GLOSSARY OF SPICE TERMS
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ASTA – American Spice Trade Association (return to top)

ASTA Color – A rating based on the official ASTA method for determining extractable color; generally applied to paprika (return to top)

Aril – An accessory appendage of certain seeds (ex: mace around the nutmeg seed) (return to top)

Bite – The heat factor in a spice. Bite is experienced by the tongue, flavor through the nose. (return to top)

Bulbiet - A small bulb of bulblike body usually borne on the stem (ex: garlic) (return to top)

Bulk Index - Cubic centimeters occupied by 100 grams of spice or seasoning. (return to top)

Capsule – A dry fruit that splits open at maturity (ex: sesame). (return to top)

Condiment – A substance used to give relish to food; a seasoning. (return to top)

Custom blend – A unique blend produced to a food manufacturer's formula or needs. (return to top)

Decorticated – To remove the outer husk from (ex: cardamom). (return to top)

Dehydrated – Process by which fresh produce is dried and converted to various forms for ease of handling and final use. (return to top)

Distillation – A purification process in which a liquid is converted to vapor by the external application of heat and the vapor is condensed to the purified liquid by some means of cooling. (return to top)

Dry Solubles – Spice extractives plated on a dry soluble carrier. (return to top)

Encapsulated Seasonings – Extractives blended with a solubilized gum which is spray-dried. As the spray dries, the gum forms a protective film around the flavor particles. (return to top)

Essential Oils – The volatile oils of a spice, which produce most of its flavor. (return to top)

Extractives – Volatile and non-volatile components which produce a spice’s total flavor. (return to top)

Extractable Color – A measure of the color a spice will impart to a liquid medium. (return to top)

Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act of 1938 – This act and its subsequent revisions set up the standards of identity and quality for edible spices in the United States: The Food and Drug Administration enforces these regulations. (return to top)

Freeze Drying – A drying technique that produces an end product, which is dry, not frozen. The term comes from the material to be dried being frozen and remaining that way during the complete drying process. (return to top)

Herb – The leafy products of culinary flavoring plants of the temperate zone. (return to top)

Hull – The outer covering, or husk, of certain fruits or seeds. (return to top)

Indigenous – Native to a given place. (return to top)

Oleoresins – Viscous, resinous materials extracted from spices, containing both volatile and nonvolatile portions. (return to top)

Pigment – Any of various coloring matters found in the cells and tissues of plants and animals. (return to top)

Piperine – A colorless, crystalline alkaloid found in black and white peppers. (return to top)

Pungency – A slightly sharp sensation registered by the tongue and olfactory senses. (return to top)

Rhizome – A creeping, underground rootlike, often fleshy stem (ex: ginger). (return to top)

Scoville – A method of testing and rating the heat level of capsicums. (return to top)

Seed – The ripened or matured ovule, consisting of two coats, an embryo, and reserve food. (return to top)

Spice – Any dried plant product used for culinary purposes to enhance the flavor and appearance of food. Historically, "spices" meant the tropical items, such as pepper, ginger, cloves, and cinnamon. (return to top)

Surface Color – Color visible to the eye and which can be measured by reflectance (ex: paprika). (return to top)

Vanillin – A colorless, crystalline compound, the fragrant constituent of vanilla. Also produced synthetically. (return to top)

Volatile Oils – Naturally occurring oils which are found in various plants, especially in the flowers and leaves, which give spices their characteristic flavor and odor. (return to top)