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Spice Glossary

AIB (American Institute of Baking) - AIB is an organization that has become well known for their education, audit and certification program for food manufacturing facilities. Their food safety and quality audits cover a company's entire manufacturing operation from start to finish, including key criteria such as GMPs (good manufacturing practices), HACCP (hazard analysis critical control point) and Quality Assurance (QA) programs. Frontier has been AIB certified since 2007. (See also GMPs and HACCP.)

Artificial flavor - The United States Code of Federal Regulations (21 CFR 102.22) defines "artificial flavors" as any substance with the purpose of imparting flavor that is not derived from an herb, spice, fruit, vegetable, or other plant or animal source. A listing of artificial flavors can be found in 21 CFR 172.515 (b), and 21 CFR 182.60.

Autolyzed yeast - Yeast extracts are carefully fermented from cane and/or beet molasses and are autolyzed by enzymes under exacting conditions. Autolysis is the destruction of tissues or cells of an organism by substances, such as enzymes. By varying the fermentation and autolysis conditions, several unique flavor enhancers can be made. Don't confuse this product with active yeast or nutritional yeast.

Bay Laurel - Bay is sometimes called bay laurel or sweet bay in order to identify it as the spice from the Laurus nobilis tree. West Indian Bay, Pimenta racemosa, is the source of bay oil, an ingredient in bay rum. California bay, Umbellularia californica, is sometimes sold as bay leaf spice because of it's very attractive appearance but it is not GRAS (generally recognized as safe for comsumption by the FDA). (See also California Bay.)

Bourbon Vanilla - Bourbon vanilla refers to vanilla grown on what used to be called the "Bourbon islands" - Madagascar, The Comoros, Reunion and Seychelles. Located off the eastern coast of Africa, the Bourbon Islands were named for the French monarchy that ruled them at that time.

CFR (Code of Federal Regulations) - The Code of Federal Regulations is an extensive compilation of all of the federal regulations. It is printed once a year and is also available electronically. The code is divided into titles, so for example title 21 covers all the food regulations. References to the code are made by first stating the title, then the name CFR, then the section and subsection.

California Bay - California bay, Umbelluria californica, is a large, native tree often grown as an ornmental. The leaves are sometimes used in cooking as a replacement for bay laurel. Some spice companies like to sell it instead of true bay because the leaves are more attractive in a clear spice bottle. Unlike bay laurel, California bay is not GRAS (generally recognized as safe for consumption by the FDA) and if sold as bay leaf rather than under a different name, it is not in compliance with FDA regulations which have established a standard of identity for bay of Laurus nobilis. In addition, California bay contains umbellulone, a central nervous system toxin.

Cardamom Pods, White - White cardamom pods are bleached with sulfur to turn the green pods white. White cardamoms are preferred in some countries, especially in Europe although the flavor and aroma of the seeds is adversely affected. Frontier does not sell white cardamon because of the residual sulfer levels on the product.

Decorticated - Decorticating is a term for removing the shell or the pod and the paper thin husk that surrounds cardamom seeds.

Dewhiskered - Dewhiskering is the process of removing the small hair-like stem attached to the seed. Whiskers are commonly found in members of the Umbelliferae family such as anise, dill and cumin seeds.

Fold - A term used to designate the strength of vanilla extract according to the amount of vanilla beans used to make the extract. The FDA sets the standard fold strength. Single fold means the extractive matter from 13.35 ounces of vanilla beans in each gallon of liquid. Double fold vanilla contains 26.7 ounces, triple fold, 40.5 ounces, etc. Most vanilla sold at retail is single fold. The higher folds are usually used in food manufacturing.

GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) - Good Manufacturing Practices, or GMPs, as they are usually referred to, are a system of standards and processes relating to how a product is made or manufactured. The FDA (Food and Drug Association) publishes, in the Code of Federal Regulations, the GMPs for food and dietary supplements. We meet or exceed these manufacturing food safety requirements at Frontier. (GMPs exist for other products such as cosmetics, drugs and medical devices). Frontier is third-party certified by AIB (American Institute of Baking) for food safety and quality. AIB's standards are much more rigorous than the GMPs outlined by the FDA. (See also AIB.)

Glycerin - Glycerin (or glycerine) is a colorless, odorless, viscous, water-soluble liquid with slightly sweet taste. To avoid it, look for vegetable glycerin on the label. Glycerin is used as a carrier for flavors, a humectant (a substance that promotes retention of moisture) and as an ingredient in baked goods to preserve moisture and prevent staleness. Frontier carries USP-grade Glycerin made from plant sources.

HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points) - HACCP is commonly used acronym for the program that defines Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point and is used to describe a program designed to ensure food safety. It is based on identifying the places (Critical Control Points) in a system, starting from receipt of the raw material to the complete assembly of the final product, where chemical, physical or microbiological hazards can enter the process. At each of these points, a plan is put in place to monitor that the defined hazard does not enter the system. Documentation of the program, critical control points and monitoring and corrective actions are all-important parts of a HACCP plan.

Heat unit (HU) - A heat unit is a measure of the pungency (heat) of a chili pepper. A scale using heat units to measure pungency was developed in the early 1900s by Wilbur Scoville. Scoville also developed a taste test method for rating heat intensity of chilies. Advances in technology have replaced Scoville testing at most companies with HPLC (High Pressure Liquid Chromatography) testing, which separates and measures the level of the capsaicin (the chemical responsible for pungency). With HPLC testing, heat intensity is expressed in ASTA units. However, because people are more familiar with the Scoville system, a conversion system has been developed to convert ASTA units to Scoville. (See also Scoville.)

NOP (National Organic Program) - The National Organic Program is responsible for developing, implementing, and administering an organic system of agriculture and the handling and labeling of organic products in accordance with the organic regulations in Title 7, Part 205 of the Code of Federal Regulations. The regulations contained in the code are based on the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990, passed by Congress. A National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) was established by the Act to "assist in the development of standards for substances to be used in organic production" and to "provide recommendations to the Secretary regarding implementation" of the act’. The NOSB is comprised of 15 members, serving five-year terms and representing difference interested sectors including consumer, farmer, process, certifiers, retailers, environmentalists and scientists. The Board solicits input from the public, holds hearings and makes recommendations to the USDA on the organic rules. If approved by the USDA, these rules are subject to usual review and approval process before becoming official. (See also CFR and Organic Foods Production Act of 1990.)

Natural - There is no legal U.S. definition for "natural," and neither the FDA nor the USDA has rules regarding the term. Unlike the USDA-regulated term "organic," the designation "natural" can be applied to products at the unregulated discretion of manufacturers. Frontier has established a Natural Products Standard for our products that covers post-harvest treatment and processing. We do not purchase any herbs or spices that have been treated with irradiation or chemicals such as ethylene oxide (EtO) and there are a number of other ingredients and processes that are not allowed.

Natural flavor - The United States Code of Federal Regulations (21 CFR 101.22, and 21 CFR 182.10) gives the following definition: "The term 'natural flavor' or 'natural flavoring' means the essential oil, oleoresin, essence or extractive, protein hydrolysate, distillate, or any product of roasting, heating or enzymolysis, which contains the flavoring constituents derived from a spice, fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable juice, edible yeast, herb, bark, bud, root, leaf or similar plant material, meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, dairy products or fermentation products thereof, whose significant function in food is flavoring rather than nutritional. Natural flavors include the natural essence or extractives obtained from plants listed in sections 182.10, 182.20, 182.40, and 182.50 and part 184 of this chapter, and the substances listed in section 172.510 of this chapter." Frontier follows the CFR definition. (See also Artificial flavor.)

Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 - The Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 was a landmark bill for organic agriculture. Many groups petitioned Congress to establish a national law to insure uniformity of regulations, inspire consumer confidence in a single organic label, make it easier to market certified organic products overseas and to obtain ingredients certified organic overseas. At the time of the law’s passing, there were local, regional, state and national organizations certifying farmers and processors to their own standards. Internationally, each certification group had to establish reciprocity in order to accept the other’s certification. Farmers often were forced to obtain certification from multiple agencies – an expensive and time-consuming process. The Act provided for the basis for the organic regulations listed in the Code of Federal Regulations (7 CFR 205) although it would take ten years for the National Organic Program (NOP) to be implemented. (See also NOP.)

Organoleptic - Organoleptic refers to the sensory properties of a substance, such as taste, color, odor and feel. Organoleptic testing involves inspection through tasting, feeling, smelling and visual examination of a substance.

Propyl glycol - A carrier used in flavors. Some suppliers use this carrier, we request that ours do not.

Rubbed - This term, as used in "rubbed sage," refers to a process by which leaves are literally rubbed — by hand or by machine — through a screen until broken into small pieces. This releases the herb's essential oils and heightens its flavor and aroma qualities when used in cooking. The term originates from cooks rubbing leaves of herbs between their fingers as they add them during cooking.

Scoville heat unit - In the early 1900s pharmacist Wilbur Scoville developed a methodology and scale to measure the pungency (heat level) of chili peppers. The system involves a taste test of pepper extract, and a comparison of the results against a standardized scale. To create the extract, peppers are soaked in alcohol for approximately 24 hours to draw out the capsaicin. A specified amount of the pepper extract is then added to sweetened water. The solution is diluted repeatedly until the hotness of the pepper extract is barely detectable. A heat unit rating is then assigned based upon the dilution ration. For example, a Scoville rating of 20,000 hu for a chili pepper would indicate that it took 20,000 times the volume of sweetened water before the pepper extract was barely detectable. With advances in technology, the Scoville organoleptic testing procedure has been replaced at most companies with HPLC (High Pressure Liquid Chromatography). The American Trade Association (ASTA) supports the use of HPLC testing. With the use of this testing method, heat level is expressed in ASTA units. However, because people are more familiar with the Scoville system, a conversion system has been developed to convert ASTA units to Scoville units.

Silicon Dioxide (SiO2) - Silicon dioxide is an oxide of silica, the most abundant mineral in the earth’s crust and found in as sand or quartz. Silicon dioxide is found naturally in some plant-based foods. As a additive to foods, it is used as a free-flowing agents in powders and hygroscopic (water attracting) substances. It is approved for use by the FDA (21 CFR 172.480) and by the USDA National Organic Program (7 CFR 206.205 (b).

USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) - The USDA is responsible for the organic certification, regulation and compliance. Frontier is a certified organic processor in good standing under the USDA National Organic Program (NOP.)

Vanilla Extract - The FDA has a standard of identify for vanilla extract. To be called an extract, it must contain at least 35% alcohol by volume. If there is less than 35% alcohol, the product must be labeled a flavor.

Vanilla Fold - See Fold.

WONF - WONF is short for "with other natural flavors." The term is used when an extract or flavoing is made with natural ingredients other than the characterizing flavor ingredient. So for instance if a natural strawberry flavor included other natural fruit flavors, it would be labeled as WONF.

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