A spice is a seed, fruit, root, bark, or other plant substance primarily used for flavoring or coloring food. Spices are distinguished from herbs, which are the leaves, flowers, or stems of plants used for flavoring or as a garnish.
A spice may be available in several forms: fresh, whole dried, or pre-ground dried. Generally, spices are dried. Spices may be ground into a powder for convenience. A whole dried spice has the longest shelf life. A fresh spice, such as ginger, is usually more flavorful than its dried form, but fresh spices are more expensive and have a much shorter shelf life. Some spices are not always available either fresh or whole, for example turmeric, and often must be purchased in ground form.
India contributes to 75% of global spice production. This is reflected culturally through their cuisine; historically, the spice trade developed throughout the Indian subcontinent, as well as in East Asia and the Middle East. Europe’s demand for spices was among the economic and cultural factors that encouraged exploration in the early modern period.
Spices for example are used in various beers, Belgian witbier is brewed with coriander, Finnish sahti is brewed with juniper berries, and traditional beers in Britain are brewed with honey and spices. Some strong winter beers are flavored with nutmeg and/or cinnamon, while ginger is a popular Flavoring for a range of beers. Many commercially available pumpkin ales are made with pumpkin pie spices without any actual pumpkin.
The BA (Brewers Association) recognizes two categories of spiced beers. Pumpkin Spiced Beer and the category Herb and Spiced Beer.
“Herb and Spice beer is any beer brewed with herbs or spices derived from leaves, roots, seeds, fruits, vegetables, flowers, etc. and which exhibits herbal or spicy attributes. Herb or spice character can range from subtle to intense. Classifying these beers can be complex. Beers which exhibit herbal or spicy character are considered Herb and Spice Beer. Beers brewed with chili peppers are categorized as Chili Pepper Beer. Beers brewed with or without pumpkin in which herb or spice attributes typical of pumpkin pie dominate are categorized as Pumpkin Spice Beer.”
Parts Used: Seed, ground and whole
AKA: Jamaica Pepper; Piment de la Jamaïque; Clove Pepper; Myrtle Pepper; Pimenta; Pimento; Newspice; Pepper Clover
Allspice is the dried berry of the pimenta dioica tree, also known as the pimento tree or the Jamaican pepper. Botanically known as pimenta officinalis, allspice is native to Central and South America but it’s most closely associated with the West Indies island of Jamaica. Jamaica exports the majority of allspice for consumption around the world. Allspice takes its name from its aroma, which smells like a combination of spices, especially cinnamon, cloves, ginger and nutmeg.
Parts Used: Flower, Seeds
AKA: Aniseed; Sweet Cumin; Common Anise; Graines d’Anis
Anise Seed should not be confused with Star Anise. Anise bears a strong family resemblance to the members of the carrot family, that includes dill, fennel, coriander, cumin and caraway. Many of these relatives have been described as having a licorice flavor, to some extent, but anise is the true taste of licorice— its oils are distilled into the flavoring for licorice candy (not from the herb licorice, which has a different taste).
Parts Used: Seeds also, leaf, and root
AKA: Roucou; achiote; achiotillo; bija; urucum; atsuete
Annatto is an orange-red condiment and food coloring derived from the seeds of the achiote tree, native to tropical regions from Mexico to Brazil. Annatto is commonly used to impart a yellow or orange color to many industrialized and semi-industrialized foods. In the United States, annatto extract is listed as a color additive “exempt from certification”and is considered to be a natural coloring. It has a taste that is sweet, peppery with a trace of nutmeg.
Parts Used: Sap from the exposed root
AKA: Food of the gods; devil’s dung; food of the devils; Devil’s shit; asant; jowani badian; stinking gum; hing; hengu; ingu; kayam; ting.
Native to Southwestern Asia, a little known spice outside of India, Asafetida is the dried resin obtained from the rhizome of the giant fennel plant of the celery family. Known for its intense aroma, leading to its other names, which dissipates in cooking, it acts as a savory enhancer, giving leek/onion like notes. Powdered asafetida is as a coarse yellow powder that smells like boiled eggs or picked garlic.
Commercial Examples: CBS New Knežičky /// 12.CBS.R1 | Pivovar Záhora
Parts Used: Seeds
AKA: Koko or Kacao
Despite the similarities in their spelling, cacao and cocoa are two very different ingredients. All of the chocolate products you eat are derived from cacao seeds in some form or another, which are derived from the plant Theobrama cacao Plant— an evergreen tree that grows in South America and West Africa. Cacao seeds grow in large pods on the trunks of these trees. It can be found in nib form or ground into a powder. The flavor is intense with a subtle mouth – cooling finish.
Commercial Examples: Bourbon Barrel-aged Marshal Zhukov’s Penultimate Push| Cigar City; Barrel Aged Abraxas | Perennial Artisan Ales; Chocolate Rain | The Bruery
Parts Used: Seeds
AKA: Cardamom; Mysore Cardamom; Cardamamus; Cardamom; Grains Of Paradise
There are two types of cardamom. Green, or true , cardamom is aromatic, sweet, and spicy. Black cardamom has a smokier aroma, with a coolness some consider similar to mint. Green cardamom is one of the world’s most expensive spices by weight, described simply as “exotic.” The fruits of the plant are pods that contain the fragrant seeds, which are best ground fresh, with or without the pods. Added at the end of the boil, they can add complex but subtle flavors and the spiciness of ginger.
Commercial Examples: Costumes and Karaoke | Dogfish Head Craft Brewery; Cardamom, Yellow: Mango Smoovie | Dogfish Head Craft Brewery: Green Cardamom: All Things Yet IPA / Beer To Drink Music To (2016) | Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Parts Used: Stem Bark
AKA: Cassia Bark; Chinese Cassia; Chinese Cinnamon, Vietnamese cinnamon; Indonesian cinnamon; korintje; Malabar cinnamon
In North America, the most common spice labeled as ‘cinnamon’ is actually cassia, a similar spice also known as Chinese cinnamon. It is harvested from the bark of the Cinnamomum aromaticum tree. Cassia buds look a bit like cloves, and taste like Dentyne gum. The buds may be difficult to find, but are worth searching out. Nice in Christmas ales. With a deeper, richer taste than true cinnamon, cassia bark gives the familiar cinnamon toast flavor. Vietnamese is the highest grade.
Commercial Examples: Punch Yourself (ladykiller cocktail) | Oozlefinch Beers & Blending; Chasing Darkness Batch 2 (Cassia Bark And Ugandan Vanilla Beans) | Timber Ales; Csar | Tin Man Brewing Co.
Parts Used: Bark (Cinnamomi cortex)
AKA: Batavian Cassia; korintje; kwai; Padang cassia;
Cinnamon is harvested from the inner bark of the Cinnamomum verum tree. It is also known as ‘Ceylon cinnamon,’ a reference to its native country of Sri Lanka (which was formerly known as Ceylon). True cinnamon, Cinnamomum zeylanicum, dates back in Chinese writings to 2800 B.C., and is still known as kwai in the Cantonese language today. Much of what is sold as cinnamon in the United States is imported and actually made from cassia bark and not cinnamon.
Parts Used: Flowers (Caryophylli flos)
The word ‘clove’ is from the Latin word for ‘nail’ – clavus. The Chinese wrote of cloves as early as 400 BC. and there is a record from 200 BC of courtiers keeping cloves in their mouths to avoid offending the emperor while addressing him. Cloves are the immature unopened flower buds of a tropical tree. When fresh, they are pink, dried, they turn to a rust-brown color. Measuring 12-16 mm (1/2”-5/8”) long, they resemble small nails, with a tapered stem. The large end of the clove is the four-pointed flower bud.
Parts Used: Fruit (Coriandri fructus)
AKA: Chinese Parsley; Cilantro; Dizzycorn; Japanese Parsley
One of the first European spices cultivated in America, coriander seldom appeared in recipes for beer until recently. The edible leaves are more often referred to as cilantro when used fresh, and their aroma is particularly divisive. Those who enjoy it say it has a refreshing, lemony or lime-like flavor, while those who dislike say it tastes like soap. Used in beer, the seeds may have a similar effect, as some drinkers describe citrusy (particularly orange) qualities and others complain of celery or ham-like flavors.
Parts Used: Fruit (Cumini fructus)
AKA: Cuminum Cyminum; False Anise; Jeera; Comino; Zeera; Karmoun; Kammun
Cumin is a spice made from the dried seed of a plant that is a member of the parsley family. Cumin is one of the most popular spices and is commonly used in Latin American, Middle Eastern, North African, and Indian cuisines. It’s available as whole seeds and in ground form. Cumin seeds are harvested by hand from an annual plant; they are small, boat-shaped, and resemble caraway seeds. The most common variety of cumin is a brownish-yellow color, although you can find black cumin, green cumin, and white cumin.
Parts Used: Bulb, Leaves, Seeds
AKA: Fish herb; Shatapushpa
Fennel seed is found in two main varieties. The first is Bitter Fennel which has a licorice-like aroma and a slightly sweet flavor profile. The other variety is Sweet Fennel, which, as the name suggests has a really sweet, nutty aroma and taste. Ground fennel seeds are popularly used as a spice in several cuisines all across the world due to its sweet and grassy flavor that has subtle hints of anise and star anise. Ground fennel is widely featured in dishes originating from Scandinavia, the Middle East, and the Mediterranean.
Parts Used: Seeds and Leaves
AKA: Greek Hay; Greek Clover; Bird’s Foot; Foenugreek; Goat’s Horn; Fenugrec; Trigonelle
Fenugreek is an annual plant in the Fabaceae family with leaves consisting of three small oblong leaflets. It may have a single stem or may be branched at the stem base. The leaves of the plant are small and trifoliate with oval leaflets that are green to purple in color. The plant produces a solitary pale white or purplish flower and a usually straight yellow pod which houses the seeds. Between 10 and 20 seeds are produced per pod and they are small, smooth and brown, each divided into two lobes.
Parts Used: Roots
AKA: Geater galanga; lengkuas; laos; lesser galangal; Chinese ginger; Thai ginger; Siamese ginger; fingerroot; kencur; black galangal; and ginger
Galangal is a common name for several tropical rhizomatous spices While all varieties of galangal are closely related to common ginger, each is unique in its own right, and galangals are not typically regarded as synonymous with ginger or each other in traditional Asian dishes. The four main Galangal plant species in the Zingiberaceae (ginger) family are: Alpinia galanga, Alpinia officinarum, Boesenbergia rotunda, Kaempferia galanga,
Parts Used: Bulb (sections called cloves)
AKA: Stinking Rose
The edible bulb is made up of sections called cloves, that are encased in a parchment like membrane. Three major varieties are available in the US: the white-skinned strongly flavored American garlic; Mexican and Italian garlic, which have mauve-colored skins and a somewhat milder flavor; and the white-skinned, mild flavored elephant garlic, which is not a true garlic, but a relative of the leek. Green garlic, is young garlic before it begins to form cloves; resembling a baby leek, with a long green top and white bulb.
Commercial Examples: Vampire’s Nemesis | Harpoon Brewery; On The Wings Of Armageddon (w/ Dill Weed, Garlic Juice) | DC Brau Brewing Co.; Morning Mary Ale | Bell’s Brewery
Parts Used: Roots, ground or whole
AKA: East Indian Pepper; Jamaica Ginger; Jamaica Pepper
The rhizome of a low spreading plant, available fresh or dried. Jamaican is the best of the dried varieties. It has a sharp, peppery, yet earthy flavor that can dominate a beer easily, so use restraint. Most fresh ginger sold here is woody and somewhat earthy. Fresh young roots have a pinkish tinge to the flesh and a superior flavor. May be available in Thai or other Asian markets. Candied ginger seems to be of much better quality, milder and purer-tasting than fresh. Ginger “tea” concentrate has a nice, clean ginger flavor.
Parts Used: Seeds (Paradisi semen)
AKA: Guinea pepper; Guinea Grains; Melegueta Pepper; Paradise Grains; Alligator Pepper; Grenes
Grains of Paradise are the pungent seeds of Aframomum melegueta, a reedlike plant of the Ginger family Zingiberaceae. The plant is native to tropical western Africa and to São Tomé and Príncipe islands in the Gulf of Guinea; it is cultivated in other tropical countries. The seeds are contained in the acid pulp of the fruit and have a glossy, dark brown husk, with a conical, light-coloured membranous caruncle at the base and a white kernel-like structure called an aril.
Parts Used: Peel
The grapefruit is a citrus fruit originating from the West Indies in the 1700s. It is thought to be a cross between the orange and the shaddock. This is made from the outer grapefruit peel, with most of the white part of the rind, called the pith being avoided. The pith gives a bitter flavor, while the zest contains the highest oil content and the most pleasing flavor, which is the reason it is so popular with our brewers, distillers and is used in baking. Dried Grapefruit Peel, as it is a terrific substitute for orange peel in a Belgian wit, and works well in IPAs and Saisons.
Parts Used: Roots
AKA: Sea radish; Mareradish; Pepper Root; Pepper Turnip; Red Cole; Great Raifort; Horse Plant; Mountain Radish
Horseradish (Armoracia rusticana) is a perennial plant of the family Brassicaceae (which also includes mustard, wasabi, broccoli, cabbage, and radish). It is a root vegetable, cultivated and used worldwide as a spice and as a condiment. It has a long, white root and green leaves. When the root is cut, an enzyme breaks down a compound called sinigrin into a mustard oil. This oil, known as allyl isothiocyanate, gives horseradish its telltale odor and taste.
Parts Used: Peel, dehydrated lemon zest
AKA: Citrus Medica; Citrus Limonum; Citronnier; Neemoo; Leemoo; Limoun; Limone
Lemon peel/zest is obtained from the rind of lemons. There is intense lemon flavor in the peel as this is where the fruit’s volatile oils reside, which concentrates when the peel is dried. The Lemon is a small, straggling tree from the Rutaceae family. The leaves are ovate-oval evergreen and are about two inches long; the margin serrate with sharp spines in the axils of the stalks. About forty-seven varieties of lemon are believed to have been developed during its centuries of cultivation.
Parts Used: Roots
AKA: Sweet Root; Liquorice; Lacris; Reglisse; Lacrosse; Regolizia; Sweetwood
Licorice is a member of the pea family that’s native to Asia and was introduced to Europe by Dominican friars in the 15th century. The plant is harvested for its stolon-like roots, which harbor the compound glycyrrhizin, a compound that is up to 50 times sweeter than table sugar. While there are roughly two dozen species of licorice distributed throughout its native range, Glycyrrhiza glabra is specific to Europe. Licorice root can be used in several forms. It can be found in liquid extracts, decoctions, and it can also be used in powdered form.
Parts Used: Processed form of licorice root, especially for brewing
AKA: Brewers Licorice; Blackroot; Liquorice
Licorice sticks are a processed form of licorice, made especially for brewing. Licorice has a high sweetness index, and can add sweetness and body in addition to the licorice flavor. Stick licorice is made by crushing and grinding licorice roots to a pulp, which is then boiled in water over an open fire. The solution is separated from the solid residue of the root by evaporation until a sufficient degree of concentration is attained. After cooling the licorice is rolled into the form of sticks or other shapes as needed for the market.
Parts Used: Dried peel or zest
AKA: Limette; Italian Limetta; Adam’s Apple
Compared to the Persian lime (Citrus x latiolia), the key lime is smaller and seedier, with a higher acidity, a stronger aroma, and a thinner rind. It is valued for its unique flavor compared to other limes, with the Key lime usually having a more tart and bitter flavor. Though the tree is native to southeast Asia, its name comes from its association with the Florida Keys, where it is best known as the flavoring ingredient in Key lime pie. Citrus x aurantifolia
Parts Used: Nut shell covering, the aril
AKA: Blade Mace
The nutmeg tree is a native of the Banda Islands, a cluster of small volcanic islands historically known as the Spice Islands and now part of the province of Molucca in Indonesia. Nutmeg isn’t really a nut, but the kernel of an apricot-like fruit. The closely related mace is an arillus, a thin leathery tissue between the stone and the pulp. Mace and nutmeg have different tastes. Frequently used in Christmas beers.
Parts Used: Seeds, whole, ground, cracked
AKA: Cubeb; Java pepper; Benin pepper; Tailed pepper; False pepper; Shital chini; Kabab chini
Cubeb Pepper is a perennial vine of the Piperaceae family and grows almost exclusively in Java and other parts of Indonesia.. Commercial cubebs consist of the dried berries, similar in appearance to black pepper, but with stalks attached. The dried pericarp is wrinkled; its color ranges from grayish-brown to black. The seed is hard, white and oily. The odor of cubebsis described as agreeable and aromatic; the taste, pungent, acrid, slightly bitter and persistent. It has been described as tasting like allspice, or like a cross between allspice and black pepper.
Parts Used: Pepper catkins
AKA: Indian long pepper; Pipli
Long pepper has a history as rich as black pepper, but it is more complex in flavor. Notes of nutmeg, cinnamon, and ginger make it an all-around spicier pepper. There are actually two commercially grown species of long pepper: piper longum, from India, and the cheaper and wider-spread piper retrofactum, from Indonesia. Their flavors are similar enough as to be interchangeable. The fruit of the pepper consists of many minuscule fruits – each about the size of a poppy seed – embedded in the surface of a flower spike that closely resembles a hazel tree catkin. Today, long pepper is a rarity in general commerce.
Parts Used: Seeds, whole, ground, cracked
AKA: Japanese pepper; Japanese prickly-ash; Korean pepper; Chopi pepper
Sansho pepper is a deciduous aromatic spiny shrub or small tree, belonging to the Rutaceae (citrus and rue) family. Sansho pepper is closely related to the Chinese Szechuan peppers, which come from plants of the same genus. Its natural range spans from Hokkaido to Kyushu in Japan, southern parts of the Korean peninsula, and the Chinese mainland. The female Sansho flowers and yield berries or peppercorns that in autumn, ripen, turning scarlet before bursting, scattering the black seeds within.
Parts Used: Seeds, whole, ground, cracked
AKA: Tasmanian Mountain Pepper; Mountain pepper, Native Pepper; Winter’s Bark
Tasmanian Mountain Pepper plant is a good substitute for traditional pepper, but with a more intense flavor similar to the Sichuan pepper. Flavor is tangy and spicy with hot, strong undertones. Both the leaves and berries of this tree are used for cooking. Tasmanian Mountain Pepper plant is native to sub-alpine regions of New South Wales, Tasmania, and Victoria, and prefers well composted soils in a protected and shaded position. Adds fruity spice, with a sharp heat, prized for its lingering afterburn and unique spicy-berry flavors.
Parts Used: Peel (pericarp)
AKA: Bigarade; Marmalade Orange; Seville Orange; Sour Orange
Bitter orange is the citrus tree Citrus × aurantium and its fruit. It is native to Southeast Asia and has been spread to many parts of the world. It is probably a cross between the pomelo, Citrus maxima, and the mandarin orange, Citrus reticulata. Bitter orange is important as the source of candied orange peel (orange succade), which is essential in European baking, and enjoys also high popularity in England, e. g. in form of marmalade, a jam made from bitter oranges.
Parts Used: Peel (pericarp)
AKA: China Orange
The Sweet Orange is one of several species of small trees or shrubs of the genus Citrus of the family Rutaceae and their nearly round fruits, which have leathery and oily rinds and edible, juicy inner flesh. A number of species and varieties of orange are economically important, namely the China orange, also called the sweet, or common, orange (Citrus ×sinensis); the mandarin orange (C. reticulata), some varieties of which are called tangerines; and the sour, or Seville, orange (C. ×aurantium), which is less extensively grown.
Commercial Examples: Grand Cru |Southampton Publick House; Stone 12.12.12 Vertical Epic Ale | Stone Brewing Co.; 12th Night | Lickinghole Creek Craft Brewery. Scratch 36 – Bruce Wit | Tröegs Independent Brewing Co.
Parts Used: Roots
AKA: Queen Elizabeth Root; Ghiaggiuolo; Dalmatian Iris; Sweet Iris
Orris root is a member of the iris family with beautiful, large, purple flowers and sword-like leaves. Native to the Mediterranean region, the violet-scented root has been used in perfumery since the time of ancient Greece. The orris is a group of two species of European iris—Iris germanica and Iris pallida— cultivated in the region near Florence and sold as ghiaggiuolo. The rhizomes, resembling ginger, are dug up in August, stripped of their rootlets and bark, and then dried until they have a chalky appearance.
Parts Used: Seeds pericarp
AKA: Lemon Pepper
Andaliman, is a species of flowering plant in the family Rutaceae. Its range includes southern western China, Bangladesh, Bhutan, northern India and northeastern India, Nepal, Laos, Burma, northern Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Peninsular Malaysia. Much like the closely related Sichuan pepper (Z. piperitum), the seed pericarps are used as spices in cooking and have a similar tongue-numbing characteristic. Andaliman pepper grows wild and cannot be cultivated, which makes it very rare.
Parts Used: Seeds, whole, ground, cracked
AKA: Black Pepper; Peppercorns Red, Green, Black, or White,
Black pepper is a flowering vine in the family Piperaceae, cultivated for its fruit, known as a peppercorn, which is usually dried and used as a spice and seasoning. The fruit is drupe (stonefruit) which, when fresh and fully mature, is dark red, and contains a stone which encloses a single pepper seed. White peppercorn consists of the seed of the ripe fruit with the thin darker-coloured skin (flesh) of the fruit removed. Dried green peppercorns are treated to retain the green color, such as with sulfur dioxide, canning, or freeze-drying. Red peppercorns are ripe peppercorns preserved in brine and vinegar or they can also be dried using the same techniques used to produce green pepper.
Commercial Examples: Scratch 47 – White Ale | Tröegs Independent Brewing Co.; 12th Night | Lickinghole Creek Craft Brewery, Coquetier (w/ Pink Peppercorns) | Jester King Brewery; Rose | Hair of the Dog Brewing Co.
Parts Used: Seeds, whole, ground, cracked
AKA: Baie rose; Pink berry
Pink peppercorns aren’t really peppercorns at all. They’re actually the ripe berries of the Peruvian (schinus molle) and Brazilian (schinus terebinthifolius) pepper trees. Pink pepper is a berry roughly the same size as black peppercorns, that s a pleasantly sweet, bright, and fruity depth of flavor, and a little friendly heat. This ruby of the spice world has a fragile outer shell that crumbles easily, and, as such, you shouldn’t place it in a black pepper grinder, as the grinder’s mechanism is too forceful. Instead, it should be crumbled by hand or gently ground in a mortar and pestle.
Commercial Examples: Artista Zynergia: Gosatequin (Blend #1) | OEC Brewing (Ordinem Ecentrici Coctores); El Camino (un)Real | Stone Brewing; Dark Lord – ChemTrailMix (2017) | 3 Floyds Brewing Co. Fluxus (2012) | Allagash Brewing Co.
Parts Used: Seeds, whole, ground, cracked
AKA: Indonesian lemon pepper; Szechwan pepper; Szechuan pepper; Sichuan pepper; Chinese prickly-ash; Flatspine prickly-ash
Szechuan pepper is a spice obtained from the dried berries, or peppercorns, of Chinese prickly ash, a plant in the citrus family that is native to Asia. The tiny, crimson-colored peppercorns are commonly used in Asian cooking to produce a taste experience referred to as mala, which is something like a cross between a minty or lemony flavor on the tongue followed by a tingling sensation. Although some people have described the effect as eye-opening, Szechuan pepper lacks the pungent heat of black peppercorns. The mala effect is best achieved by pairing Szechuan pepper with chili pepper.
Parts Used: Seeds, whole, ground, cracked
AKA: Thalassery; Tellicherry black pepper;
Tellicherry Black Peppercorns are grown in Kerala, a state in southwestern India along the Malabar Coast. These Tellicherry peppercorns are vine-ripened, allowed to mature longer to develop a deep, rich flavor. Once matured, the peppercorns are picked from the vine just before they turn red. As they dry, the berries turn black. The berries are larger with a full, robust flavor. Tellicherry pepper is considered one of the finest peppers in the world. These berries are fragrant with spice, fresh corn husks., and a hint of citrus, with a front-of-the-mouth flavor explosion of classic pepper heat.
Parts Used: Various spices in a blend
AKA: Pumpkin Pie Spice; Pumpkin Blend; Pumpkin Ground
Pumpkin Spice has been the official flavor of fall for the last two decades. It’s synonymous with the end of summer, cooler temperatures, autumn leaves, and sweater weather. Pumpkin pie spice is a blend of “warm” spices, generally including some or all of the following: cinnamon, cassia, clove, ginger, nutmeg, cardamom, allspice, mace, and sulfiting agents. Will make any beer taste just like pumpkin pie. Pumpkin itself is a member of the squash family, a North American native that is harvested in the early to-mid fall. Pumpkin spice is also used in cider production.
Parts Used: Seeds (Haws)
AKA: Apothecary Rose; Cherokee Rose; Cynorhodon; Cynosbatos; Damask Rose; Dog Rose Hips; Hipberry; Jin Yin Zi; Rose Haw; Rose Hep; Rose Rouge de Lancaster; Wild Boar Fruit
Rose hips, technically known as haws, are the immature fruits of the common rose bush, the part of the rose flower just below the petals that contains the rose plant seeds. Also called the fruit of the rose, rose hips are usually red-orange, though yellow and black varieties can also be found. The plant Rosa canina is a climbing wild rose species of the Rosaceaefamily which has upwards of 100 species and is native to Europe, northwest Africa and western Asia.
Parts Used: Leaves, Buds
AKA: Cabbage Rose, Hundred-Leafed Rose, French Rose, Damask Rose
For the spice trade, tiny “tea roses” are harvested and have their petals separated from their unpleasantly hard, bitter cores. Other commercial processes extract the flavors into water with steam to make rose water. Rose is also infused into a multitude of drinks in India and the Middle East. From teas to colas, any number of concoctions take on the dry floral character, getting as much help from the aroma as from the taste. Most people associate smell rather than taste with rose petals.
Parts Used: Red-gold stigma filaments or threads
AKA: Alicante Saffron, Autumn Crocus, Crocus, Gatinais Saffron, Hay Saffron Karcom, Stima Croci, Zaffer
Saffron is a spice made from the stigma filaments or “threads” of an autumn-flowering species of crocus. Its name is thought to be a corruption of the Arab word zafaran, which means spice and is sometimes also used to refer to the color yellow. Saffron is still the most expensive spice because it is the most costly to produce. Since each flower only has three stigmas, it takes a lot of plants to produce even a small amount of spice. Fortunately, a pinch of saffron goes a very long way in terms of flavor and color.
Parts Used: Roots
AKA: Salsaparrilha; Khao Yen; Saparna; Smilace; Smilax; Zarzaparilla; Jupicanga; Liseron Epineux; Salsepareille; Sarsa; Ba Qia
Sarsaparilla, is an aromatic flavouring agent made from the roots of several tropical vines belonging to the Smilax genus of the lily family (Liliaceae). The sarsaparilla plants (Spanish zarza,“bramble,” and parrilla,“little vine”) are native to the southern and western coasts of Mexico to Peru. They are large, perennial, climbing or trailing vines with short, thick, underground stems producing many prickly, angular, above ground stems. After drying in the sun, the roots are gathered loosely into bundles or bound tightly into cylinders, depending on the place of origin, and then exported.
Parts Used: Crystalline mineral
AKA: Rock Salt; Halite
Salt is a mineral composed primarily of sodium chloride (NaCl), a chemical compound belonging to the larger class of salts; salt in the form of a natural crystalline mineral. Salt is one of the oldest and most ubiquitous food seasonings, and salting is an important method of food. Salt is also an ingredient in many manufactured foodstuffs. Table salt is a refined salt containing about 97 to 99 percent sodium chloride. Usually, anticaking agents such as sodium aluminosilicate or magnesium carbonate are added to make it free-flowing while Iodized salt, containing potassium iodide.
Parts Used: Celery Seeds, Stalk, Leaves; Mineral salt
AKA: Bloody Mary Salt
Celery salt is a mixture of table or sea salt, with ground celery seeds — or sometimes dried or ground celery stalk and leaves, too. It consists of three parts of plain table salt mixed with two parts of celery seed. The combination of these two ingredients gives it a unique savoury tinge. The salty profile of celery salt may differ upon the use of table or sea salt due to their dissolving rates. The seed enhances the salty flavor of table salt by giving it a cool, grassy flavor. Celery salt is a classic seasoning in tomato juice, and an ingredient of the Bloody Mary and Caesar cocktails.
Parts Used: Crystalline Mineral
AKA: Himalayan salt; Pink salt
Himalayan salt is a type of rock salt so named because it is mined from the Punjab region of Pakistan and India situated at the base of the Himalaya Mountains. Collectively, the six mines in this region are referred to as the Salt Range Mountains and each harbors deep salt deposits that date to the Ediacaran Period of more than 90 million years ago. This makes Himalayan salt a sustainable product, and because it is harvested by hand it is not chemically treated or contaminated with waste products associated with processing. It is also naturally free of anti-caking agents.
Parts Used: Crystalline Minerals
Varieties: Mayan; French Fleur de Sel; Mediterranean; Hawaiian; Maldon; Himalayan; Dead Sea
Sea salt is derived from sea water. The exact chemical composition and trace elements of sea salt will depend upon the water from which it was extracted. Sea salt typically is still hand-harvested in the traditional way, by drying seawater in shallow pools. As the water evaporates, crystals begin to form. If wind, sun, and temperature conditions are right, bright white crystals will form on the surface. Sea salt has an intensity and complexity that cooks find appealing. It is often sold in a coarse grind that affects the rate at which it dissolves and the effect is has.
Parts Used: Seeds, Whole, Ground, Powder
AKA:Star Aniseed; Badiane; Chinese Star Anise; Aniseed; Sweet Cumin
Star anise is a spice obtained from the star-shaped, immature fruits of an Asian evergreen tree. As the name suggests, the spice has a flavor that is reminiscent of anise, or licorice. The seed pods are used whole to flavor beverages, including mulled wine, teas and infused vodka or gin. Star anise is widely used in Asian cuisine and is a traditional component of chai, Chinese 5-Spice and garam masala seasoning blends. The aromatic pods or the ground spice are used in dried and simmering potpourri mixtures.Adds a spicy and anise-like bitterness during the boil.
Commercial Examples: Costumes and Karaoke | Dogfish Head Craft Brewery; Spiced Cranberry Melomel | B. Nektar Meadery; 12th Night | Lickinghole Creek Craft Brewery. Scratch 36 – Bruce Wit | Tröegs Independent Brewing
Parts Used: Berries
AKA: Sumach; Staghorn sumac; Littleleaf sumac; Sicilian sumac; Winged sumac; Sourberry sumac; Fragrant sumac; Lemon sumac; Smooth sumac; Scarlet sumac
Sumac is a small flowering tree native to Iran that grows wild in Western Asia, the Arabian peninsula, and most of the Mediterranean. There are many species of sumac, but Rhus coriaria is the main species that produces the spice. Sumac spice is harvested in the fall when berry clusters are fully developed. The berries are commonly sun-dried before they are finely ground for culinary use. There is another variety of sumac that grows native in North America called staghorn sumac, Rhus typhina. If you live in the midwest, you’ve likely seen groves of these sumac trees alongside the highway.
Parts Used: Pulp from pods
AKA: Date of India; Tamir Imli; Tamarindo; Tamó; Asam jawa; Asam; Sukaer; Sampalok; Sampaloc; Sambag
Tamarind is a leguminous tree bearing edible fruit that is indigenous to tropical Africa. The tamarind tree produces brown, pod-like fruits that contain a sweet, fleshy tangy pulp, which is used in cuisines around the world. It is mature when the flesh is coloured brown or reddish brown. When ripe, the pulp is removed from its brittle pod and molded into blocks or slabs, sometimes with its fibers and seeds still included. It is one of the ingredients of Worcestershire sauce and Angostura bitters. Today, India is the largest producer of tamarind. The consumption of tamarind is widespread due to its role in Indian cuisine.
Parts Used: Rhizomes (underground stem)
Varieties: Indian saffron; Golden spice; Jiang Huang; Racine de Curcuma; Radix Curcumae; Safran Bourbon; Safran de Batallita; Safran des Indes; Yu Jin
Turmeric is a flowering plant, Curcuma longa of the ginger family, Zingiberaceae, the rhizomes of which are used in cooking. The plant is a perennial, rhizomatous, herbaceous plant native to the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia, that requires temperatures between 20 and 30 °C (68 and 86 °F) and a considerable amount of annual rainfall to thrive. The primary active component of turmeric — and the one that gives the — is curcumin that gives the spice, mustard, and curry their characteristic yellow color. Turmeric has a warm, bitter taste.
Parts Used: Whole pod, Seeds
AKA: Bourbon vanilla; Madagascar vanilla; Bourbon bean
Vanilla was first cultivated by the Totonec people of Mexico. In the 15th century the Aztecs conquered the Totonec and required tribute in the form of vanilla beans. Vanilla comes from the long, greenish-yellow seedpods of a fragrant tropical vanilla orchid. Only three species —Vanilla planifolia(Bourbon vanilla), Vanilla tahitensis (Tahitian vanilla) and occasionally Vanilla pompona (West Indian vanilla)— are cultivated for commercial use. Today vanilla is grown commercially in Madagascar, Mexico, Indonesia, and Tahiti. To use a vanilla bean you typically slice the bean open, lengthwise, the scrape out the seeds into the liquid used.
Commercial Examples: Costumes and Karaoke | Dogfish Head Craft Brewery; 12th Night / Carrot Cake Imperial Amber Ale | Lickinghole Creek Craft Brewery; Bourbon County Brand Vanilla Stout (2018) | Goose Island Beer Co.
Parts Used: Ground rhizomes
AKA: Japanese horseradish; Hon-wasabi
Real wasabi comes from a plant that belongs to the Brassicaceae family, which typically encompasses other types of radishes, horseradishes, and mustard plants. More like a root vegetable than a spice, real wasabi is made from the rhizome of a wasabi plant, which is the underground stem part of it. This underground stem is grated finely to create real wasabi paste. This is kind of like how ginger can be grated, although a bit less fibrous. The majority of products claiming to contain wasabi don’t instead it’s a mixture of horseradish, food coloring, mustard, cornstarch and sadly, is a mere shadow of the real deal.
Parts Used: Peel or Zest
AKA: Yuja; Japanese lemon
Yuzu is one of the world’s most coveted a citrus fruit and plant in the family Rutaceae. Yuzu forms an upright shrub or small tree, which commonly has many large thorns. Leaves are notable for a large, leaf-like petiole, resembling those of the related kaffir lime and ichang papeda, and are heavily scented. Yuzu has a strong and distinctive flavor that is refreshingly tart flavor and unique floral fragrance which tastes like a cross between lemon, pomelo, and mandarin orange. This fruit is ubiquitous as a flavoring in both sweet and savory dishes. Yuzu has been cultivated mainly in East Asia, though recently also in Australia, Spain, Italy and France.