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This volume deals with the spices of South-East Asia. Spices are defined as those aromatic plants and their parts, fresh or dried, whole or ground, that are primarily used to impart flavour and fragrance to foods and drinks. The term is used in a wide sense and includes the culinary herbs. The volume complements PROSEA, Volume 19: Essential-Oil Plants that deals with aromatic plants whose main use is for the extraction and use of essential oils.
Spices are indispensable in the culinary art, used to create dishes that reflect the history, the culture and the geography of a country. Well-known examples are curry powder, houng-liu (five-spice powder), pizza herbs and "fines herbes". Spices, spice oils and spice oleoresins are also indispensable in the food and beverage manufacturing industry, the perfumery and cosmetic industry and the pharmaceutical industry.
Some spices and derivatives possess antioxidant and antibiotic properties, which has increased interest in the commercial exploitation of aromatic plants for food preservation and crop protection.
With the growing demand for natural and organic products and the increasing clamour to dispense with synthetic flavours and artificial food colouring, the future for spices seems bright.
In this volume, 61 important spices are treated in 50 papers, and 65 species of minor importance are described briefly. A further 150 species, not primarily but secondarily used as a spice, are listed.