Seasoning is the process of supplementing food via herbs, spices, salts, and/or sugar, intended to enhance a particular flavour.

The ingredients for achiote paste: oregano, ground cloves, ground cumin, minced garlic, and ground annatto

General meaning edit

Seasonings include herbs and spices, which are themselves frequently referred to as "seasonings". However, Larousse Gastronomique states that "to season and to flavor are not the same thing", insisting that seasoning includes a large or small amount of salt being added to a preparation.[1] Salt may be used to draw out water, or to magnify a natural flavor of a food making it richer or more delicate, depending on the dish. This type of procedure is akin to curing. For instance, sea salt (a coarser-grained salt) is rubbed into chicken, lamb, and beef to tenderize the meat and improve flavour. Other seasonings like black pepper and basil transfer some of their flavors to the food. A well-designed dish may combine seasonings that complement each other.

In addition to the choice of herbs and seasoning, the timing of when flavors are added will affect the food that is being cooked or otherwise prepared. Seasonings are usually added near the end of the cooking period, or even at the table, when the food is served. The most common table-seasonings are salt, pepper, and acids (such as lemon juice). When seasonings are used properly, they cannot be tasted; their job is to heighten the flavors of the original ingredients.[2]

Researchers have found traces of garlic mustard seeds in prehistoric pots that also contained traces of meat, making this the earliest recording of seasoning food.[3]

Oil infusion edit

Infused oils are also used for seasoning. There are two methods for doing an infusion—hot and cold. Olive oil makes a good infusion base for some herbs, but tends to go rancid more quickly than other oils. Infused oils should be kept refrigerated.

Escoffier edit

In Le Guide Culinaire,[4] Auguste Escoffier divides seasoning and condiments into the following groups:

Seasonings edit

  1. Saline seasoningssalt, spiced salt, saltpeter.
  2. Acid seasoningsplain vinegar (sodium acetate), or same aromatized with tarragon; verjuice, lemon and orange juices.
  3. Hot seasoningspeppercorns, ground or coarsely chopped pepper, or mignonette pepper; paprika, curry, cayenne, and mixed pepper spices.
  4. Spice seasonings – made by using essential oils like paprika, clove oil, etc.

Condiments edit

  1. The pungentsonions, shallots, garlic, chives, and horseradish.
  2. Hot condimentsmustard, gherkins, capers, English sauces, such as Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, etc. and American sauces such as chili sauce, Tabasco, A1 Steak Sauce, etc.; the wines used in reductions and braisings; the finishing elements of sauces and soups.
  3. Fatty substances – most animal fats, butter, vegetable greases (edible oils and margarine).

Non-culinary uses edit

Seasonings have also been used for non-culinary purposes throughout history. Cinnamon, for example, was widely utilized in the production of Kyphi, a perfume used in ancient Egypt.[5] Other herbs and spices have also been used in a variety of historical medicinal treatments, such as those described in Ebers Papyrus.[6]

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ Larousse Gastronomique (1961), Crown Publishers
    (Translated from the French, Librairie Larousse, Paris (1938))
  2. ^ "Seasoning and Flavouring". 24 October 2015. Archived from the original on 13 January 2023. Retrieved 23 December 2020. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  3. ^ Saul, H; Madella, M; Fischer, A; Glykou, A; Hartz, S; Craig, OE (August 2013). "Phytoliths in Pottery Reveal the Use of Spice in European Prehistoric Cuisine". PLOS ONE. 8 (8): e70583. Bibcode:2013PLoSO...870583S. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0070583. ISSN 1932-6203. PMC 3749173. PMID 23990910.
  4. ^ Auguste Escoffier (1903), Le Guide culinaire, Editions Flammarion
  5. ^ Zohar, Amar; Lev, Efraim (January 2013). "Trends in the Use of Perfumes and Incense in the Near East after the Muslim Conquests". Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society. 23 (1): 11–30. doi:10.1017/S1356186312000673. ISSN 1356-1863. Archived from the original on 2023-05-02. Retrieved 2023-05-02.
  6. ^ Temkin, Owsei (1938). "Review of The Papyrus Ebers". Isis. 28 (1): 126–131. ISSN 0021-1753. Archived from the original on 2023-05-02. Retrieved 2023-05-02.