Oleoresins: The “Secret” Flavor Enhancers

Apr 29, 2022

Ginger and ginger oleoresin

Whether fresh, dried, whole, crushed, or ground, the amazing flavors we all taste in the herbs and spices we use for every recipe we’ve ever made come from the essential oils within each leaf, stem, bud, bark, berry, seed, root, or flower.

It all starts with essential oils.

Essential oils come in two forms, volatile and non-volatile, and they are generally obtained from the plant or tree’s oil cells by using one of the two following methods.

  1. Dissolving in water and then using a steam distillation
  2. Extraction by alcohol solvents

These aromatic, resinous products obtained from non-volatile oils are known as an oleoresins, or oil resins.

Oleoresins are very concentrated liquids and an extremely potent form of the exact flavors we associate with each herb and spice used in the culinary world.

While most herb and spice oleoresins are used as flavoring agents, some, such as turmeric, are used for their bright yellow/orange color in both food and pharmaceuticals.


Who makes these oleoresins?

The trees and plants that produce essential oils and oleoresins are grown and then processed in many parts of the world. The leading countries, however, are India, Mexico, Spain, China, Brazil, and even France. And while many of these oleoresins are produced intentionally, some, such as the citrus oleoresins (orange, lemon, lime, etc.) are byproducts of another industry growing these same fruits for juice.

Does the U.S. produce oleoresins?

We sure do. As a matter of fact, the United States is the world’s largest producer of one. And that would be mint — specifically, peppermint and spearmint used in chewing gum, toothpaste, and candy. If you drill down even further (sorry for the teeth reference) you’d find that the great state of Washington is the mintiest.

Mint and oil

So, what does all this have to do with Asmus Seasonings? And you?

Actually, quite a lot.

Oleoresins are anywhere between 5 to 20 times stronger in flavor than their original state as a dried leaf or whatever part of the plant, bush or tree they may have come from. In addition, they contain important flavor notes absent from the plant’s “volatile oils” that dissipate over time. As a result, oleoresins (being NON-volatile) are the closest liquid extractive of any herb or spice, making them the perfect element to intensify and preserve the flavor of products wherever they may be used. And Asmus, is ALL about flavor.

How are oleoresins used?

While oleoresins are a liquid, some are almost thick pastes. Being an oil, adding them directly to a dry herb or spice would be impractical and result in an unsuitable product, as you would normally use a dry seasoning. As a result, oleoresin is added to what (in the trade) is called a “carrier” such as salt, dextrose, or other similar ingredients which are then added to the dry herbs and spices to create a blend.

Why oleoresins make a difference.

Practical uses for oleoresins are in seasoning blends such as those used for sauces, grilled steaks, barbecue rubs, or rotisserie chickens and are often considered for brine mixes, marinade seasonings, or dressing seasoning blends. Even chicken flouring blends can use the power of oleoresins.

Oleoresins also have amazing stability with a minimum shelf life of over a year without any loss of potency or quality. In addition, they can improve quality control by standardizing the taste, aroma, and, in the case of peppers and chilis, the heat of the seasonings, and, in the end, the products, that use them.

Finally, why Asmus?

Whether you’re a current customer or considering Asmus as your company’s seasonings solution, let us review your current and future seasoning needs, then discuss how our team at Asmus can create exceptional seasoning blends for your company.

Oleoresins, “The Secret Flavor Enhancers,” are just one of the many tools in our toolbox and one we think you’ll agree has many delicious opportunities for your business.

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