Today we take many spices for granted: pepper shakers on every table, that dusty bottle of cloves you pull out at Christmas, a splash of vanilla in everything from cookies to pudding. Five hundred years ago, things were much different, spices took a long journey passing through many hands to reach consumers. Many spices only grow in tropical countries such as India and Mexico, which are along way from the markets in Europe. The spice trade fueled wars, genocide, slavery, and European colonization of the globe.To learn more about how these seemingly simple ingredients changed the world, visit o..
The primary active compound in Cinchona bark is quinine, an alkaloid that treats and prevents malaria infections. Cinchona also contains several other related compounds: quinidine, cinchonine, cinchonidine, dihydroquinidine, and dihydroquinine, which are used to treat cardiac arrhythmia and as precursors in making other drugs. While cinchona extract and purified quinine is safe for adults in low doses, consuming too much too quickly can result in an overdose called cinchonism. The first sign of a quinine overdose is tinnitus (ringing in the ears), followed by headache, nausea, and ..
I am often asked how long will our spices last and it varies from a few months to several years. The shelf life of spices is determined by four main factors: volatility, temperature, surface area, and storage containers, all of which influence the interaction between spices and air. Many spices get their flavor from volatile compounds that will eventually evaporate. Many of the bitter herbs on the other hand get their flavor from alkaloids that are not volatile and they retain their flavor much longer. The more volatile the flavor compounds are, the more quickly their flavor will fade if..
General use, care, and how to open a stuck stopper.Many of our kits include reagent bottles for steeping and storing bitters. This type of bottle has been used to store chemicals for at least 150 years, though the idea for the ground glass stopper dates back to the late 1700s. The combination of glass bottle and stopper makes the container very resistant to chemical corrosion with a few exceptions. Very strong alkali should not be stored in these bottles because the alkali can cause the stopper to corrode and fuse to the neck of the bottle. Also, hydrofluoric acid should never ..
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