Spices are flavoured-aromatic substances used commonly as condiments and sometimes as preservatives.
Incidently, Cochin emerged as a historic port town just because it was the house of many and different spices. The first Europeans to claim Cochin as their own were the Portuguese, who landed at the Cochin harbor in 1500. The interest of all the colonial conquerors was the same – Spices.
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Today, Fort Cochin is the heart for spice trading.
Description : A Spice is a seed, fruit, root, bark, berry, bud or vegetable substance primarily used for flavoring, coloring or preserving food. Spices are distinguished from herbs, which are parts of leafy green plants used for flavoring or as a garnish.
The health benefits of spices are legendary. Spices and herbs are highly valued for their prolific medicinal properties since ancient times. They are considered rich sources of Calcium, Iron, Vitamin B, C, Carotene and other antioxidants and can also moderate dietary levels of fat, sugar and sodium when consumed in small proportions.
Several metabolic diseases and ageing related degenerative problems closely associated with oxidative processes in the body can be combated by spices rich in anti-oxidants.
The Capsaicin in Paprika has anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties. Ginger can relieve pain and swelling associated with arthritis. Curcumin in Turmeric can inhibit the growth of cancer cells. Spices act as stimuli to the digestive system.
Indian Spices : Indian Spices are known the world-over for their taste and strong aromatic flavour. India, the ‘home of spices’ produces about 5 million metric tons of spices every year. Out of the listed 86 Spices in the world, India grows 52 of them. India consumes 90% of its spice production and the balance is exported. Kerala is the richest Indian State producing a number of spices. In almost all the 28 States and 7 Union Territories, atleast one Spice is grown in profusion.
Indian spices are known the world over for their aroma, texture and taste. The country produces 65 varieties of spices of the 109 varieties listed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). .The varying climatic conditions in India provide ample scope for the cultivation of a variety of spices. Almost all Indian states produce spices, with the total area under spice cultivation to be 3.21 million hectares.Over the years, the Indian spice community has evolved and matured as a technology-based, quality-conscious, customer-centric, market-driven industry. This has led to it commanding a formidable position in world spice trade with significant additions in the manufacture of value added products. Also, great emphasis has been given to organic farming.
India commands a formidable position in world spice trade. A total of 508555 tonnes of spices and spice products valued at US$1396.51 million were exported during April-November 2013. The spice export basket consists of whole spices, organic, spice mixes, spice blends, freeze dried,curry powders/mixtures, oleoresins,extracts, essential oils,de-hydrated, spice in brine and other value added products. Quality adherence has assumed great importance in recent times.There have been stringent quality control measures in place, with pre-shipment inspection, validation of quality checks, mandatory inspection by the Spices Board. There are strict checks on physical, chemical, microbial parameters including pesticide residues, aflatoxin, heavy metals and other contaminants/adulterants.