Spices & Condiments
A Spice is a dried seed, fruit, root, bark, or vegetative substance primarily used for flavouring, colouring or preserving good. Sometimes a spice is used to hide other flavours. Spices are distinguished from herbs, which are parts of leafy green plants also used for flavouring or as garnish.
Many spices have antimicrobial properties, they are more commonly used in warmer climates, where more infectious disease, are prevailing. Thats why we use spices prominently in meat, which is particularly susceptible to spoiling.
A spice may have an extra use, usually medicinal, religious ritual, cosmetics or perfume production, or as a vegetable. For example, turmeric roots are consumed as a vegetable and garlic as an antibiotic.
A Condiment is an edible substance, added to food to impart a particular flavor, enhance its flavor. India produces 70% of the global production of spices in 2010 (1,051,000 Tons [FAO] Tamil Nadu 7th place state in area and 5th place in production of spices.
In Tamil Nadu a variety of spices like Chillies, Turmeric, Tamarind, Corainder, Cardemom, Pepper, Curryleaves and other minor spices like Garlic, Ginger, Cloves, Mint are grown. Out of the Total Horticulture Area (922005 Ha), Spices occupies 15.12% (139358 Ha) of the area and 5.62% (804331 MT) of production in the state. Spices are grown in a variety of climatic condition in this state. Chillies and Corainder are the major spices grown in semi arid tracts of Thoothukudi, Ramanathapuram, Sivagangai, Virudhunagar and Thirunelveli districts and Chillies is the major spice exported from India. In the western ghat districts like Coimbatore, Dindigul, Theni, Thirunelveli and Virudhunagar 90% of the Cardemom is cultivated. Ginger, Garlic and Pepper are the special spice crops grown in Dindigul and The Nilgiris district. Clove is an unique crop cultivated in 600 Ha in the High Rainfall areas of Kanniyakumari District.
Clove was first introduced to India around 1800 AD by the East India company in its 'spice garden' in Courtallam, Tamil Nadu. Induced by the success of its introduction, cultivation of clove was extended during the period after 1850 AD to Nilgiris (Burliar), Turmeric, the water loving crop, is extensively cultivated in Erode, Salem, Dharmapuri, Namakkal, Villupuram districts where adequate irrigation water is available. Tamarind is the tree spice grown in almost all districts except The Nilgiris.
Tamil Nadu contributes 27% of the total exports of spices through Chennai and Tuticorin ports. Tamil Nadu is the largest producer of Clove and Tamarind in the country.
The Spices board have established Sivagangai Spices Park in 2008, which is dedicated to Corainder, Tamarind, Mundu variety of Chilli, Erode - Salem variety of turmeric and medicinal plants. Madras curry powder is a popular generic name in the International Market.
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