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Topic: transmuting cooking spices  (Read 6312 times)

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Corvettaholic

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transmuting cooking spices
« on: May 02, 2005, 01:57:12 PM »
So I had a really neat idea, and this one is a lot cheaper than my nuclear battery which I cannot currently afford to build.

So lets say you have some rosemary or sage or something. Good things to have for cooking, makes food yummy. I don't know the chemical composition of said spices, but I imagine its complicated. Or maybe the taste/flavor/smell comes from only one little part of it, and the rest is just along for the ride. Regardless, how hard would it be to change the taste of a spice, or make it a liquid without making it lethal? Wouldn't it be cool to drizzle rosemary into your soup as opposed to sprinkling it in there? Anyone ever tried working with this idea before?

Offline jdurg

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Re:transmuting cooking spices
« Reply #1 on: May 02, 2005, 05:05:33 PM »
The scents and flavors arise from organic compounds contained within the plant material.  It's quite easy to extract those compounds and make scented oils.  (These extracts are commonly called, well, 'extracts'.  :D )
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Offline limpet chicken

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Re:transmuting cooking spices
« Reply #2 on: May 02, 2005, 06:27:04 PM »
A lot of the plants like that have aromatic essential oils as the part that gives them scent, containing things like D-menthone, carvone, chavicol, linalool, and various other terpenes, and other bits and pieces.

It might well be a bad idea actually, as the essential oils are extremely concentrated, and some are toxic when taken internally.

Some ones definately to avoid, are sage oil, as it contains around 90% alpha and beta thujones, which are found mainly in plants of the wormwood (artemesia) genus, and are severely hepatotoxic in anything but milligram amounts, also avoid clove oil, as this contains large amounts of eugenol and methyleugenol, which have recently been thought to be carcinogenic, and can lower blood sugar levels, and mess up the liver and renal tubules, also avoid basil oil, as this contains eugenol compounds, oil of pepper, which can be irritant, due to its piperine content, and lastly, definately avoid nutmeg oil, due to the hepatotoxic safrole content, and myristicin, which although not TOO friendly to the liver, will cause intoxication like that of primary amine type substited psychadelic amphetamines such as MDA or MDE (potententially for a few days).

Parseley seed oil, fennel seed oil, and similar types of things are best saved for synthesis of the likes of various..sympathomimetic compounds, as mentioned above IMHO, rather than an addition to your salad. (theoretically of course) ;D
« Last Edit: May 02, 2005, 06:27:41 PM by limpet chicken »
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Re:transmuting cooking spices
« Reply #3 on: May 03, 2005, 03:13:59 AM »
You could "transmute" one spics into another, but you couldn't eat it. I'll put the structures of common spices on the forums at some point within the week.
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Corvettaholic

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Re:transmuting cooking spices
« Reply #4 on: May 03, 2005, 11:55:14 AM »
Cool, I'd be really interested to know whats really in those things. I had no idea they could be that dangerous! Given my lack of experience with that stuff and the good possibility of death, I'm not going to taste test anything. I still want to try and 'transmute' to see if I can get the smell to change. I really don't know much about how smell relates to chemistry and I figure this could be a good educational project, and cheap too!

Grumples

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Re:transmuting cooking spices
« Reply #5 on: May 08, 2005, 10:22:48 PM »
Also, bear in mind that the actual "scent molecules", i.e. the ones that your nose absorbs and translates into a nerve impulse to your brain, are in *extraordinarily* small concentrations.  We're talking significantly less than one part per million, or even billion (the human nose, I gather, can detect odors in concentrations as small as about three parts per trillion).  I have no idea what would happen if you were to, say, drink a vial of a pure scent chemical; but I wouldn't be at all surprised if your sense of smell was somehow damaged (or destroyed) by it, even if the substance wasn't poisonous, carcinogenic, etc. as limpet chicken pointed out.  I mean, imagine getting a dose that was 1,000,000,000,000 times more powerful than necessary. I'm not an expert, but how could that NOT be dangerous?!   :-X

Offline jdurg

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Re:transmuting cooking spices
« Reply #6 on: May 08, 2005, 11:12:39 PM »
The human nose is VERY sensitive.  In fact, it can save your life on numerous occasions in a chemistry lab by making you aware of the presence of hydrogen sulfide, cyanide gases, halogens, arsine, etc.  If your nose is sensitive enough, you can smell those toxins before they even approach toxic levels.  (Although the cyanides will give you a nasty headache if you can smell them).
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Corvettaholic

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Re:transmuting cooking spices
« Reply #7 on: May 09, 2005, 11:43:24 AM »
Ok, so the scent chemicals are barely even there. What about the 'taste' chemicals?

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