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All About Spices

Allspice

Allspice

One of the myrtles, the tree is very tall and aromatic with small white flowers. Berries are the size of large peppercorns and are harvested green.

Anise

Anise

One of the oldest spices, the plant grows to 60 cm with clusters of yellow-white flowers.

Caraway

Caraway

Caraway has been used as a spice for about 5000 years. Originally from temperate Asian countries.

Cardamom
  • Time: 45 minutes
  • Complexity: very easy

Cardamom

Green and white pods only should be used. Do not use brown pods as they are not true cardamom and are rather unpleasant.

Celery Seed

Celery Seed

Tastes good with/in soups, sauces, stews, fish, breads, tomato juice, relishes, pickles, chutneys, egg dishes (especially omelettes) and salad dressings.

Chilli

Chilli

Chillies contain capsaicin, which is the source of their fiery flavour. It is an oily substance, not water soluable, that can be painful in contact with eyes or other sensitive areas. Measured in Scoville units ranging from 0 to 300,000.

Cinnamon

Cinnamon

Native to Sri Lanka. Very old - mentioned in the Bible and Sanskrit manuscripts.

Cloves

Cloves

Originated from Moluccas or Spice Islands in Southeast Asia.

Cumin

Cumin

The spice comes from the seed. The essential oil extracted from the seed is used by the perfume industry.

Curry Powders

Curry Powders

There is no one specific blend of curry. Each blend is made according to personal taste and are called masalas. The word 'Curry' is actually a term coined by the British colonials in India.

Fenugreek

Fenugreek

An annual whose Latin name means "Greek hay". Native of western Asia. Used in Indian cooking and the manufacture of some oral contraceptives.

Galangal

Galangal

Tastes good with/in - curries, soups, stews, chicken, seafood (especially prawns), coconut-based sauces and lamb.

Ginger

Ginger

An underground rhizome that is used extensively in the cuisines of Asia where it is second in importance only to salt.

Mustard

Mustard

The name derives from the Latin mustum ardens, or burning must. Named for, as the seeds were pounded with grape juice, or must, their pungent qualities developed, hence 'burning'.

Nutmeg & Mace

Nutmeg & Mace

Nutmeg is the hard kernel of the fruit of an evergreen tree native to the Moluccas (Spice Islands). The fruit is split open to reveal the seed - nutmeg - which is wrapped in a bright red lacy covering - mace.