Our Herbs and Spices

Find out more about the wonderful herbs and spices available from World of Spice.

Allspice - (Pimenta Dioica)

This spice is also known as Pimento or Jamaica Pepper: Allspice being the name mostly used in this country. It is so called because it has the flavour and aroma of a blend of spices, mainly Nutmegs, Cloves and Cinnamon.

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Anise Seed - (Pimpinella Anisum)

Commonly called Aniseed – this is the seed of an annual herb of the parsley family, originally a native of Asia Minor and Egypt, the bulk of the worlds supply now is produced in Mexico, Spain, Turkey and Italy although it is grown in most temperate climate.

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Star Aniseed

This comes from an entirely different plant – an evergreen shrub of the Magnolia family – it is grown mainly in South West China.

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Caraway Seed - (Carum Carvil)

Caraway is the seed of a hardy biennial herb of the same family as parsley and is believed to have been cultivated and used in Europe for longer than any other flavouring. Although it is now grown in many temperate areas of the world, including Northern Europe and Russia, for many years Holland has been the worlds largest supplier.

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Cardamoms – (Elettaria Cardamomum)

Cardamom is a tall herbaceous perennial plant of the same family as ginger, it is indigenous to the evergreen forests of Southern India and Ceylon, although it was introduced to Guatemala some sixty years ago and is now grown successfully there.

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Chilli Powder – (Capsicum Frutescens)

Chilli Powder is a ground product made from the ripe dry pods of one of the more pungent members of the Capsicum family, commonly known as Chillies or Chilli peppers. These are grown in many areas of the world. India, Africa, Mexico, Japan, China and many other regions.

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Cassia – (Cinnamon Cassia)

Cassia is the bark of a tree of the same family as Cinnamon, however, it is a much larger tree, a native of Vietnam and its bark is much thicker and coarser than Cinnamon. It also has a much stronger flavour and aroma.

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Cinnamon – (Cinnamomum Zeyanicum)

Cinnamon is the bark of the Cinnamon tree a native of Sri Lanka, it is also now cultivated in the Seychelles. The method of harvesting the bark is somewhat similar to that of Cassia, but the bark is much thinner, more delicate and brittle, smoother in texture and lighter in colour. Cinnamon being a light tan and Cassia being darker and reddish brown.

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Celery Seed – (Apium Graveopens)

Celery seeds are the dried seeds of a herb of the parsley family – as so many of the seed products are, it is native to the Mediterranean and Central Asian areas. It is now cultivated in France, India, and the United States, the bulk of exports to this country coming from India.

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Cloves – (Syzygium Aromaticum)

Cloves are the dried unopened flower buds of the clove tree, an evergreen of the myrtle family. The buds are gathered along with the stems just before the flower opens, they are then carefully separated from the stems and put out to dry. They are then cleaned, sorted and graded and bagged off for export.

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Coriander Seed – (Coriandrum Savitum)

Corianders are the dried seeds of an annual herb of the parsley family. It is a native of Southern Europe and the Mediterranean areas, but is now very widely grown in Russia, Eastern and Southern Europe, North Africa and India. The main exporters to the U.K. being Morocco and Romania.

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Cumin Seed – (Cuminium Cyminum)

Cumin Seeds are the dried fruits of another annual herb of the parsley family, a native of Egypt and the Eastern Mediterranean although today it is cultivated in Iran, Morocco, China, Russia and many other countries.

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Dill – (Anethum Graveopens)

Dill is another of the annual herbs, a member of the parsley family, a native of the Eastern Mediterranean it is now grown in the majority of countries in the temperate zones and in Europe. It is sometimes used in several European and Scandinavian countries instead of Caraway Seed for flavouring breads. It is also used in the manufacture of Pickles (cucumbers or gherkins).

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Fennel Seed – (Foeniculum Vulgare)

Fennel seed is again related to the parsley family and has the same origins of Southern Europe and the Mediterranean areas. It is now grown in many parts of the world.

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Fenugreek Seed

Fenugreek is an annual plant of the bean family. It has for many years been grown through out the Mediterranean area, North Africa and India.

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Ginger – (Zingiber Officinale)

Ginger is obtained from the thick underground stems or rhizomes of the Ginger plant, a perennial herb native to Southern Asia, which is grown commercially in most tropical countries. The main producing areas being Nigeria, Jamaica, India, Sierra Leone and Australia.

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Mixed Spice

As its name suggests is a blend of a number of the ground sweet spices and is used for making cakes, biscuits and in the manufacture of mincemeat. There are many recipes for Mixed Spice, and it could contain in varying quantities a blend of any of the following spices: Allspice, Cinnamon, Cloves, Coriander, Caraways, Ginger, Nutmeg, Mace.

Mustard Seed

There are many types of Mustard but the two most commonly used are the white or yellow mustard (Sinapis alba) and the brown mustard seed (juncea).

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Nutmegs & Mace

The nutmeg tree is a native of the Moluccas or Spice Islands but is now cultivated in both the East and West Indies. It is remarkable in that from one tree we obtain two spices, nutmeg and mace.

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Paprika – (Capsicum Annum)

Paprika is the ground product of a sweet red pepper pod, which over the past few years has increased in popularity in the United Kingdom.

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Pepper is the most important of all the spices and is obtained from the small berries of a perennial climbing vine, a native of the Malabar region of India, it is now grown in many tropical areas, the main supplying countries being India, Indonesia, Sarawak and Brazil.

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Pickling Spice

Pickling Spice is a mixture of a number of the whole spices, which together with vinegar is used in the manufacture of pickles and contains most, if not all, of the following spices: allspice, cardamoms, cassia bark, chilli, cloves, fenugreek, ginger, mustard seed, coriander, dill.

Poppy Seed – (Papayer somniferum)

The Latin words of its botanical name means “sleep inducing” and this, of course, refers to its narcotic properties as being the source of opium.

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Saffron – (Crocus Sativus)

The English word saffron is derived from the Arab word “Za ‘faran”, which means yellow. Arabs introduced saffron into Spain in the eight century – Spain now being considered the worlds finest saffron producer.

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Sesame Seed

Sesame is an annual plant which has been grown for its seeds since very early times, in most hot countries of the world, for two reason – as a food and for the seeds have a reason but mainly as a cooking oil.

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Turmeric - (Curcum Longa)

Turmeric is a perennial plant of the same family as Ginger, and like Ginger, has a thick rhizome, or underground stem, but unlike the ginger root, which is more palmate, turmeric has smooth round fingers up to 3 inches in length.

Basil - (Ocimum Basilicum)

There are many herbs of the Mint family and Basil is one of them, originating in India and North Africa, it is now grown commercially in Egypt, India, Hungary, Morocco and several other Eastern European countries. Egypt is one of the main exporters to the U.K. Sometimes called the tomato herb than is used in tomato or salad dishes, it can also be added in stews, sauces and soups. It is probably the most popular herb used in Italian cooking and is also an ingredient of the liqueur Chartreuse.

Bay Leaves – (Laurus Nobilis)

Bay leaves are obtained from the bay tree, a member of the laurel family. It is cultivated in the Far East, the Mediterranean areas, Turkey, Mexico and France.

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Chervil – (Anthriscus Cerefolium)

Chervil is an annual plant of the parsley family, a native of western Asia. It is now grown extensively in France. Sweeter and more aromatic than parsley, it has a slight taste of aniseed.

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Chives are the hardy perennial plants and are similar to Spring Onions in structure but smaller with more delicate leaves. They grow well anywhere in England or in the Northern Hemisphere and are also grown commercially in Denmark and Germany.

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Marjoram – (Marjorana Hortensis)

Marjoram is a perennial herb of the mint family, grown mainly in the Mediterranean regions, and France, Portugal and Chile.

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There are two main types of mint that are used extensively for flavouring food. Peppermint (mentha piperita) and Spearmint (mentha spicata), the later being the most popular. Both are grown throughout the temperate areas of the world.

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Oregano – (Origanum Vulgare)

Oregano is sometimes called Wild Marjoram and is a native of the Mediterranean area, turkey and Chile.

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Parsley – (Petroselium Crispum)

Parsley is one of the most popular herbs used in this country. The sales of which are only exceeded by Mixed Herbs. It grows well in a cool damp climate and therefore most of the parsley used is grown in England.

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Rosemary – (Rosmarinus Officinalis)

Although a native of the Mediterranean region, Rosemary has been used as a condiment in England certainly since Anglo Saxon times.

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Sage – (Salvia Officinalis)

Sage is a hardy evergreen shrub, originating from the Mediterranean area. The herb is the dried leaf of the plant, greyish green in colour.

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Tarragon – (Artemisia Dracunculeus)

Tarragon is a perennial plant, a native of Southern Russia and Western Asia. It now grows in most temperate zones, the main producing area being France.

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Thyme – (Thymus Vulgare)

Thyme is a small perennial shrub from the Mediterranean. It is now grown in most countries with temperate climate and is grown either as an ornamental plant or for its value as a herb in many gardens in England. The thyme used for commerce is usually imported from Spain or France.

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Garlic – (Allum Sativum)

Garlic is a bulbous plant of the lily family as are onions and chives. The bulb is made up of a number of small bulbs lets which are called “Cloves” the whole being covered with a white skin.

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