Spices

Vocabulary


Spices
are the flavorful seeds, fruit, bark, flower buds or roots of tropical plants.

capsaicin (cap-SAY-sin) Capsaicin is in the seeds, flesh, and membranes of peppers. The amount of capsaicin is measured in Scoville Heat Units. Capsaicin stimulates digestion, circulation, and perspiration.

 

 

  • What are spices? 
  • Where do spices come from? 
  • How do we use spices?
  • What do spices smell and taste like?

 

The Spice Trade

The Spice Trade began 4,000 years ago between civilizations in Asia, Northeast Africa, and Europe. The invention of ships and maps made it possible to form trade routes between the continents. The spice trade was part of the movement of people, goods and ideas around the world. 

Culinary Uses
Spices are used as flavoring to add new flavors to food. Spices are aromatic and flavorful. Spices have also been used as natural preservatives for thousands of years to stop meat and other foods from spoiling. They contain chemicals that slow or stop the growth of bacteria which causes food to decompose. 

What spices does your family use at home?

Medicinal Uses
Spices have been used as medicine for thousands of years. Ginger relieves nausea, garlic boosts heart health, cinnamon lowers blood sugar, turmeric fights inflammation, and fresh chili peppers are high in vitamin C.

 

Mortar & Pestle is a cooking tool used to grind whole spices, sauces, salsas, guacamole, and more. The mortar and pestle is also used to grind medicine. the mortar is the bowl and the pestle is the pounding stick. mortar and pestles are made from wood, marble, brasslava, stone, granite, or porcelain.

 

 

Spices

 

Allspice ()

Native to: The Americas
Appearance: small brown berries of the Jamaican Pimento tree
Aroma:
pleasantly warm, fragrant, similar to cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg
Flavor: a pungent, peppery combination of cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg
Culinary uses: Allspice is good with eggplant, most fruit, pumpkins, squashes, sweet potatoes and other root vegetables. Allspice combines well with chili, cloves, coriander, garlic, ginger, mace, mustard, pepper, rosemary, and thyme.

 

Anise Seeds

Native to: 
Appearance:
Aroma: licorice-like, warm, fruity

Flavor:
sweet, licorice-like, warm, fruity  taste. The seeds are more subtly flavored than fennel or star anise. 
Culinary uses:

 

 

 

Black Pepper ()

Native to: Asia
Appearance: black, slightly wrinkled berries of the pepper vine 
Aroma:
fruity, pungent, pepper, with warm, woody, lemony notes
Flavor: peppery, hot biting, with a clean aftertaste
Culinary uses: Black pepper is good with most foods. Black pepper combines well with basil, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, coconut milk, coriander, cumin, garlic, ginger, lemon, lime, nutmeg, parsley, rosemary, thyme, and turmeric.

Cardamom ()

Native to: Asia
Appearance: light green oval shaped pods that contain tiny black seeds
Aroma:
strong, mellow, fruity
Flavor: lemony, flowery, pungent, smoky, warm, bittersweet, clean, fresh
Culinary uses: Cardamom is good with apples, oranges, pears, legumes, sweet potatoes, and other root vegetables. Cardamom combines well with chili, cinnamon, cloves, coffee, coriander, cumin, ginger, paprika, pepper, saffron, and yogurt.

 

Chili Peppers ()

Native to: The Americas
Appearance:  fruits of varying sizes and shapes that can be red, orange, yellow, green, or purple 
Aroma:
Aroma: hot and mildly fruity
Flavor: range from mild and tingling to explosively hot.
Culinary uses: Chili peppers used extensively in their native region, throughout Asia, in Africa, and in the American southwest. Chili peppers combine well with most spices, coriander, coconut milk, lemon and lime juice. Large fleshy varieties tend to be milder than small thin-skinned peppers.

 

 

Cinnamon

Native to: Asia
Appearance: the brown, curled inner bark of the cinnamon tree.
Aroma:
warm, sweet, woody
Flavor:
warm, sweet, woody with hints of citrus and clove
Culinary uses:
cinnamon is good with almonds, apples, apricots, bananas, chocolate, coffee, eggplant, lamb, pears, poultry, rice. Cinnamon combines well with cardamom, cloves, coriander, cumin, ginger, nutmeg, and turmeric.

 

 

Cloves ()

Native to: Asia
Appearance: brown flower buds that are shaped like nails
Aroma:
strong, assertive, warm, with notes of pepper and camphor
Flavor: fruity, sharp, hot, bitter, leaves a numbing sensation in the mouth
Culinary uses: Cloves are good with apples, beets, red cabbage, carrots, chocolate, ham, onions, oranges, pork, pumpkin, squashes, and sweet potatoes. Cloves combine well with allspice, cardamom, cinnamon, chili, coriander, fennel, ginger, and nutmeg.

 

Coriander ()

Native to: North Africa
Appearance: small, round, tan seeds of the cilantro plant.
Aroma: sweet, woody, spicy fragrance with peppery and floral notes
Flavor: sweet, mellow, and warm with a hint of orange peel
Culinary uses: Coriander is good with apples, chicken, citrus fruit, fish, ham, mushrooms, onions, plums, pork, and potatoes. Coriander combines well with allspice, chili, cinnamon, cloves, cumin, garlic, ginger, and nutmeg.

 

 

 

Cumin ()

Native to: North Africa
Appearance: crescent-shaped seeds of a plant in the parsley family
Aroma: earthy, pungent, strong, heavy, spicy-sweet
Flavor: earthy, warm, slightly bitter and sharp
Culinary uses: Cumin is good with beans, bread, cabbage, chicken, eggplant, lamb, lentils, onions, potatoes, rice, sauerkraut, and squash. Cumin combines well with allspice, anise seed, cardamom, chili, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, garlic, ginger, mustard seed, oregano, paprika, pepper, thyme, and turmeric

 

 

Fennel Seed ()

Native to:
Appearance: 
Aroma:

Flavor: a stronger flavor than the leaves and a bittersweet aftertaste; fennel seed is more astringent than anise.
Culinary uses:

Ginger ()

Native to: Asia
Appearance: the edible part of the plant is the rhizome, a gnarled root with thin, light brown skin and a golden color inside.
Aroma:
fresh ginger has a strong, spicy, rich, woody, warm aroma with a refreshing hint of lemon
Flavor: hot and tangy, has a bite
Culinary uses: Ginger is used in savory dishes throughout Asia. Ginger combines well with basil, chili, cilantro, coconut, fish sauce, garlic, lemongrass, lime juice, mint, scallions, soy sauce, and turmeric.

 

 

Licorice Root ()

Native to:
Appearance: 
Aroma:
sweet, warm, medicinal
Flavor: and a sweet, earthy, and anise-like taste with a lingering, bitter, salty aftertaste
Culinary uses:

 

Nutmeg ()

Native to:
Appearance: 
Aroma:

Flavor:
Culinary uses:

 

 

Star Anise ()

Native to:
Appearance: 
Aroma:
a fennel- and anise-like aroma with licorice notes and an assertive warmth.
Flavor: pungent and sweet with a mildly numbing effect, and the aftertaste is fresh and agreeable
Culinary uses:

 

Turmeric ()

Native to: Asia
Appearance: the edible part of turmeric plant is the rhizome, a type of root with thin, light brown skin and a deep yellow-orange color inside.
Aroma: complex, rich, woody, perfumed, with floral, citrus and ginger notes.
Fresh turmeric has gingery, citrus aromas. Dried turmeric has a complex, rich, woody aroma with floral, citrus, and ginger notes.
Flavor: Fresh turmeric has an agreeably earthy flavor with citrus overtones. Dried turmeric is slightly bitter, sour, warm, and musky.
Culinary uses: Turmeric is good with beans, eggplant, eggs, fish, lentils, meat, poultry, rice, root vegetables, and spinach. Turmeric combines well with chili, cilantro, cloves, coconut milk, coriander, cumin, fennel, garlic, ginger, lemon grass, mustard seeds, paprika, and pepper.

 

 

Traditional Spice Blends 

 

Dukkah is an Egyptian spice and nut blend that typically includes cumin, coriander, nuts, herbs, and salt. The word Dukkah comes from the arabic word “to pound or crush”, which is how it is made. Dukkah is eaten with bread, fresh vegetables, or meat. The recipe varies from family to family.

Garam Masala is a spice blend that is the base of many Indian dishes. Garam masala varies widely from region to region in India, but typically includes black pepper, cinnamon, cumin, cardamom, and cloves.

Jerk is a marinade or dry rub from Jamaica made from allspice, Scotch Bonnet peppers, and other spices. Jerk is also a method of preserving meat with spices, smoke, and heat.

Curry Powder is a blend of up to 20 spices that is widely used in Indian cooking. In India, curry powder is freshly ground from whole spices each day and can vary dramatically depending on the region and the cook.     

Creole Seasoning – smoked paprika, thyme, oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper

Gingerbread Spice

Chili-Lime Spice