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I would find it very useful to have a list of empirical data on temperature-stability of spices.

  • Are there any systematical studies available?
  • Which spices can easily bear long durations of broiling, hot oven or barbecue?
  • Which lose flavor or deteriorate quickly?
  • Which develop displeasing flavors?
  • Which become unhealthy or even poisonous?
  • What can be done to preserve sensitive spices during hot cooking?

This topic comes close to my question. Can someone elaborate somewhat deeper on the matter?

UPDATE: I understand that my question may be too open-ended. I don't expect an exhaustive answer here, just hints and starting points for further study.

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Can you specify a temperature range? Braising or bbq spices? –  MandoMando Aug 28 '13 at 0:49
    
I do not want to specify too much on temperature range, ways of cooking and types of spices. Very much asked but: I'm looking for information as broad and complete as possible. –  nansen Aug 28 '13 at 18:39
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As broad and complete as possible would be a research study or book, which is outside the general guidelines of this site. A much more specific and focused question would be more answerable, as there are a myriad different herbs and spices, each with their own active ingredients and properties. There is no reasonable way on a QA site to enumerate all of them, especially the more unusual ones like sumac or rarer ones used around the world but not mainstream in western cooking. –  SAJ14SAJ Aug 29 '13 at 10:14

1 Answer 1

Are there any systematical studies available?

I am not aware of any such study or resource, but ignorance of or lack of evidence of a thing doesn't necessarily mean that it doesn't exist.

Which spices can easily bear long durations of broiling, hot oven or barbecue?

Broiling is an especially intense cooking method, directly transferring energy to the surface of the target food by radiation. It also is not a method used for long cooking duration, because it is so rapid, and easily would burn or char the outside of the food.

As a general principle, hard, woody spices and hard seeds tend to be the most heat insensitive: black pepper, cinnamon, anise, nutmeg, cumin and so on.

In the herb family, the hardier herbs (bay leaf, oregano, and sage for example) can stand up to some prolonged cooking without adversely affecting their flavor.

Delicate herbs (cilantro, parsley, tarragon, basil for example) do not fare well as their flavors are very volatile.

Which lose flavor or deteriorate quickly?

See above; this is just a rephrasing of the same question.

Which develop displeasing flavors?

This is an open ended list question.

For a significant portion of the population, cilantro starts with a displeasing flavor.

Badly overcooked garlic can become bitter, if you consider it a spice. Similarly, paprika and many of the capsicum peppers become very unpleasantly bitter when burned.

Most flavors simply lose their intensity and become muted or difficult to perceive.

Which become unhealthy or even poisonous?

I am not aware of any.

What can be done to preserve sensitive spices during hot cooking?

Don't add them during prolonged cooking; add them at near the end of the cooking period or even after cooking is completed.

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