or industrially produced flavor enhancers, but they all work in the same way. For this reason, in these countries, vision problems are widespread in a large number of people. On the one hand, this is not a big problem, especially with the moderate use of industrially produced seasonings, but one should not forget about their features either.

Seasonings and Spice Mixes - Buy or Cook?

There are three options for obtaining seasonings and spice mixtures - you can buy a seasoning made industrially, you can buy a seasoning prepared by an individual spice supplier, of which there are currently enough online stores, or you can make a seasoning yourself according to its recipe. Everyone can choose the option for obtaining seasoning that suits him best for various reasons.