Monday, August 17, 2009

Spices (part6)

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Cloves, dried or ground seeds from the crimson flowers of an evergreen tree, were once in as much demand as pepper. Used to season meat and baked goods, it is essential in apple desserts, gingerbread, and pumpkin pie. It also enhances the flavor of baked beans and chili, barbecue, and tomato sauces. Clove oil has long been used to ease toothache because its active ingredients is eugenol, which has a numbing, analgesic effects (it's one component of that strange smell some dentist's offices have).

Turmeric comes from the root of a member of the ginger family, and is the major ingredients of curry powder, also used in prepared mustard. More bitter than saffron, turmeric can nonetheless be used in its place for color and flavor. It is used extensively in Indian cuisine, particularly in dishes with lentils and meat. Turmeric is said to be a tonic for the liver, calms inflammation, and relieves digestive problems. It contains curcumin, which has a mechanism similar to the one involved in the pain-relieving action of aspirin, only weaker.

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