What is meant by spice?

All those substances of vegetable origin used to enrich the flavor of foods and drinks fall within the definition of spices. They are generally foods of exotic provenancemostly traded from the East and Mediterranean countries, obtained from different varieties of aromatic plants. Known since ancient times and in the past the real economic engine of many European countries, let’s see better what is meant by spiceswhat they are and what is the difference with the aromas.

What is meant by spices

Also known as drugs – hence the term grocery, or spice shop – over the centuries these foods have known ahuge spread and today they are practically integrated into kitchens around the world.

For some decades, then, they have been experiencing a great rediscovery thanks also to the newfound interest of science towards the natural medicine. Spices, in fact, boast many therapeutic properties and once they were used as a remedy for ailments and ailments, they found applications in cosmetics and were even used in the celebration of religious cults.

There are so many. Estimating the number of spices used in the world is practically impossible. Just think that in the masala, the curry powder, there are more than 70 different types.

The difference between spices and flavourings

Spices are essentially obtained from the processing of different parts of the aromatic plant such as seeds, flowers, leaves, fruits and rhizomes they need to be dried to best release their properties. So cinnamon comes from the dried bark, curry from the leaves, turmeric or ginger from the roots, saffron or cloves from the flowers, cumin or sesame from the seeds, black pepper from the berries.

Otherwise, aromas usually are horticultural speciesare obtained from the green parts of the plant and mostly they are used fresh. Drying is only necessary if you want to keep them for longer. Among others, basil, parsley, rosemary, bay leaf, sage or thyme are considered aromas.

A curiosity. The word spice comes from late Latin species, or “thing, special food”. The term drug, on the other hand, used for a long time as a synonym of spice, would derive from the Dutch drythat is dry, or dried plant.

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