Spices are those plants, the products of which are made use as food adjuncts to add aroma and flavor. Condiments are also spices, products of which are used as food adjuncts to add taste only. Both spices and condiments contain essential oils which provide the flavor and taste. They are of little nutritive value. They are used whole, ground, paste, or liquid form, mainly for flavoring and seasoning of food. Most spices increase the shelf life of food, especially the dry varieties. Some are added to improve texture and some to introduce a palatable colour or odour.
There are about 63 species grown in India and almost all spices can be grown in India because of the varied climate tropical, subtropical and temperate.
Importance of Spices Industry in India:
- India produces spices on 2.0 million ha with an annual production of about 2.3million tones valued at about Rs. 4500 crores, contributing nearly 20% of world’s production, 30 % of the trade in terms of quantity but only 10% in terms of valve.
- Nearly 90 – 95% of the total production is consumed locally and the rest exported.
- India is the biggest exporter of spices and annually exporting about 1.9 lakh tone of different spices and spice products earning a foreign exchange of about 700 crores.
- They are indispensable part of our culinary, preparations especially, used for flavouring and seasoning of food.
- Most of the spices have potential medicinal values. Besides, the spices and spice products are also indirectly used as flavouring or colouring agents or as preservatives in many pharmaceutical preparations.