Pickles, The Taste of India with Indian Spices

The unique taste and flavor of Indian pickles is really alluring. Indian pickles have been made since ancient times. These are mentioned in Vedic texts also. Pickles are prepared in every region of the country and are a ‘must have’ in every Indian home. Pickles stimulate your taste buds, and add that extra spicy, sweet and sour taste to the food.

What are Pickles

To ‘pickle’ a food item is to preserve it in brine, vinegar or oil. Indian pickles are made from vegetables, fruits, fish or meat. The common variety of Indian pickles is made from raw mango, and lime. Many other vegetables are also pickled like cauliflower, ginger, garlic, tomato, turnip, mushroom, amla, meat, fish, prawns etc. Rind of some citrus fruits is also pickled.

The vegetables are cut into pieces, sun dried and mixed with spices and preserved in oil or brine in glass jars or porcelain jars. The jars are kept in the sun for a few days till the vegetable becomes tender. For some pickles the food item is cooked in oil along with spices and then preserved.

Different types of spices used in pickles

A number of different spices are used in different pickles. The spices used also differ according to the region of the country. Mango pickle made in North India has different spices than mango pickle made in South India or pickle made in western part of the country.

Spices like red chilli powder, turmeric, fenugreek, asafetida, mustard seeds, cloves, cumin and coriander are used for making pickles. Ginger, asafetida, turmeric and saunf help to digest the food. Some spices have cooling properties like cumin and cardamom while cloves, cinnamon and ginger have warming properties.

The oils used to make pickles vary from region to region. In North India, mustard oil is used where as in the west and central part of the country peanut oil is used. Sesame oil is used in South Indian states.

Varieties of Pickles

  • Indian Lime Pickle – It is made lime and mustard seeds, garlic, ginger, cumin, coriander, chilli powder, brown sugar, white vinegar, salt and mustard seed oil.
  • Andhra Tomato Pickle – This yummy pickle from Andhra Pradesh can be eaten with just plain rice also. It is made from red tomatoes with tamarind, green chillies, fenugreek seeds, cumin seeds, asafetida, salt and sesame seeds oil.
  • Mango Pickle – One of the popular variety of pickles is mango pickle which is made in every state. In North India it is made from raw mangoes with mustard seeds, aniseed, nigella seeds, fenugreek seeds, red chilli powder, turmeric powder, salt and mustard oil.
  • Stuffed Red Chilli Pickle – This tasty pickle from North India is made from large red chillies with mustard seeds, cumin seeds, fennel seeds, aniseeds, red chilli powder, mustard powder, raw mango powder, asafetida, lime juice, salt and mustard oil.

Conclusion
Today Indian pickles are to be seen in the kitchens world over. These can be eaten with vegetarian as well as with non-vegetarian food, with snacks as well as with main meals. You can select from a wide range of pickles available to add that sweet, spicy, sour taste to your food.

Growing Demand for Indian Spices World Over

India produced a total 5.9 million tones of spices in 2012/13, of which nearly 8 to 10 percent was exported to 150 countries.  India accounts for nearly 45 to 50 percent of the spices traded around the world by volume.
According to latest research, rise in demand for spices in the global market has made India a hub for exporting powdered and other spice products, like oleoresins, oils, seasonings and extracts.
Countries that previously imported whole spices have now shifted to ground and blended spices.

Growing Demand

The demand for organic foods is rapidly growing in first world countries like Europe, USA, Japan and Australia. These countries collectively account for around 1 to 1.5 percent of the worldwide market for spice.

Demand for seasonings and oleoresin has led many Indian spice manufacturers to focus on research and technology to manufacture innovative products.
Indian companies have been setting up new infrastructure to meet the current demand for spices around the world which has risen by 20 percent in the last four years. Researchers estimate this value is going to rise further in the next couple of years.

Indian spice industry

The Indian spice industry is divided. Production of spices in the country is a farming business and small farms will remain important in the near future. Growing quality spices to meet demands will be challenging as a lot of small farms that grow spices are owned by private individuals and not by companies.
There is a growing ambition among local Indian companies to expand into new territories and introduce fresh products. In order to meet rising demands Indian companies are looking to other countries such as China and Vietnam, to secure supplies. Sensing the rising profits from exports many multi national companies are partnering with Indian companies with the sole purpose of meeting the global demand for spices.

India imports roughly 0.1million tonnes of spices every year most of which is used for re-exporting.
Indian states like Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Orissa and Madhya Pradesh are the five leading states for the production of spices. The new age urban population around the world is extremely health conscious which is causing rise in demands for organic spices. The three biggest clients of spice manufacturers include retail, industrial and catering sector. Chilly powder was the leading segment in terms of production volume followed by turmeric, garlic and coriander according to a report published in 2013.

With major players from around the world showing interest in Indian spices and joining hands with local companies, the Indian spice industry is growing rapidly. New production units are being set-up around the country to meet demands from the growing health conscious population that prefers choosing natural flavors for spices than cheaper synthetic ones. Majority of this growth is estimated to come from mixed spices and branded spices.
Spices are now slowly becoming the basic building blocks in food application which will grow the industry to an estimated net worth of USD 16 billion by the first quarter of 2018.

Conclusion

As the demand for Indian spices is increasing day by day, Indian manufacturers are producing spices of high quality. These spices can be obtained in blended or in powdered form and can be bought from online stores as well.

Guide to Reading and Understanding The Nutritional Information on Food Packaging and How It can Help in Making Healthy Food Choices

In today’s fast paced life it is important for us to eat healthy in order to stay active. Food manufactures today provide nutritional information on their packaging to help us make healthier choices, but to the some it is difficult to understand and de-code this information.

What is nutritional information?

The information given on the label of the food or drink product will provide detailed quantities of individual ingredients that the product contains along with their nutritional value; these are usually given as per 100g or 100ml or per typical serving of the product. (A typical serving can vary from 10g to 200g depending on the product).

Providing this nutritional information is not mandatory, but if a company decides to print the nutritional information, there are certain guidelines that they are required to follow.

There are 2 standard ways of listing nutritional information; they are ‘group of 4’ and ‘group of 8’.

‘The group of 4’ must contain; energy (calories); protein; carbohydrate and fat.

‘The group of 8’ must contain; energy (calories); protein; carbohydrates, of which sugars; fat, of which saturates; fibre; and sodium.

Certain products might also contain cholesterol information.

Below is an example of a nutritional label:

Ramdev gota instant mix: Nutritional information per 100g product (approx)

Calories

355.77 Kcal

Total Fat

3.89 g

Saturated Fat

0.68 g

Polyunsaturated Fat

0.57 g

Monounsaturated Fat

1.74 g

Trans Fat

0 g

Cholesterol

0 mg

Sodium

1760 mg

Total carbohydrate

64.26 g

Dietary Fibre

6.44 g

Sugars

12.80 g

Protein

15.93 g

Vitamin A

0 µg

Vitamin C

0 mg

Calcium

92.66 mg

Iron

5.41 mg

What does nutritional information mean?

Even though companies provide these information labels, it is important to understand the relevance of the terms used in these labels and how they benefit you.

Energy

This is the amount of energy which you get from the food you eat. It is measured in calories (kcal) or joules (kJ). Guidance Daily Amounts; Male: 2500kcal, Female: 2000kcal.

Protein

The body requires protein for growth, development and repair. Guidance Daily Amounts; Male: 55g, Female: 45g.

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are what the body turns into energy. They come in two forms, simple or complex. In the nutritional information they can be combined or separated.

  • Simple carbohydrates- On the labels simple carbohydrates are sometimes mentioned as refined or as natural sugars like milk, honey, fruit juice etc.
  • Complex carbohydrates- These are starch based and take longer time for digestion. These contain vitamins, fibre and minerals also. Foods like bread, cereals rice, potatoes etc. contain complex carbohydrates. FatOn the label the information about fat also mentions saturated fats, monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats. Saturated fats are not good while unsaturated fats are good.

Fibre

The dietary fibre gives volume to our food which in turn gives the feeling of fullness and also prevents constipation.

Sodium

On the food labels ‘sodium’ means the amount of salt in the food packet. 2.5 g of sodium means 6g of salt

Conclusion

It is important for us to read the nutritional information provided on the products as this helps us to understand what we are eating or drinking and how it effects our health. Healthy food will help us lead is an active and healthy life.

Why is Packaging Important for The SPICE Industry

Spices are derived from various plant parts; bark, flower, buds, fruit, root, seed or secretion. Contributing agents like aroma, flavor and colour can be affected by high temperature, humidity, oxygen, heating, pests, microorganisms and birds which work in tandem to cause different type of degenerations.

Causes of Degeneration in Spices

  • Loss of aroma and flavor- This may be caused due to loss of oil content because of evaporation and seepage through the packaging or due to the oxidation of some aroma components.
  • Bleaching of colour – The colour of some spices which contain natural pigments, like bell peppers, red chillies, saffron and green cardamoms, may bleach as these have natural pigments. This happens due to oxygen and increases in the presence of light, humidity and high temperature.
  • Loss of free flowing nature: Spices tend to become soggy due to moisture from the surrounding which penetrates through the packaging.
  • Insect and rodent infestation: If not provided proper packaging and storage, spices tend to get infested by a variety of insects and rodents that can cause a great deal of damage.

Types of Packaging:

  • Bulk Packaging- Traditionally the whole spices are packed in jute bags of capacity varying between 10 kg to 70 kg. The jute bags may or may not have a lining of polyethylene. For some spices double jute bags with lining are also used.
  • Consumer Packages – The exporters have a wide range of choice to select the consumer packages for use in domestic market and also for export market. The kind of packaging material they choose depends upon a number of factors like
    • Shelf-life
    • Climatic conditions during storage, transportation and distribution
    • Type/sector of market
    • Consumer preferences
    • Printability and aesthetic appeal

Types of packages used as consumer packs:

  • Glass bottles of different sizes and shapes with labels and have caps of metal or plastic.
  • Printed tinplate containers with dispensing systems
  • Composite containers with dispensers
  • Plastic containers which have plugs and caps
  • Printed flexible pouches like pillow pouch, gusseted pouch, stand-up pouch.
  • Lined cartons

Materials required to package Spices & Spice Products

In order to avoid or lessen the degeneration of spices during transportation and storage the materials used for packaging must be able to prevent:

  • Spoilage and spillage of the contents
  • Spoilage due to humidity, light, temperature and oxygen.
  • Loss of aroma and flavor
  • damage due to insects and mites
  • loss of oil and fat content of the spice

Every spice is different and they are valued for different reasons like flavor, colour, pungency, size etc. Dry spice mixtures and powdered spices are packed in similar manner. Mixes which contain salt, black salt or roasted gram powder are packed in glass, tin or plastic containers.

For masala pastes blister packs are used for short shelf life, but for export market glass or pet jars are used.

Ramdev Foods are exporters of Indian spices and have been recognized by Spice board of India for their quality of spices. They take good care of the packaging of all their food products, spices, mixes etc.

Conclusion
Thus Proper packaging is essential to avoid damages during storage and transportation. The packaging materials should protect the contents from spoilage, damage due to environmental changes, should protect the aroma and loss of flavor and be oil, fat and insect resistant.