Mustard Spice Profile


Posted by Rebekah Wicke on 6/19/18

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What is Mustard?

Several varieties of mustard are native to southern Europe and the Mediterranean region, having been highly valued by the Romans thousands of years ago. Its medicinal uses were primarily as a liniment, poultice and emetic. The first documented attempts to prepare mustard seed for table use came from Durham, England where it was discovered that mustard was easier to use if ground to a fine powder similar to wheat flour. The pale yellow powder that was subsequently produced by milling and sifting mustard seed became the first commercially available mustard flour and was appropriately named “Durham Mustard.”

Mustard plants thrive in cool, temperate areas. The primary sources of North American mustard are the northern plains of the United States and the central provinces of Canada where plants grow 2 - 3 feet high and produce small, bright yellow flowers. Mustard seed is harvested and processed much like wheat to produce ground mustard seed, mustard bran and mustard flours. The two main types of mustard used are yellow mustard, Brassica hirta, and oriental mustard, Brassica juncea. Oriental mustard is used mainly for its pungent “mouth heat,” while yellow mustard is typically used for its numerous functionalities including emulsification, antioxidant properties, texture, color and flavor enhancements.

What is it used for today?

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In addition to the prepared condiments known as mustard (including hot, Oriental style), ground yellow mustard is a principal component of hot dogs and other meats due to its emulsion and binding properties. The finer yellow mustard flour is essential to many salad dressing/mayonnaise seasonings for texture and flavor improvements. Mustard based seasonings such as honey mustard
are used in everything from snack foods to cooking sauces.

To learn more about the spices and seasonings that Fuchs has to offer, click here. Our experts are ready to educate your team on all things spices and seasonings. To find out more, contact us


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Sage Spice Profile


Posted by Rebekah Wicke on 6/5/18

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What is Sage?

As with many other spices, sage has historically been used more for its medicinal benefits than for its culinary attributes. Its botanical genus, Salvia, is actually derived from the Latin salvere meaning to save or to heal. Among other powers, sage was believed to be a cure for snake bites, headaches, fevers, epilepsy, itching and even stress. During the Middle Ages, the Salerno School of Medicine in Italy coined the then-popular phrase, “Cur moriatur homo cui salvia crescit in horto?” (How can any man die who grows sage in his garden?)

Among the hundreds of species of sage, Salvia officinalis is known as “garden sage.” It is a hardy, low shrub evergreen of the mint family and is indigenous to the Mediterranean region. Tiny hairs covering the oblong leaves of the sage plant add to their gray-green appearance. Above the leaves, flowers bloom during the second year of the plant’s growth in hues from pale blue to purple. It is during this second year through the fourth year that sage leaf harvests are most abundant. Older plants often become too large and woody, and new plantings are started again after 4 - 5 years.

What is it used for today?

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As an ingredient, sage is found most often in pork sausage seasonings as a common flavor profile in the United States. It is also a component of many poultry-related blends such as stuffings and gravies.

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Black Pepper Spice Profile


Posted by Rebekah Wicke on 5/7/18

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What is Black Pepper?

Black peppercorns are the dried, unripe fruit of a climbing perennial vine, Piper nigrum, which grows only within twenty degrees of the equator in far east tropical forests. The vines are trained on support poles or trees and can grow to heights of up to 60 feet at maturity. Pepper has been cultivated for thousands of years and was one of the first items of commerce in the spice trade in the first century A.D. It was also an important economic commodity in the Middle Ages when landlords often collected rent in the form of peppercorns.

When harvested, the peppercorns are green berries attached in groups to elongated spikes of 50 berries or more. These berries are sun-dried for several days until they darken to brown or black and take on their characteristic shriveled appearance. A small percentage of the berries harvested at this stage may be cleaned and packed in a light brine for storage and later use as green peppercorns. The spice known as ground black pepper actually contains dark particles from the darkened outer hull as well as lighter colored particles from the center of the peppercorn or dried berry.

What is it used for today?

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The peppercorn in various forms is undoubtedly the most widely used spice in the world. From meats to condiments to topical snack applications, black pepper is found in varying quantities in countless seasoning blends due to its pungency and flavor.

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Poppy Seed Spice Profile


Posted by Rebekah Wicke on 4/10/18

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What are Poppy Seeds?

Poppy seeds have been used for over 5,000 years for culinary and medicinal purposes from Greece to India to Denmark. Today, the plants grow to a height of up to 3 feet in many countries of the world producing beautiful flowers in varying shades of red. Seeds are released only when the plant’s fruit or seed pods open releasing up to 30,000 seeds each. The tiny seeds are kid¬ney-shaped, bluish gray and less than 1 mm in diameter. Estimates show that there are close to 1 million seeds in 1 pound of spice.

The poppy plant has been used throughout history as a sedative as its botanical name somniferum implies. This is due to the legendary narcotic opium which is produced in unripe poppy capsules. However, the plant’s seed forms only when the capsules reach full maturity, at which point they have lost all opium potential. Therefore, poppy seeds do not contain narcotic properties.

What is it used for today?

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Poppy seeds, with their pleasant, nut-like aroma and taste, are used almost exclusively as a whole spice in baking. Though not as common, they are also used in some salad dressing and bakery seasoning blends. Examples include sauces, breads, pies, strudels or other confections.

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Paprika Spice Profile


Posted by Rebekah Wicke on 2/20/18

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What is Paprika?

Paprika is produced from dried fruit pods of several varieties of the Capsicum family, which also produces red pepper and chili. The appearance of paprika plants is similar to that of red pepper, although paprika is grown and harvested primarily in Spain, Hungary, Mexico and the Americas. As paprika pods ripen, they turn in color from green to yellow to a mature bright red which is ready for harvest. However, the pods ripen at different times, and so harvesting must take place by hand, and may occur up to 6 times during a harvest season to obtain the maximum plant yield. After picking, the pods are cleaned, dried, and packed for shipment to the consuming country for further
processing.

Paprika is the most mild of the Capsicum family, and is used in America primarily for its color rather than its pungency. Not surprisingly, the brighter the color of paprika, the more costly it is. Paprika is typically classified by its ASTA level, which measures the extractable color, or color which comes from the spice upon addition to water or a food product. This measurement may be different than a surface color measurement, which is reported in L.a.b. numbers.

What is it used for today?

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As mentioned above, paprika is used in America primarily for its eye appeal in numerous blends. It may be found in soup, sauce, meat, topical snack or other seasonings. It is often included to add red-orange color or to enhance an existing color level.

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