Processing Spice Crops, Part 3 Capsicum, Dill, Oregano, Coriander, Mint


Capsicum fruits contain a fixed oil, resin, coloring matter, a pungent principle, protein, cellulose, pentosans, mineral elements, etc. Thee principal coloring principle of capsicum fruits is the carotenoid pigment capsanthin. The pungent principle of capsicum is capsaisin. The quantity of capsaicin in capsicum varies, being greatest in the hot peppers, and slight or almost nil in the mild or sweet fruits.

Capsicum spices are prepared from the dried fruits of plants of the Genus Capsicum, belonging to the Solanaceae family. From capsicum fruits we get paprika, cayenne pepper, red pepper, chili powder and chilies.

Paprika is manufactured from the large fruits of C. annum, and may be sweet, semi sweet, mildly pungent, or pungent. It ranges in color from a bright rich red to brick-red depending upon the selection, quality and preparation of the pods for grinding. The better the quality, the better the color.

The fruit maybe sundried or dried artificially. After drying, the fruits are sorted into the different grades to be manufactured. Grinding involves the use of roller mills and shifting apparatus. Usually a series of mills with iron rollers and one mill with emery roller are employed. Several grindings and shifting are required to bring the paprika to the required fineness. Finally, the screened paprika is conveyed to a mechanical batcher to be thoroughly mixed and homogenized. It is then packed and labeled for the market.

Paprika has many culinary uses. It is employed for flavoring and garnishing meat and fish dishes, poached and deviled eggs, salads, canapés, etc. It is used by the food manufacturing industry in the preparation of fancy meats, catsup, sauces and other prepared foods.

Cayenne pepper is obtained from the dried fruits of C. frutescence or some other small fruited species of capsicum. The dried chilies are mechanically ground and then sifted through a fine screen to produce the pepper.

Red pepper is the ground product derived from the above chilies and also from the large long peppers to the cayenne group such as the long red cayenne.

Cayenne and red peppers, used with discretion, add flavor to meat, fish, egg dishes, sauces, etc.

Chili powder is prepared from the mild or pungent capsicums including the large Mexican chili pods with the addition of other spices such as cumin, oregano, garlic powder and onion powder. Chili powder is used in the preparation of chili con carne, fish and oyster cocktail sauces, and with eggs, omelets, stews, etc.


Dill fruit contains a volatile oil, fixed oil, protein, cellulose, calcium oxalate, mineral elements, etc. The volatile oil, about 2 to 4%, is colorless pale yellow and with the odor of the spice. The chief constituent of the oil is carvonee (about 40-50%). Its presence permits the use of dill as a substitute for caraway.

Dill seed is available whole or ground. It is used to flavor soups, meat dishes, meat and fish sauces, salads and pickles. It is employed commercially in the preparation of pickles, and to flavor processed meats, fancy sausages and bologna.


Oreganum or Oregano contains a volatile oil, fixed oil, proteins, cellulose, pigment, mineral elements, etc. It consists of the dried leaves and flowering tops of a variety of oreganum vulgare of the mint family.

Dried oreganum has a strong aromatic odor, and a warm pungent, bitter taste. It is used to flavor soups, meat, fish and egg dishes, meat sauces, chili con carne and other dishes.


Coriander fruit contains a volatile oil, fixed oil, tannin, protein, cellulose, pentosans, calcium oxalate, mineral elements, etc. The volatile oil (about 0.l to %) is a colorless or pale yellow liquid with the odor and flavor of spice. The chief constituent of the oil is coriandrol di- linalool).

Coriander seed is available whole or ground. It is used to flavor pastries, cookies, buns and cakes. It is employed commercially to add flavor to some processed meats. Whole coriander seed is an ingredient of whole mixed pickling spice. Ground coriander seed is a constituent of curry powder, and of seasonings for pork sausages, bologna and frankfurters.


Peppermint and spearmint constitute the dried mint of the spice merchant. Peppermint contains a volatile oil, fixed oil, resin, tannin, cellulose, pentosans, pigment, mineral elements, etc. The chief constituent of peppermint oil is l-menthol with a strong peppermint-like odor and cooling taste and l-menthone, ketone with an odor reminiscent of peppermint, and a bitter taste less than that of menthol. Spearmint contain a volatile oil, fixed oil, resin, tannin, cellulose, pentosans, pigment, mineral elements, etc. The volatile oil of spearmint is a colorless, yellow or greenish-yellow liquid with the characteristic spearmint odor and taste. The coil contains l-carvone (50% or more), l-limonene, etc.

The plants are harvested when in bloom. Generally, they are allowed to partially dry in the open for a short period of time and the drying completed indoors by a process of carefully controlled, circulating warm air, avoiding overheating and too slow drying. When the leaves have attained the desired degree of brittleness they are stripped from the stems, allowed to dry out completely, and then rubbed through a wire sieve or fragmented mechanically.

Dried peppermint has a characteristic sweetish, strong aroma and aromatic warm, pungent taste, with a cooling after taste; spearmint to a lesser degree with no cooling after taste.

Mint is used to flavor soups, stews, meat and fish sauces, salads, mint sauce, mint drinks and confections.

For more information contact:

Dept. of Science and Technology
Rm. 303 DOST Bldg., DOST Complex,
Gen. Santos Ave., Bicutan, Taguig City 1631
Telephone Nos: (632) 837-20-71 to 82


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