Seasoning

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The ingredients for achiote paste: ground annatto, oregano, ground cumin and ground cloves
For other uses, see Seasoning (disambiguation).

Seasoning is the process of adding salt, herbs, or spices to food to enhance the flavor.

General meaning[edit]

Seasonings include herbs and spices, which are themselves frequently referred to as "seasonings".[citation needed] However, Larousse Gastronomique states that "to season and to flavour are not the same thing", insisting that seasoning includes a large or small amount of salt being added to a preparation.[1] Salt may be used to draw out water, or to magnify a natural flavor of a food making it richer or more delicate, depending on the dish. This type of procedure is akin to curing. For instance, seasalt (a coarser-grained salt) is rubbed into chicken, lamb, and beef to tenderize the meat and improve flavor. Other seasonings like black pepper and basil transfer some of their flavor to the food. A well designed dish may combine seasonings that complement each other.

In addition to the choice of herbs and seasoning, the timing of when flavors are added will affect the food that is being cooked.

In some cultures, meat may be seasoned by pouring sauce over the dish at the table. A variety of seasoning techniques exist in various cultures.

Oil infusion[edit]

Infused oils are also used for seasoning. There are two methods for doing an infusion — hot and cold. Olive oil makes a good infusion base for some herbs, but tends to go rancid more quickly than other oils. Infused oils should be kept refrigerated.

Escoffier[edit]

In Le Guide culinaire,[2] Auguste Escoffier divides seasoning and condiments into the following groups:

Seasonings[edit]

Salts
  1. Saline seasoningsSalt, spiced salt, saltpeter.
  2. Acid seasoningsPlain vinegar (sodium acetate), or same aromatized with tarragon; verjuice, lemon and orange juices.
  3. Hot seasoningsPeppercorns, ground or coarsely chopped pepper, or mignonette pepper; paprika, curry, cayenne, and mixed pepper spices.
  4. Saccharine seasoningsSugar, honey.

Condiments[edit]

Condiments
  1. The pungentsonions, shallots, garlic, chives, and horseradish.
  2. Hot condimentsMustard, gherkins, capers, English sauces, such as Worcestershire, Baron Green Seasoning, Harvey's Sauce, ketchup, etc. and American sauces such as chili sauce, Tabasco, A1 Steak Sauce, etc.; the wines used in reductions and braisings; the finishing elements of sauces and soups.
  3. Fatty substances—Most animal fats, butter, vegetable greases (edible oils and margarine).

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Larousse Gastronomique (1961), Crown Publishers
    (Translated from the French, Librairie Larousse, Paris (1938))
  2. ^ Auguste Escoffier (1903), Le Guide culinaire, Editions Flammarion