Weird Herbs and Spices

I love collecting recipes of different foods from other countries. I found it so very interesting and weird, from my usual recipes that I cook everyday. However, I find the spices and herbs so weird, so I began researching how do these particular herbs and spices looks like, so I have the idea. Spice is a dried root, bark, fruit, seed or vegetable parts, commonly used for preserving, coloring and adding flavor to the food. Herbs are kind of fresh or dried plant, or grass-like plants. These herbs are cultivated not only for spice purposes, but it is use for medicinal, religious ritual, and production of cosmetics or perfumes.

Spices in an Indian market

Spices in an Indian market

Spices in Istanbul market

Spices in Istanbul market

1)  Shichimi tōgarashi

Shichimi tōgarashi

Shichimi tōgarashi

Hemp seeds or known as Canabis seeds

Hemp seeds or known as Canabis seeds

Shichimi tōgarashi (“seven flavor chili pepper”), Japanese spices and herbs mixture, also called  nana-iro tōgarashi and simply shichimi,  containing seven ingredients. A typical blend may contain the main ingredient, coarsely ground red chili pepper, ground Sichuan pepper or sancho, roasted orange peel, black sesame seed, white sesame seed, ground ginger and nori or aonori (seaweed).

Sichuan pepper or Szechwan pepper fruits and seeds

Sichuan pepper or Szechwan pepper fruits and seeds

Sichuan pepper, Szechwan pepper or Szechuan pepper, is an Asian cuisine common spice derived from at least two species of the genus Zanthoxylum, Z. simulans and Z. bungeanum. The two Greek words botanical name of the genus,  mixed together meaning “yellow wood”which refers to colored sapwood . These genus belongs in the citrus family or rue, although the name is not related to chili pepper o black pepper.

2)    Chili Pepper

Chili peppers

Chili peppers

Cayenne pepper

Cayenne pepper

Chili white

Chili white

Chili Cubanelle

Chili Cubanelle

Chili Scotch bonnet at the Caribbean market

Chili Scotch bonnet at the Caribbean market

Chili Habanero

chili Habanero with flower and fruit

chili Habanero with flower and fruit

Chili Habanero

Chili Habanero

The chili habanero name, sometimes spelled incorrectly and pronounce,  habañero, is a chili pepper variety. The chili habanero  comes from the  region of Amazonas, and from there it was introduced and spread in Mexico.

Red Savina pepper

Red savina pepper

Red savina pepper

The cultivar of the habanero chili (Capsicum chinense Jacquin)and been a selective bred to produce heavier, larger and hotter Red Savina pepper fruit. The Red Savina chili was displaced in Guinness World Records as the hottest chili in the world by the Naga Jolokia pepper in February 2007.

Capsicum

Red capsicum and cross section

Red capsicum and cross section

The spicy(piquant) variety are called chili peppers. The large mild form is called red pepper, green pepper or bell pepper in North America, then in Britain the sweet pepper, and in Australia, New Zealand and India its typically just “capsicum“. This pepper frui in some countries is called paprika also refer to various capsicum fruit and powdered spices.

Bell Pepper

Bell peppers or capsicum

Bell peppers or capsicu

Bell pepper, also known as sweet pepper or a pepper (in the United Kingdom) and capsicum (in India, Australia and New Zealand), is a  cultivar group of the Capsicum annuum species.

Jalapeño

Jalapeño Pepper

Jalapeño Pepper

Jalapeno Peppers

Jalapeno Peppers

The jalapeño or jalapeno is a medium-sized chili pepper, and matured jalapeno fruit usually harvested or picked and eaten while still green, but sometimes, it is allowed to fully ripen and turn crimson red. The jalapeño is variously named in Mexico as huachinango and chile gordo.

Banana pepper

Banana Pepper Plant, ripe fruits

Banana Pepper Plant, ripe fruits

Banana Peppers

Banana Peppers

The banana pepper,also called as the yellow wax pepper or banana chili is a medium-sized member of the chili pepper family that has a mild, tangy taste. While some banana pepper which are typically bright yellow, it is possible for them to change to red or orange as they ripen, and commonly pickled or use as raw ingredients in many dishes. The banana pepper plant requires full sun, like other varity of the  Capsicum annuum, and be treated like other pepper plants family. Banana peppers are an optimum food for weight loss diets inclusion, containing low amounts of calories, fat, and sodium, and a good source of dietary fiber, vitamin A, potassium and a very good source of vitamin C. The mild hot taste makes it ideal for salads.

Chiltepin, chiltepe, and chile tepin, as well as turkey, bird’s eye, or simply bird peppers

Chiltepin Cluster chili

Chiltepin Cluster chili

Chiltepin pepper was named “the official Texas native pepper ” in 1997, two years after the Jalapeno became the official pepper of Texas.

Tabasco peppers

Tabasco peppers

3)  Black Pepper (Peppercorn)

Black Pepper plant

Black Pepper plant

Black and white dried peppercorns

Black and white dried peppercorns

A flowering vine known as the Black pepper (Piper nigrum) cultivated for its fruit, produced from the green unripe pepper drupes plant, which is commonly dried for seasoning and spice use, usually prepare it in powder, ground or whole peppercorn, may be described simply as pepper, or cooked and dried unripe fruit as black pepper, green pepper (dried unripe fruit) and white pepper (dried ripe seeds).

4) Allspice

Pimenta dioica, (Allspice) leaves

Pimenta dioica, (Allspice) leaves

Pimenta dioica (Allspice) Trees in Guatemala

Pimenta dioica (Allspice) Trees in Guatemala

Allspice seeds

Allspice seeds

Allspice, also called Jamaica pepper, pepper, myrtle pepper, pimenta, or newspice, is the dried unripe fruit or Pimenta dioica berries, to produce spice. The Pimenta dioica is a mid-canopy tree, which is native to the Greater Antilles, southern Mexico and Central America and other warm countries. The allspice name was named during 1621 by the English, who thought it was a combination of the nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves flavor. The dried fruit of Pimenta dioica plant is known as the Allspice, and the fruits are harvested while unripe and green and dried from the sun.  The dried fruits turns brown which looks similarly to peppercorns. The Pimenta dioica fresh leaves have the same texture to bay leaves when cooked, but not like the bay leaves, they lose lot of flavors when dried and kept in a storage container. Allspice can be found in essential oil form, while the leaves and wood are used for “smoked meats.

Alligator Pepper

Alligator pepper fruit and seeds

Alligator pepper fruit and seeds

The North African weird looking spice known as the Alligator pepper also called as mbongo spice, hepper pepper which corresponds to the seeds and seed pods of Aframomum danielli, Aframomum citratum or Aframomum exscapum . The Alligator pepper is a close relative of grains of paradise, obtaining from related species, Aframomum melegueta. Alligator pepper is sold as whole pod containing the seeds, just like the black cardamom, unlike the grains of paradise, they are sold generally only the seeds of the plant.

5) Cardamom

Cardamom plant

Cardamom plant

Green and black cardamom seeds

Green and black cardamom seeds

Cardamom or some called it cardamon, referring to several plants of the same genera Elettaria and Amomum in Zingiberaceae ginger family, and these genera are native to Bhutan, Nepal and India. The Cardamom are identified by their small seeds pods, spindle-shaped and triangular cross-section, with thin papery outer shell and small black seeds.The Elettaria pods are light green while Amomum pods are larger and dark brown, and known third most expensive spice by weight in the world.  The Cardamom spice, outstripped in market value only by saffron and vanilla . The Cardamom or Elettaria, green cardamom or true cardamom are available in India to Malaysia. The black cardamom or Amomum, brown cardamom, kravan, Java cardamom, Bengal cardamom, Siamese cardamom, white cardamom, or red cardamom are availavle in Asia and Australia.

6)  Zingiberaceae or Ginger Family

Ginger family (Zingiberaceae)

Ginger family (Zingiberaceae)

Zingiberaceae or the ginger family, are a flowering plants consisting of perennial herbs aromatic with creeping horizontal or tuberous rhizomes, comprising about 52 genera and more than 1300 ornamental species, distributed throughout tropical Africa, Asia, and the Americas. Many of these herbs species are important ornamental plants, used as medicinal plants or spices which includes the Alpinia or shell ginger, Curcuma alismatifolia, Globba, ginger lily or Hedychium, kaempferia, Etlingera elatior or torch ginger, Zingiber or ginger and Curcuma alismatifolia or Siam or summer spices and medicinal plants. Spices include galangal or Thai ginger (Alpina galanga), meleguetta peppers (Aframomum meleguetta). myoga (Zingiber mioga), Aframomum corrorima or myoga,  Curcuma or Turmeric and Cardamom (Amomum Elattaria).

7)  Turmeric (Curcuma Longa)

Indian Turmeric ( Curcuma longa (Haldi)

Indian Turmeric ( Curcuma longa (Haldi)

Turmeric root

Turmeric root

Turmeric-powder

Turmeric-powder

A rhizomatous herbaceous perennial plant of the ginger species is known as Turmeric (Curcuma longa), which these plants are gathered annually for their rhizomes, and cause to multiply from some of those rhizomes in the next season. If not used fresh, they boiled the rhizomes for several hours and then dried in hot ovens, and when dried they are ground into a deep orange-yellow powder commonly used as a spice in curries and in South Asian and Middle Eastern cuisine, the Turmeric is for dyeing and combined to mustard condiments. The curcumin is the active ingredients and has an earthly distinct, bitter slightly and peppery hot flavor and a mustardy smell. Curcumin is brightly yellow colored and can be used as a food coloring. The principal curcuminoid Curcumin of the famous Indian spice turmeric. However the Turmeric produced a poor quality of fabric dye, but commonly used in Bangladesh and India clothing such as the robes of the Buddhist monks and their saris.

Zingiber or True Ginger

Ginger Plant with flower

Ginger Plant with flower

Ginger rhizome

Ginger rhizome

Ginger or ginger root is Zingiber officinale plant rhizome, consumed as a spice, medicinal plant and delicacy because of its hot, fragrant kitchen spice. Other notable members of this Zingiber officinale plant family are the turmeric, cardamon and galangal. The cultivation of the ginger, began in South Asia and has which was distributed and spread to East Africa and the Caribbean.

Finger Root

fingerroot or Chinese Ginger or Temu kunci

fingerroot or Chinese Ginger or Temu kunci

Boesenbergia rotunda, also called as fingerroot, lesser galangal or Chinese ginger, a medicinal and culinary herb from China and Southeast Asia. The root has been called fingerroot, because the rhizome shape similar to fingers growing out of a center piece. In Indonesia, the Fingerroot is called as temu kunci and is used in Indonesian and Javanese cuisine. While in Thai cuisine, it is called krachai, and one of the kaeng tai pla dish ingredients. In Cambodian cuisine it is used as kroeung pastes and is called as k’cheay. It is commonly pickled or frozen in most western country.

Galangal

Galanga plant

Galanga plant

Galanga roots

Galanga roots

Alpinia galanga, also called  Languas galanga, a plant in the ginger family, is an herb used in Indonesian and Thai cuisines. Galangal is one of four plants and is differs from the other common plant called greater galangal or simply Thai galangal. The galangals are also called blue ginger or Thai ginger. In Indonesia, the Alpinia galanga is called laos and is the most popular form of galangal used in cooking. It is also known as lengkuas and galanga root, in Manipuri, it is known as kanghu. in Tamil it is called as chittarattai, this form of ginger is used with another root called athi-mathuram or Glycyrrhiza glabra as folk medicinal cure for colds and sore throats.

Awapuhi (Zingiber zerumbet)

Awapuhi (Zingiber zerumbet)

Awapuhi (Zingiber zerumbet)

awapuhi or Shampoo Ginger

awapuhi or Shampoo Ginger

Zingiber zerumbet (Awapuhi), also known as The Shampoo Ginger or Awapuhi (Zingiber zerumbet) or in Malay, it is known as “Lempoyang”),  is an energetic ginger with leafy stems. The Z, zerumbet rhizomes, have been used as appetizers and food flavoring in various cuisines, and the extracts from the rhizome is used for herbal medicine, such as tooth ache and cavity, indigestion, blood circulation increasin the sense of well being, the cooked and softened ‘Awapuhi rhizome was pressed into the hollow and left for as long as was needed. Similarly, ‘Awapuhi Pake or Ginger root. The fragrant leaves and leaf stalks,were used in baking in the imu, an underground oven, to enhance the pork and fish flavor as they cooked. Traditionally, The aromatic underground rhizomes were dried, pounded and sliced, until it turn into to a powder, then add to the stored Kapa folds (Tapa) cloth. May be the most Awapuhi popularly use is as a shampoo and hair conditioner. The Awapuhi’s clear slimy juice present in the mature flower heads is excellent for softening and bringing shininess to the hair, and it can be left in the hair or rinsed out. The Awapuhi sudsy juice is excellent for body massage too.

8)  Black Cardamom

Black Cardamom fruit as spice

Black Cardamom fruit as spice

Black cardamom, also known as hill cardamom, Bengal cardamom,, greater cardamom, Indian cardamom, Nepal cardamom, winged cardamom, or brown cardamom, seed pods have a strong camphor like flavor, with a smoky character derived from the method of drying. The cardamom pods are used as a spice with the same use of the green Indian cardamom pods, but those have a different flavor. While the green cardamom spice is rarely used in sweet dishes. The traditional method of drying the cardamom smoky flavor and aroma came from drying over open flames.

9)   Curry

Curry Leaf and  Fruits

Curry Leaf and Fruits

Curry Trees

Curry Trees

The curry tree or Dhivehi is native to India, where its leaves are used in India’s many dishes and neighboring countries.This spice is often used in curries, the leaves generally go by the name “curry leaves“, though they are also translated as “sweet neem leaves” in most Indian languages (as opposed to ordinary neem leaves which are bitter). The small black shiny berries are edible, but their seeds are poisonous. The most commonly used in curry leaves from the curry tree is used in many other dishes adding flavor. In Cambodia, Khmer, they toast the curry leaves in open flame or roasted it to a crunch and crushed it into a soured soup dish called Maju Krueng. The curry leaves are used for pujas and rituals, if the tulsi leaves are not available.

10)  Annato Seeds or Achiote Seeds

Annato or Achiote seeds

Annato or Achiote seeds

Achiote Fruits with red seeds

Achiote Fruits with red seeds

Annatto, sometimes called roucou or achiote, are seeds of the achiote trees growing in most tropical and subtropical regions in the world. The annatto or achiote seeds, are sourced in producing carotenoid-based food colors and flavors of yellow or orange. The annatto seed’s scent is characterized as “slightly peppery with a hint of nutmeg” and a “slightly nutty, sweet and peppery” flavoring. Annatto is also used to color non dairy foods such as rice, baked goods, seasonings, custard powder, snack foods, smoked fish, cereals for breakfast, and processed potatoes. The annatto or achiote seeds, has been linked to food allergy cases, however, the annatto is commonly used in the Caribbean and Latin America and Southeast Asia’s cuisines as flavoring and coloring spices. The Central and South American’s native used annato or achiote seeds for lipstick or body paint, thus, it is sometimes named lipstick tree.

11)  Tulasi or Holy Basil Leaves

tulsi or Holy Basil Leaves  (Ocimum_tenuiflorum)

tulsi or Holy Basil Leaves (Ocimum_tenuiflorum)

 The aromatic herbs, Ocimum tenuiflorum, also called as Holy Basil, tulsi, or tulasī), which is cultivated for religious and medicinal purposes, and for its essential oil. The tulasi or tulsi, is famously used as medicinal plant and an herbal tea, and commonly used by in Ayurveda rituals and play an important role in Hinduism’s Vaishnavite tradition, where all the devotees use holy basil plant and leaves, for their worshiping. In Thai cuisine, the Ocimum basilicum variety is referred to as Thai holy basil, or kaphrao , however, the Thai basil which is one of the Ocimum basilicum variety, is not to be confused.

Thai Basil and Thai Lemon Basil

Thai basil plant and flower

Thai basil plant and flower

Thai lemon basil or Kemangi

Thai lemon basil or Kemangi

Thai basil, or Asian basil (húng quế in Vietnamese) is a kind of sweet basil native to Southeast Asia that has been cultivated to provide weird distinctive traits, and the flavor is more stable under high or extended cooking temperatures than that of sweet basil. Thai basil has small, narrow leaves and purple stems, with a pinkish purple or mauve flower. The Queen of Siam is one cultivar that grown in the United States.  Lemon basil, Thai lemon basil or Lao basil, is a hybrid between Ocimum basilicum or basil and Ocimum americanum or African basil, and these herb is grown in northeastern Africa and southern Asia primarily for its strong fragrant lemon scent, and is used in cooking. The leaves are narrower but quite similar to basil leaves. After flowering and the plant dries, the seeds will form. In most Arabic, Indonesian, Lao, Persian an Thai cuisine, the Lemon basil is a famous herb and spices used.

12)  Mentha (Mint)

Mentha longifolia

Mentha longifolia

Mint leaves

Mint leaves

Mentha also called Mint, derived from Greek word, mintha, is a flowering plant genus in Lamiaceae family (mint family). Mints are aromatic, almost exclusively very rare perennial annual herbs. They have wide-spreading underground and overground stolons (are stems which grow at the surface of the soil or underground forming largest part of the root system at the nodes, and new plants from the buds grow.

Mentha citrata

Mentha citrata 'Eau de Cologne Mint'(Labatae) flower

Mentha citrata ‘Eau de Cologne Mint’(Labatae) flower

Mentha citrata herb, also called as Bergamot mint, Eau-de-cologne Mint, Horsemint, Lemon Mint, Lime Mint, Orange Mint, Pineapple Mint, Su Nanesi, Water Capitate Mint, Water Mint, Watermunt, Wild Water Mint, and in Central America Yerba Buena. The Mentha citrata entire plant is smooth, dotted with yellow glands and with dark green color, usually tinged with purple, especially the margins of the leaves and unusual lines of yellow glands on the purple calyx. This mentha citrata herb when crushed, has a characteristic lemon odor, and sometimes, used to make a tasteful tea similar to lemonade, with medicinal value. The fresh or dried mentha citrata leaves as tea has traditionally used for digestive disorders, stomach aches, nausea, parasites, for nerves and headaches and fevers. The Mentha citrata flowering plant and leaves contains analgesic, antispamodic, carminative, cholagogic, diaphoretic and vasodilator properties, pregnant women are not allowed to drink these herbs tea because of high dosage that can cause miscarriage like any genues Mentha family members.

Peppermint

peppermint

peppermint

Peppermint flowers

Peppermint flowers

The hybrid mint between watermint and spearmint is known as Peppermint, and has high menthol content which often used in tea and for flavoring chewing gum, toothpaste, confectionery and even ice cream. Peppermint is usually used to treat other symptoms and soothe irritable feelings. Examples of uneasiness would be nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, indigestion, irritable bowel, and bloating. It is also used in aroma therapy. The peppermint aroma can enhance alertness and memory.

Spear Mint or Spearmint  (Mentha spicata)
Spearmint (Mentha spicata)

Spearmint (Mentha spicata)

Spearmint Flowers

Spearmint Flowers

Mentha spicata (Spear Mint or Spearmint) is a mint species native to Europe and southwest Asia, and the exact natural range is uncertain due to extensive early cultivation. The mentha spicata grows in wet soils, thus the name spear mint comes from the pointed leaf tips. Spearmint is used in many mixed drinks, such as the mint julep, mojito, sweet tea, a sweet iced spearmint flavored drink which is a summer tradition in Southern United States. It is used as a toothpaste and confectionery flavoring, sometimes added to soaps and shampoos. The spearmint is commonly used to treat stomach pain as traditional herbalism.

Corsican mint

Corsican mint

Corsican mint

Corsican mint herb (Mentha requienii) is a species of mint with small leaves, native to Italy, Corsica, Sardinia and France.This plant is also used in cuisine, especially used for flavoring in creme de minthe, and is sometimes known to have a similar scent to pennyroyal.

Pennyroyal

 

Pennyroyal (mint family)

Pennyroyal (mint family)

Pennyroyal commonly known as Pudding Grass, Squaw Mint, and Mosquito Plant. The crushed Pennyroyal leaves has a very strong fragrance similar to spearmint, and used as a traditional culinary herb, abortifacient and as folk medicinal remedy. The pennyroyal essential oil, is used in aromatherapy which has high in pulegone, a highly toxic volatile organic compound affecting liver and uterine function. In most Romans and Greek’s cuisine, the Pennyroyal herb is commonly used as flavoring ingredients and spice, and used for wine flavoring in ancient Greek. In Apicius recipe cookbooks in Roman cuisine, the commonly herbs found is the Pennyroyal herb along with oregano, lovage and coriander.

13)  Bay Laurel Leaf

Laurel shrub

Laurel shrub

Bay leaf

Bay leaf

The bay laurel (Laurus nobilis)commonly known as sweet bay, bay tree, true laurel, Grecian laurel, laurel tree, or simply laurel, is an aromatic large shrub with glossy green leaves or an evergreen tree found commonly to the Mediterranean region, and the bay leaf plant is popularly used in cooking, in some countries it is called laurel leaf (Laurus nobilis) in Roman, Greek and Biblical culture. The aromatic bay or laurel leaf is commonly used in most Italian pasta sauces. But the sharp bay leaves is removed from the dishes before serving, due to its sharp edge even it is cooked, it may damage damage internal organs, unless used only as garnishing. The ground bay leaves, however, can be eaten safely and if used in stocks and soups or usually added to Bloody Mary drinks. The pressed bay oil and dried bayberries  can both be used as robust spices, and even the bay laurel wood can be burnt used for Aqueous extracts, smoke flavoring of the bay leaves, or as astringents for massage therapy or ointment, and cream, or balm with soothing, healing, or calming effects for open wounds, high blood pressures and earaches. While the bay laurel  to lessen or relieve arthritis and rheumatism pains, while in aromatherapy. The bay laurel herb is used as a soft moist mass, often heated and medicated, that is spread on cloth over the skin to treat an aching, inflamed, or painful medicinal folk remedy for rashes caused by stinging nettle and poison ivy plants, in medicinal folk remedy.

14)  Cumin

Cumin seeds

Cumin seeds

Cumin sometimes spelled cummin; Cuminum cyminum) is a flowering herbs, commonly found growing in India to east Mediterranean. The cumin seeds (each dried fruit contained seed) are commonly used in different culture’s cuisines, in both whole and ground form. Cumin, a parsley family member, is the dried seed of the herb Cuminum cyminum, which has similarity with the caraway seeds, being oblong in shape, longitudinally ridged, and yellow-brown in color, like other members of the Umbelliferae family such as dill, parsley and caraway. 

Caraway Seeds

Caraway seeds

Caraway seeds

Caraway (Carum carvi), also called as meridian fennel, or Persian cumin, is a biennial plant (growing every two years), commonly found in Northern Africa, Europe and Asia. The caraway fruits, commonly used whole, have a pungent scent and anise like flavor with an aromatic essential oil scent, like the carvone and limonene. The caraway seeds are used as a rye bread spice and in other breads too. Caraway is commonly used in other foods, desserts, casseroles, curry and liquors and used in most European cuisines. For example, the caraway is used in British caraway seed cake or added to sauerkraut (fermented dish). In European country, the caraway is an added flavor varieties of cheese such as bondost, pultost, nokkelost and havarti. Numerous liqueurs and the Akvavit are made with caraway. In the Middle East cuisines, the most popular dessert during Ramadan is the caraway pudding. The caraway roots can be cooked similar to carrots and parsnips as a root vegetables, while the caraway fruit oil is also used as a fragrance component in perfumes, lotions and soaps. 

Fennel Seeds

Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)

Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)

Fennel seed

Fennel seed

Florence fennel bulbs

Florence fennel bulbs

Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) is a herb plant in the genus Foeniculum (treated by most botanists as the sole species in the genus). The hardy fennel plant (plants that lives more than two years), is an umbelliferous from parsley and carrots family herbs, with feather-like leaves and yellow flowers, commonly grow on dry soil near the riverbanks and sea coast. The fennel herbs has an anise-like flavor, aromatic scent used in most culinary and medicinal purposes, and one of the primary ingredients of absinthe (an anise flavored spirit alcoholic beverages). Florence fennel or finocchio is a bulb-like stem selection base that is used as a vegetable. Fennel seeds are sometimes confused with those of anise, which has the same appearance and taste, but smaller than anise. The Fennel herbs is also used as a toothpastes flavoring. The fennel bulb, foliage, and seeds are widely used in different countries as their culinary traditions, and cultivated for medicinal used as a carminative for human and animals consumption such as dogs, for flatulence treatment by  encouraging the expulsion of intestinal gas. A substance called Anethole is known as responsible for the carminative action.

15)   Anise and Star Anise

Anise Seeds

Anise Seeds

The flowering herbs called Anise Pimpinella anisum, also known as aniseed, cultivated to eastern Mediterranean region and Southwest Asia, with its flavor like to star anise and fennel. The oblong dry fruit composing of multiple carpels that separate (Schizocarp), long, and known as aniseed. 

Star Anise (Illicium verum)

Star Anise or Illicium verum

Star Anise or Illicium verum

Illicium verum, with its common name of Star anise, star aniseed, or Chinese star anise is a spice with similarity with the anise’s flavor, containing star-shaped Illicium verum pericarp, a medium-sized native evergreen native to southwest China and northeast Vietnam. The star shaped fruits are harvested just before it becomes ripe. The star anise is called badian in Persian,derived from a French name badiane,  in northern India it is called badian khatai (some said, it originated in a place called Khata in China), in Bahasa Malay it is called “Bunga Lawang“, which is widely used in Malay cuisines, in Tamil it is called as”Annachi mokku” and in Malayalam it is called “thakolam“, in Telugu it is called as Anas puvvu. The herbs Star anise is an ingredient of the traditional five-spice powder, popularly used in most Chinese cuisines. The spice and herbs, Star anise has been used in a tea as a rheumatism traditional remedy, and the seeds are sometimes chewed after meals to aid digestion.

Japanese Star Anise (Illicium anisatum)

Illicium anisatum flowers

Illicium anisatum flowers

Illicium anisatum (Japanese star anise)

Illicium anisatum (Japanese star anise)

The Japanese star anise (Illicium anisatum), a similar tree to edible star anise herb,but this Japanese stra anise is not edible and is highly toxic (due to containing sikimitoxin substance) but used instead, as burned incense in Japan. Many illness cases, including “serious neurological effects, like “seizures”, has been reported after using star anise tea may be a result of using this species. Japanese star anise contains anisatin, thats causes severe kidneys, urinary tract infection and digestive organs inflammation.

16)  Mustards

 

Mustard plantation in Bangladesh

Mustard plantation in Bangladesh

Black-mustard-seeds

Black-mustard-seeds

yellow mustard seeds

yellow mustard seeds

Mustard plantation in Bangladesh

Mustard plantation in Bangladesh

Mustards are several herb species in the genera Brassica and sinapis, and the small mustard seeds by grinding and mixing them with water, vinegar or other liquids are used as a spice and turned into condiments, popularly called prepared mustard or just simple mustard. Sometimes the mustard seeds are also pressed to produce mustard oil, while the mustard leaves can be eaten as mustard greens vegetables.

17)  Borage (Borago officinalis)

Blue borage flowers

Blue borage flowers

Borage (Borago officinalis), is an annual herb also called as a starflower, and a native to the Mediterranean region and grow in many other regions. It grows perfectly in the UK climate, remaining in the garden from year to year by self-seeding. The borage leaves are edible and the plant is cultivated commercially for Borage seed oil extracted from its seeds. The borage herb is bristly or hairy all over the stems and leaves. The blue flower is genetically dominant over the white flower, thus, borage was cultivated traditionally for culinary and medicinal uses, although today commercial cultivation is mainly as an oilseed. Borage production does include use as either a fresh vegetable or a dried herb. As a fresh vegetable, borage, with a cucumber taste-like often used in salads or as a garnish.

18)  Celery ( Apium graveolens)

Celery plant

Celery plant

celery leaves

celery leaves

Celery seed

Celery seed

Apium graveolens better known as celery (var. dulce) or celeriac (var. rapaceum), depending on whether the celery stalks or petioles or celeriac roots  are eaten. Celery provides low calorie bulk of dietary fiber and commonly used in weight-loss diets. Celery is usually assumed as negative calorie food based on the idea that during food digestion, the body will burn more calories than the body can extract from the food itself. Celery (Apium graveolens) is used as a vegetable around the world, either for the crisp leaf stalk or petiole or the fleshy taproot, the strong flavored leaves are often used as flavoring in stews or soups or used as dried herbs for food fragrance.

Celeriac or Celery Roots

Celeriac (Celery Root)

Celeriac (Celery Root)

Celeriac (Apium graveolens var. rapaceum), also known as the turnip-rooted celery or knob celery, is a celery variety, cultivated for its edible roots, shoots and hypocotyl, and these parts are known as celery root. This root vegetable with bulbous hypocotyl is called celeriac, growing in the wild and widely cultivated, in North Africa, Siberia, North America and Southwest Asia. In North America, The Diamant cultivar predominates in North America, which is edible raw or cooked, and tastes like the upper part of the stem or known as stalks of common celery cultivars. Celeriac or celery roots can be roasted, stewed, blanched, or mashed, or the sliced celeriac can be used as ingredients in casseroles, soups and some cuisines.

Chervil or French Parsley

Chervil

Chervil

Chervil (Anthriscus cerefolium)

Chervil (Anthriscus cerefolium)

Chervil (Anthriscus cerefolium), sometimes called garden chervil to distinguish it from French parsley or chevril a similar plant, is a delicate annual herb related to parsley, which is used to season mild-flavored dishes and is a family of the French herb mixture fines herbes. Sometimes called as “gourmet’s parsley“. The chervil is added to vegetables, poultry and seafood as seasoning, and particularly popular in France, where it is added to omelettes, salads, and soups. The chevril is more delicate than parsley, it has a faint taste of aniseed or liquorice. Chervil has many traditional uses, and believed can use as a digestive system, lowering high blood pressure, and can cure hiccups by infusing chevril with vinegar.

Parsley or garden parsley

Parsley plant

Parsley plant

Parsley Root

Parsley Root

Parsley or garden parsley (Petroselinum crispum) is a Petroselinum species, native to the central Mediterranean region growing elsewhere in Europe, southern Italy, Algeria and Tunisia and widely cultivated as vegetable, herb and spice. The two parsley main groups used as herbs are curly leaf, flat leaf and Italian leaf, then the third type, grows sometimes in southern Italy, has thick, similar to celery leaf stems. The root vegetable is another type of parsley growing, called the Hamburg root parsley. This kind of parsley roots produces is much thicker than the cultivated types for their leaves. Although root parsley looks similar to the parsnip, the tastes is not the same to root parsley.   Parsnips are one of the parsley closest relatives in the family Apiaceae, but the name with similarity is a coincidence, which the parsnip which means “forked turnip“, is not a family to real turnips.

Parsnips

Parsnips

19)  Horseradish

horseradish plant

horseradish plant

horseradish roots/fruits

horseradish roots/fruits

Heinz horseradish sauce

Heinz horseradish sauce

The perennial plant of the family Brassicaceae called, Horseradish, which also includes wasabi, mustard, broccoli, cabbage and maror. The horseradish plant is maybe a native to southeastern Europe and western Asia. The horseradish intact root has not any aroma. Cut or grated horseradish, however, when the plant cells break down a sinigrin or glucosinolate to produce mustard oil (allyl isothiocyanate), which irritates the eyes and sinus mucous membrane. The grated mash darkens, and loses its pungency, and becomes unpleasantly bitter-tasting when exposed to air for a long time. Cooks use the terms “horseradish” or “prepared horseradish” to refer to the grated root of the horseradish plant mixed with vinegar. Prepared horseradish is white to creamy-beige in color, and can be kept for months if refrigerated, but it become dark in color, indicating it is losing flavor and should be replaced. The edible horseradish leaves are not usually eaten, and called as horseradish greens. The grated horseradish roots with vinegar or the Horseradish sauce is a popular condiment in the United Kingdom and in Poland.

20)  Chives

Chives plants (Allium schoenoprasum)

Chives plants (Allium schoenoprasum)

Chives seeds

Chives seeds

Chives  ( Allium schoenoprasum) is the smallest edible onion species. Chives are cultivated for culinary purposes using the chives  leaves, which as a flavoring herb, and provide a somewhat milder flavor than those of other Allium herbs species. Chives are one of the popular herbs or fine herbes of French Cuisine, including parsley, chevril and tarragon.

Chinese Chives (Allium tuberosum)

Chinese Chives (Allium tuberosum )

Chinese Chives (Allium tuberosum )

Allium tuberosum, (commonly known as Garlic chives, Chinese chives, Oriental garlic, Chinese leek, also known by the Chinese name kow choi or gau choy, or the Japanese name nira, a vegetable related to onion family. In China, these herb plants is called in various names, as cuchay, jiucai, kucai, kuchay, or kutsay in Southern Asia like Malaysia, Philippines and Indonesia, and sometimes known as green nira grass.

21) Tarragon

Tarragon leaves (Estragon)

Tarragon leaves (Estragon)

Taragon Dried leaves

Taragon Dried leaves

Tarragon, (Artemisia dracunculus) is a perennial herb species, is cultivated for use of the aromatic tarragon leaves as culinary herb. In some sub-species, there is no aromatic scent and these species are polymorphic (appearing in different forms in different developmental stages). Tarragon roots are rhizomatous and reproduces from the rhizomes. Tarragon has an aromatic property similar to anise, due to the containing substance-like carcinogen or estragole and teratogen in mice. One of the four French cooking fines herbes, tarragon is suitable for chicken, fish and egg dishes, and has main of Bearnaise sauce flavoring component. The fresh, lightly bruised tarragon sprigs are soaked in vinegar to produce tarragon vinegar. There are other informal names for variation species of tarragon such as  “French tarragon” which is known for best culinary use, “Russian tarragon” usually known better than wild tarragon but not as better than French tarragon for culinary use, and “wild tarragon” which can be found growing in different states.

22) Marjoram

Marjoram (Origanum_majorana)

Marjoram (Origanum_majorana)

Marjoram leaves

Marjoram leaves

Majoram spice

Majoram spice

Marjoram (  Origanum majorama), is a perennial herb or under shrub which is somewhat sensitive and cold with sweet pine and citrus flavors.  In some Middle-eastern countries, marjoram is having the same character with oregano, and there the names sweet marjoram and knotted marjoram are used to differentiate  it from other genus Origanum plants.

23)  Coriander

Coriander leaves

Coriander leaves

Coriander dried fruits

Coriander dried fruits

Coriander roots

Coriander roots

Coriander (Coriandrum sativum), also called cilantro, Chinese parsley or dhania, is native to Europe, North Africa to the southwestern Asia regions. The dry  Coriander fruits are known as coriander or coriandi seeds, and known as dhania in India. Coriander roots have a deeper, and more intense flavor than the leaves. They are used in many Asian cuisines, especially in Thai cuisines and soups and curry pastes. .

24)  Oregano

Cuban Oregano

Cuban Oregano

Oregano (Indian Borage)

Oregano (Indian Borage)

The tender fleshy perennial plant known as the Plectranthus amboinicus in the family Lamiaceae with a flavor and odor like oregano, native to Southern and Eastern Africa, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, Swaziland to Angola, Mozambique, north to Kenya and Tanzania. The Indian Borage usually grow in gardens or as a potted plant, and known as fast growing plants. The borage leaves is commonly used as traditional medicine for cough treatment, sore throats and nasal congestion, rheumatism and flatulence, and other infections.

Dill

Dill herbs

Dill herbs

Dill dried umbel

Dill dried umbel

Dill (Anethum graveolens), also known as Lao coriander, depending on where or what regions it is cultivated, considered as annual or  perennial herb. It is the genus Anethum sole species. Fresh and dried dill leaves, some call it dill weed, to know the difference from the dill seed, used as herbs ans spices, grow mainly in Poland, Finland, Norway, Sweden, the Baltic, in Russia, and in central Asia. Similar to caraway, its fernlike leaves are aromatic and are used for food flavoring like the cured salmon or gravlax, borscht, pickles(dill flowes are commonly used)and other soups. Fresh dill is use best, as when it dries, it loses its flavor quickly. The freeze-dried dill leaves preserve their flavor relatively well for a few months. Dill seed has a flavor similar to caraway, but also resemble to that flavor of fresh or dried dill weed.

Lavender Herbs

Lavender plant (Lavandula_intermedia)

Lavender plant (Lavandula_intermedia)

Lavendar flower

Lavendar flower

Lavender cupcakes

Lavender cupcakes

Lavandula (common name Lavender) is flowering plants among 39 species in the mint family. The Lavender plant is cultivated commercially mainly for the production of lavender essential oil, which has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. The lavender extracts are also used as fragrances for bath products, while the lavender flowers has abundant nectar with high quality honey, from bees, and these flowers can be candied and used as cake decorations. Lavender flavors can be paired with chocolates, and can baked goods and desserts, and is also used to make “lavender sugar“, and can be mixed with green or black teas or made into tisanes (infusions of dried flowers, herbs, roots, and spices).

25) Lemon Grass

Lemon grass

Lemon grass

Lemon grass

Lemon grass

 The tropical plant from Southeast Asia commonly known as lemon grass or oil grass, in the Philippines, it is called tanglad   (Cymbopogon citratus), which grows abundantly and the fragrant leaves are traditionally used in cooking, commonly stuffed into a whole chicken or famously called lechon manok or roasted chicken. Common names include lemon grass, lemongrass, barbed wire grass, silky heads, citronella grass,cha de Dartigalongue, fever grass, tanglad, hierba Luisa or gavati chaha amongst many others.

Bonus:

Liquorice or licorice

Licorice plant

Licorice plant

Licorcie roots and bark

Licorcie roots and bark

Liquorice or licorice is the root of Glycyrrhiza glabra extract which has somewhat sweet flavor. The liquorice plant is a legume (related to beans and peas) that is native to many parts of Asia and southern Europe and licorice is not related botanically to anise, star anise or fennel, which has similar flavoring compound sources. The word ‘liquorice or licorice‘ is derived from licoresse from the Greek word that means sweet root. The Liquorice flavoring is also used in soft drinks. Consuming excessive licorice or liquorice candy is known to be toxic to the liver, cardiovascular system and trigger high blood pressure or hypertension.

Cinnamon

cinnamomum camphora tree

cinnamomum camphora tree

Cinnamon sticks or quill and ground cinnamon

Cinnamon sticks or quill and ground cinnamon

Cinnamomum Verum or Ceylon cinnamon

Cinnamomum Verum or Ceylon cinnamon

Chinese cinnamon or Cassia bark

Chinese cinnamon or Cassia bark

Saigon cinnamon bark

Saigon cinnamon bark

Cinnamon (Cinnamomum) is a spice obtained from the inner bark of Cinnamomum trees, that is used in both sweet and savory dishes. While the Cinnamomum verum is sometimes considered to be “true cinnamon“, which is commonly used in international commercially,  is derived from family species, which are also referred to as “cassia” to differ them from “true cinnamon”. In Sinhala, Sri Lanka, the cinnamon is known as kurundu. In Java and Sumatra , where cinnamon is cultivated in Indonesia, it is called kayu manis (“sweet wood”) and sometimes cassia vera,  or the real cassia. 

Clove

Cloves Dried

Cloves Dried

Cloves (Syzygium aromaticum) are the aromatic dried flower buds of a tree in the family Myrtaceae. Cloves are native to the Maluku Islands, Indonesia and commonly used as a spice in ost cuisines all over the world.  Primarily the Cloves are harvested in India, Madagascar, Zanzibar, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Indonesia. The cloves plant have a numbing effect on mouth tissues.

Rosemary

Rosemary bush

Rosemary bush

Rosmarinus flowers

Rosmarinus flowers

 Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), is a woody perennial herb with fragrant, and evergreen needle-like leaves, with white, pink, purple or blue flowers, native to the region of Mediterranean and mint family member, which includes many other herbs. The name “rosemary” derived from the Latin word for ros or dew and marinus or sea.The plant is also sometimes called anthos, from the ancient Greek word which means “flower”. Rosemary is used as a garden decorative plant, culinary and medicinal uses, and some said rosemary herb can improve the memory. The rosemary leaves are used to flavor various foods, such as marinating and stuffing chicken and roast meats. According to legend, it was draped around Aphrodite, the Greek goddess, when she rose from the sea, born of Ouranos’s semen. In some versions, the Virgin Mary is said to cover her blue cloak over a white-blossomed rosemary bush when she was resting,then the flowers turned blue, thus, the shrub was called  as the ‘Rose of Mary‘.

Thyme

Variegated Lemon Thyme

Variegated Lemon Thyme

Thyme Bundle

Thyme Bundle

Thyme is any of the genus Thymus of several species, for culinary and medicinal herbs purposes. Thyme in Ancient Egypt, with scientific name Thymus vulgaris, is used for embalming. While the ancient Greeks used thyme as incense if they burn it in their temples, believing it was a courage source. Thyme is sold both fresh and dried, the fresh form is more flavorful, but also less convenient, when kept in storage, the life is shorter for more than a week. But the seasonal summer, fresh greenhouse thyme is often available year round. The thyme herbs when infused in water, a tea is made, for coughs and bronchitis treatment, and also can treat acne.

Vanilla

Vanilla plantation

Vanilla plantation

Vanilla planifolia

Vanilla planifolia

Vanilla orchid flower

Vanilla orchid flower

Vanilla green fruits

Vanilla green fruits

Vanilla fruits dried

Vanilla fruits dried

Vanilla is an orchids of the genus Vanilla, commonly used for flavoring, primarily from the Mexican species, flat-leaved vanilla or V. planifolia. The vanilla word is derived from vaina, a Spanish word which means sheath or pod, translated as little pod. Vanilla is the second most expensive spice after saffron, because cultivating the vanilla seed pods is labor-intensive.

Wasabi

Wasabi plant

Wasabi plant

wasabi roots

wasabi roots

Wasabi ,Oroshigane grater

Wasabi ,Oroshigane grater

Wasabi is a member of the Brassicaceae family, which includes horseradish, cabbages and mustard. Sometimes called Japanese horseradish, although it is not from the species of horseradish plants. The horseradish root is used as condiment, and has a strong flavor. Its hotness is more related to hot mustard than that of the chili pepper capsaicin, producing vapors that stimulate the nasal passages more than the tongue. The plant grows naturally along the bed streams in mountain river valleys in Japan. The W. japonica ‘Daruma‘ and ‘Mazuma‘, are the two main cultivars marketplace but there are many others. The Wasabi roots is generally sold either as a whole root, finely grated wasabi roots, dried powder or the ready to use Wasabi paste in a tube (similar to toothpaste tubes).

Sumac

Sumac Fruit

Sumac Fruit

Sumac spice

Sumac spice

  The flowering plant species known as Sumac shrubs and trees, in the genus Rhus, and the sumac fruits form reddish drupes or fruit dense clusters is called sumac bobs. The dried drupes of some species are ground to produce a tangy purple spice.The sumac drupes or fruits  of  are ground into a deep-red or purple powder used as a spice to add a lemon taste to salads or meat in Arab and Middle Eastern cuisines, used as a meze dishes garnish such as hummus and is added to salads in the Levant. In Persian and Kurdish and Iranian cuisine, sumac spice is added to rice or kebab and lahmacun. The rhus coriaria spice is used as mixture for za’atar.

Saffron

Saffran crocus plant

Saffran crocus plant

Saffron bulbs

Saffron bulbs

Saffron threads spices, piled and dried

Saffron threads spices, piled and dried

Saffron is a spice derived from the flower of Crocus sativus, commonly known as the saffron crocus. Both the styles or stalks that connect the stigmas to their host plant, the dried stigmas are used mainly in various cuisines as a seasoning and colouring agent. Saffron’s bitter taste and idioform or hay-like fragrance resulting from the picrocrocin and safranal chemicals.

Pandan plant

Pandan

Pandan

Pandanus utilis fruit

Pandanus utilis fruit

 The genus of monocots plants known as Pandanus with about 600 known species, simply known as Pandan plant. The Pandan are palm-like, dioecious trees and shrubs, with male and female flowers, producing different plants, similar to pineapple fruits, and the color changes from green to orange or red-like as it matures. The Pandamus fruit of some species are edible, and eaten by animals. Pandan  (P. amaryllifolius) leaves are commonly used in Southeast Asian cooking to add a distinctive aroma to rice and curry dishes such as nasi lemak, kaya (jam preserves) and desserts like pandan cake. The pandan leaves is added to biryani in Indian cuisines, a kind of pilaf rice, made with ordinary rice (as opposed to Basmati rice, a first class rice). The Basmati and Pandan leaf is based containing the same aromatic flavor ingredient. The Pandan leaves  is used for handicrafts.

No comments yet... Be the first to leave a reply!

Leave a Reply

*