The exuberant story of Kerala Spices

Kerala, God’s own country, is a charismatic place for reasons more than one. One such highlight that spotlights exuberant Kerala, is it being ‘The Land of Spices‘. The turning point in the history of Indian Spices was the visit of Vasco da Gama, the Portuguese explorer, in the Malabar’s Coast of Kerala. Muziris hub, aligned to coastal lands and backwaters, used to be a hub of spice export and thorough colonization led to vivid changes that led the foundation stone of an emerging Spice hub. Post colonization wars, India eyed a great opportunity of becoming a leader in the global export of spices. Kerala has taken a steep rise towards conquering the global spice market in the past few centuries, but the existence and the aura of Kerala spices age thousands of years.

The natural and organic range of spices grown in India is a major specialty that governs the produce on a large scale. A varied range of spices comprising of spice mixes and aromatic herbs as indigenous produce, help in leveraging the home cooking and professional cooking integrity. Culinary specialists across the world have often recommended Indian spices as the best ingredients in making a healthy yet tasty dish. The procuring and selling markets in India and Kerala, specifically, have grown past the threshold post-colonization changes and have become a Geographical Identification (GI) for parts like Kozhikode. The spice processing industry in India has attained a state-of-art facility over the years. Better machinery and lesser human intervention in Kerala centric spice industries, have made them the top spice manufacturers of India. The support from the cultivators has been immense in crafting a better business chain across the world. Turmeric, Cardamom, Ginger, Tamarind, and Black pepper are major exports from Kerala and serves numerous big and small industries and market places. The major cultivation belt that harbors spice produce in Kerala constitutes Kottayam, Trivandrum, Kozhikode, and Kollam districts.

The hot and humid climate, ideal for the timely maturation of the Kerala spices supports the plantation and takes it a long way. Indian spices, such as ginger, pepper, clove, etc., due to their origin and plantation processes, contribute towards health benefits. Mixed cropping has been practiced for a long time to create a buffer for the tender spice saplings. Turmeric, the natural antiseptic, keeps of cough and cold and is a great remedy for Alzheimer’s disease and inflammation of joints, and reduces liver damage. Ginger, the digestive expert, helps in adding flavor to food and maintain the metabolism of the body. The versatility of ginger helps fight external infection, microbes, nausea, flu, and inflammation. Black pepper helps in preventing constipation and respiratory diseases, enhances hair growth, and acts as a tough repellant to cancer-causing cells. Cardamom, an antioxidant, helps in lowering blood pressure and prevents chronic illness, bad breath, ulcers, and bacterial infections. These essential spices have contributed happiness to Indian families with a twist in taste and by creating a gem of a dish from something bland at times. Be it spicy chicken tikka in a Punjabi family or Eggplant Bhartha in a vegan family, spices have made its way through the nose to the stomach. A relishing dinner with Creamy Cashew Mutton Curry as the main course, an assortment of dishes in the buffet, Pakodas with Chai, would have been good for nothing if spices weren’t present. Crops like Star anise, Nutmeg, Curry leaves, Malabar Tamarind, Cumin seeds, and Basil leaves have unique values and add multiple benefits to human health.

Chilies, ragi, paddy, maize are used as alternate crops to enhance the soil-profile. Since dry crops like ginger cannot be harvested regularly, alternative farming is put to use. You must have longed for that ultimate taste in home-cooked meals, but have always found something missing, isn’t it? It happens with most of us and probably makes up for another reason to add the essentials (called: Indian spices) in the dish, the next time and expect the heaven opening up while we relish a spoonful of the same. While we are extremely proud of our Motherland for indigenous resources, spice-industry has been a pivotal point in supporting the evolution and progress towards a sustainable future.

2 Thoughts on The exuberant story of Kerala Spices
    14 Jun 2024

    Thank you for such a captivating article on the history of Kerala spices! Your detailed exploration of their origins and impact on global cuisine is both informative and fascinating. This piece has deepened my appreciation for these aromatic treasures. Great read!

    4 Jul 2024

    Your article on Kerala spices is a captivating journey through history and flavor! The vivid descriptions and rich cultural insights make it a must-read for spice enthusiasts and food lovers alike.


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