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Plant power, naturally good and preserved

24th August 2021, Echo Web

Plant power, naturally good and preserved

One of the extraordinary benefits of dried herbs and spices is that in the dried form they have an incredibly long useful life if they are stored correctly, often at least a couple of years and this meant that they could survive long journey times, allowing trade from where they occurred naturally with people in distant lands. Since pre-history trade in these exotic materials built up by exploiting the scarcity of herbs and spices in lands where they did not naturally occur but where a strong market had developed for their powerful flavours and other qualities. These were often used for botanical art supplies and even botanical supplements. How the arrival of these new pungent and piquant ingredients must have changed the once bland and monotonous flavours of food.

Drying is very often done simply by leaving harvested material in the sun. It is common to see vast areas of peels or flowers strewn on trestles or floor areas in the baking sunshine. Where this is not suitable climatically or from a speed perspective, then some assistance from mechanical drying using various heat sources may also be used.

The removal of water by drying leaves, roots, bark etc the plant material is much less likely to develop moulds or other degradation mechanisms (such as rotting) and hence physically allows the material to stabilize whilst maintaining their essential oils and other goddesses.

Today, of course, goods are moved freely and cheaply around the globe and storage and technology has improved preservation for even longer shelf life. Current constraints are less about efficient transport, but more around crop shortages due to natural disasters (now being exacerbated by climate change) and to some extent a shortage of picking labour based on changing economic dynamics and of course the Covid Pandemic. Any reduction in the supply side is worsened by ever-increasing demand and the world human population continues to grow along with an ever-increasing desire for things natural and good.

Mimea is a supplier of dried botanicals that can be used in a range of different aspects from fragrances, to arts and for brewing.

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