(Last Updated on : 23/02/2009)
Fertilized ripened ovule, almost always covered with a protective coat is the source of seed type spices. Some seed type spices come in the form of seeds such as aniseed, caraway, celery and coriander. These spices are used in their original forms to enhance the flavors of certain food items and at times these are grounded and made into a powdered form or a paste and then used. The seeds are also the fruits of that particular plant but because of their tiny size they are referred to as seeds. Some common seed type spices include ajowan seeds, anardana, caraway, celery and many more.
Ajowan seeds, like other seed type spices, are not viewed nutritionally. They are known as oxidants, as preservatives, or in medicine or for the manufacture of essential oils for ultimate use in perfumery, essences, medicines etc. Anardana, one of the seed types spices, comprises the dried seeds [dried with flesh] of pomegranate fruit. Anardana is mostly used as a condiment for acidification of chutneys and certain curries. Aniseed possesses a sweet, aromatic taste and emits, when crushed, a characteristic agreeable odor and is used for flavoring food, confectionary, bakery products, beverages, anisette and other liquors. Aniseed is one of the seed types spices that have a lot of essential oils as well.
Caraway is widely used as a seed types spices for culinary purposes and for flavoring bread, biscuits, cakes and cheese. Celery seed is the dried ripe fruit of the umbelliferous herb. The celery seed is available as whole or ground. Celeriac seeds are used as alternate seed types spice to celery, but as such do not fetch the value as high as celery. But it can be used for manufacture of various value added products as cheaper alternate to celery to reduce the price without compromising with basic quality. Coriander seeds vary depending upon its country of origin and the agro climatic conditions under which it is grown. The aromatic odor and taste of coriander fruits (seeds) is due to an essential oil.
Cumin or Jeera comprises the dried yellowish to grayish brown seeds of a small slender annual herb of the coriander family, believed to be the native of Egypt, Syria, Turkey and the Eastern Mediterranean region. Black cumin is the dried seed types spices of a small herb about 45 cm in height. The seeds give on steam distillation, a yellowish brown volatile oil with an unpleasant odor.
In India, fennel fruits (seeds as they are known in commerce) are classified in the group of seed type spices for trade purposes according to their place of origin. Some of the well-known types are Bombay, Bihar and U.P fennels; seed type spices from Lucknow are considered to be the best and are priced higher than those from other areas. Commercial samples vary considerably in quality, depending upon the variety or race to which they belong and the care bestowed in harvesting and storing the fruits. Fenugreek seed contains many substances like protein, starch, sugars, mucilage, mineral matters, volatile oil, fixed oil, vitamins and enzymes. Seeds are rich in essential amino acids.
Mustard is also a type of seed used as a whole spice and as well as paste to flavour curries. Mustard paste is also used as a sauce to add taste to fried dishes. The poppy seeds, one of seed type spices are utilised as food and as a source of fatty oil. They are considered nutritive and are used in breads, curries, sweets and confectionery. The seed type spices have a number of medicinal virtues.