Herbs and spices aren’t just something that you can add to a dish to transform its flavour. The majority are also enriched with interesting histories and beliefs! To explain this further, we’ve picked out some of the most popular (and not so popular) spices and explored their origins. Without further ado, let’s take a look!
The History Of Popular Herbs And Spices
From anise to rosemary, garlic to turmeric, you might be surprised to learn just how many herbs and spices are rich in history.
Anise: Anise is a plant that lives in the parsley family. It was first found in the Middle East and is most famously known for holding a licorice flavor. Due to having such a distinctive taste, anise is commonly used in flavoured liqueurs. It was also used in Ancient Rome for medicinal purposes – some people hung it above their beds to “deter nightmares”.
Garlic: Garlic dates way back to over 5,000 years ago. Egyptian workers used to eat it while building pyramids! It was also eaten amongst labourers in many cultures due to the belief that it would “increase work production and strength”. Today, you will find it in the majority of food dishes.
Turmeric: Turmeric is an ancient spice that’s most commonly used in curries for added flavour and a golden colour. It is primarily grown in Indonesia, China and India. The great thing about turmeric is that it has been found to support your digestive system – this is why turmeric tablets are available to safeguard your intake.
Rosemary: Rosemary is a herb that was originally found in the Mediterranean. It is used in many dishes and was also one burnt in European courts to “protect the judges from the illnesses that prisoners have”.
Cloves: Cloves were originally native to the Molucca Islands, which are a part of Indonesia. This is where the link between four leaf clovers and luck came into play; Moluccans used to plant a clover tree for every child born. It was believed that the tree was linked to the child’s fate.
The History Of Uncommon Herbs And Spices
Chervil: Ever heard of Chervil before? Don’t worry, not many people have! It was originally found in Southern Russia but is now mass produced in New Mexico and California. It dates way back to the first century and has since been used as a seasoning that combines the flavours of anise and parsley.
Mace: Mace is unique because it grows on a tree. It actually comes from the same fruit as nutmeg – the mace is the outer membrane and the nutmeg is the inner seed. Much like cloves, mace is native to the Molucca Islands.
Star Anise: It can be confusing to learn that star anise and traditional anise are two different plants. The star anise is native to China and Vietnam; it has a really unique star shape that can’t be missed!
With so many herbs and spices out there, you certainly won’t find yourself stuck on new flavours to try!