In many warmer countries, before refrigeration, preserving meat was challenging. The use of spices was a common way to cure and dry meats for extended storage.
Why add spices to your food?
Adding herbs and spices to food serves several purposes. It:
- enhances the absorption of nutrients
- improves digestion
- increases the nutritional value of food
- most spices are high in antioxidants
- can turn a plain, simple dish into something unique
It’s always a good idea to toast your spices in a dry skillet, in oil/fat or add to simmering liquids to ensure the spices are cooked before consumption. About 7% of the spices imported into the US are contaminated by salmonella bacteria! (Another great reason for you to grow as many herbs and spices as possible)
When you cook a spice it also releases the volatile (essential) oils, which help to bring out the full flavor, a common practice in places like India, Mexico, Morocco, etc.