• The Fantastic Spices World
  • The Fantastic Spices World
  • The Fantastic Spices World
  • The Fantastic Spices World

THE PROCESS AFTER HARVESTING
Spices contain high amount of water(%55-85) during the harvest,this amount has to be reduced to %8-12. Also,the vast amount of plant organs counted as spices such as (root, rhizom, shell, stem, leaf, flowers, fruits, seeds) differ in colour, shape, size and structure. The process after the harvest differs in important dimensions. Until the spice meets the consumer the process considering washing,cleaning of shells,drying,cleaning,classification and the packaging may be discrete for each and every spice. During this kind of procedure the main purpose must be to preserve the taste,scent and colour which are essential for quality.

PRELIMINARY TRANSACTIONS

1.Washing

Undersoil used spices such as root and rhizom must be washed in order to be cleaned from dirt and foreign substances. If possible usage of pressurized water will be needed .Washing will decrease the microbial effects.

2.Detachment of shells

Applied in some roots and rhizoms,especially to ginger. Rhizoms of ginger,before drying process,will be cleaned out with special knifes from their shells by hand. Even though it takes much more time cleaning with hand,it cuts down the loss of fat and damage rate. As a result,%10-12 of the shells will be seperated,to enable drying curcuma and ginger can be sliced,but this languishing procedure to quality is not recommended. In Ceylon cinnamon,the outer shell layer must be torn apart in order to use the inner layer of the shell which are expelled from branches.

3.Drilling

Red peppers are drilled or cracked in order to enable quick drying.

4.Etiolation

This procedure is used vastly as a counteract for enzymes during drying period;but it’s not prefered in onion and garlic because of a loss in their aroma.It’s also not prefered in red pepper and ginger either.

CHEMICAL PROCEDURES

Usage of alkali,antioxidant,lime,sulphur, hydrogen peroxide will differ in different types of spices. In cardamom alkali and sulphur,in ginger lime,in curcuma special chemical solutions.

a)Alkali dealing
b)Antioxidant dealing
c)Etiolation of cardamom
d)Etiolation of ginger

CURING AND OTHERS

To create the desired and typical flavor,different spices such as cinnamon, garlic, saffron, turmeric, vanilla are cured with different techniques.

Cinnamon: Ceylon and Chinese cinnamon is removed from the raw shell on the field, and will be held in small,closed packaging for one night. After a while the shell is slightly softened and becomes an easy job for removing. Such as ;cutting, forming, removing the epidermis and green shell operations, is done immediately.

Garlic: Fumigation is done. Partial drying, addition of antioxidants,with the formation of antiseptic compounds in garlic positive transformations occur. General fumigation rules apply here as well.

Safran: The process of stigma’s, determines the value of saffron. The drying phase under the sun or smoking phase, can lead to distortion in color. Excessive light and oxygen , negatively effects color and taste.

Curcuma: Curing, is the basic process improvement for the desired yellow color and taste.

Vanilla: Harvest of raw fruits, lack the characteristic taste and smell; main flavor component of vanilla (vanilin and sugar) occurs with curing process.

Vanillin, the main flavouring chemical of vanilla, is present only in trace amounts in the green mature beans; upon curing, however, vanillin content increases. The chemical compound from which vanillin is derived occurs in the uncured pods in the form of a glucoside called glucovanillin. During the curing process, this glucoside is hydrolysed to form vanillin and glucose through the action of a β-glucosidase. The activity of this enzyme changes with the maturity of the vanilla beans, being negligible in the green beans and highest in the split, blossom-end yellow beans. Spatially, all of the enzyme is located in the fleshy portion or thick wall of the pods, where most of the glucovanillin is also concentrated. Along the bean length, 40% of glucovanillin has been detected in the blossom end, another 40% in the middle and the remaining 20% in the stem end. Other flavour constituents such as p-hydroxybenzoic acid, p-hydroxybenzaldehyde and vanillic acid are also present in the green beans in their glycosidic forms and are released through enzymatic hydrolysis during curing.

DRYING

The dry usage of most spices helps drying process become a fundamental asset. Sensory properties and adverse effects of the combination and extending the storage period is only possible with an appropriate drying procedure. Drying method, depends on the properties of spices. Before drying, the necessary cleaning and sorting process must be concluded.

Drying under the sun: Very economical, easy, and is a common method. Should be used in suitable climate areas and resistant materials(underground parts, shells, stalks, fruit, seed ) should also be applied.The water in fruits declines to %8-14. Low water content prevents microorganisms and insect damage, increases maintainability. according to the amount of water in materials and features , drying may take several hours or several weeks.Direct and excessive sun,will be a negative impact on the colour and aroma of the spices, standardization between the parties is also difficult.

Drying in shade:Economical and easy to apply in leaves and flowers, but also gives much more quality in products considering the procedure direct under the sun. Products are dried in atmospheres that are closed on top,but open from the sides.

Glass cased drying: more cold and rainy season in this system similar to greenhouses, and small amount of valuable material is used for drying, drying time is shortened, and the influence of enzymes are reduced.

Drying with Hot Air (Mechanical drying, artificial drying):Linked to changes in open-air conditions to prevent quality deterioration and to minimize microbial infection, 60 - 70 ° C hot air drying is done in 4-9 hours, should be preferred where climate is not the appropriate and in spice producing large-scale enterprises. The first plant costs might be high standard, but clean and high quality products are obtained.

GRADING

Spices can be graded by size, density, colour, shape and flavour. Machines are available for larger scale production units.

GRINDING

Grinding may also add value but must be done carefully as there are difficulties. A whole, intact product can be easily assessed for quality whereas a ground product is more difficult. There is a market resistance to ground spices due to fear of adulteration or the use of low quality spices.

A grinding mill needs to be placed in a separate and well ventilated room because of the dust. Great care is needed to ensure uniform sized pieces/powders after grinding and also to prevent heating of spices during grinding.

PACKAGING

The packaging requirements depend on;

-->  the type of spice
-->  whether it is ground or intact
-->  the humidity of storage.

Most intact spices will store adequately in sacks/boxes if the humidity of the air is not too high. Ground spices can also be stored without special packaging if humidity is low but over long periods there is a loss of flavour and risk of contamination and spillage.

It is therefore better to store spices in a barrier film such as polypropylene (essential in areas of high humidity) to provide an attractive package, retain spice quality and prevent contamination and losses. If polypropylene is not available, cellulose film is adequate if it is heat sealable. Polythene is a poor substitute and should only be used for short term storage as it allows the flavour/aroma of the spices to escape.

FACTORS AFFECTING QUALITY:

The dried product’s quality can be determined by many factors such as;raw materials, preparation, loading amount of time, temperature and method effects. The air temperature, and time will determine the quality.To maintain the high capacity and minimum cost,using the highest temperature which will not harm the product is essential. Optimum drying temperature and the product's critical water, will depend on the structure and water content of the material.

Dried before packaging fruits, seeds and spices will be removed from any foreign substances and will be divided into quality classes. Sieve’s according to the size and trior’s according to the state, based on density separator’s,for metal contamination magnet system’s are used.

Quality classification is done according to spices on the different dimensions such as; shape, size, color, taste and aroma as a combination.In International trade of spices,conformed ratings of quality is vitally important in pricing and usage.

REFERENCES AND SOURCES:

Akgül, A., 1993, Baharat Bilimi ve Teknolojisi, Gıda teknolojisi Derneği Yayınları,Ankara, 190-200.

Peter, K.V., 2004, Handbook of Herbs and Spices, Woodhead Publishing,Cambridge, 331.