Okay, will someone please tell me what the difference between the two is? Thanks!
Basically spices are seeds and herbs are leaves. So cloves are a spice and basil is an herb. But . . . cilantro is both for the leaves are the herb cilantro and the seeds are the spice coriander. I'm not sure if there is any other plant that is both an herb and a spice.
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Until I read your question, I really had never given it a thought. Martha's post above covers most things, but then cinnamon came to mind, as it is not a seed.
Thus I found this.
Herb - the leaves of certain plants, used in flavoring
Spice - any part of a plant, (other than the leaves), used in flavoring foods
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The American Spice Trade Association has changed their definition of what a spice is known as "any dried plant product used primarily for seasoning purposes".
Before herbs were the leaves of non-woody herbaceous plants that could be used fresh or dried. Spices were either from the root, flower, fruits, seeds or bark that were dried. If you have ever heard of the Spice Routes then you are probably aware that spices are native to warm tropical areas. This is a link to the Spice Routes of the Spice Trade. It's bit detailed but I like it because it shows where the spices are from.
Some plant are both spices and herbs because the leaves would be used as an herb and the seeds as a spice. The following is from the Univ. Of Iowa and gives a brief summation of the difference between spices and herbs.
by Foy Spicer, Department of Horticulture
We often use the words herb and spice interchangeably. Herbs and spices are obtained from plants. (Salt is neither a spice nor an herb. It is actually a mineral.) Herbs and spices are used primarily for adding flavor and aroma to food. And both are best used fresh but can be saved by drying. While there are similarities, there also are subtle differences between herbs and spices.
Herbs are obtained from the leaves of herbaceous (non-woody) plants. They are used for savory purposes in cooking and some have medicinal value. Herbs often are used in larger amounts than spices. Herbs originated from temperate climates such as Italy, France, and England. Herb also is a word used to define any herbaceous plant that dies down at the end of the growing season and may not refer to its culinary value at all.
Spices are obtained from roots, flowers, fruits, seeds or bark. Spices are native to warm tropical climates and can be woody or herbaceous plants. Spices often are more potent and stronger flavored than herbs; as a result they typically are used in smaller amounts. Some spices are used not only to add taste, but also as a preservative.
Some plants are both herbs and spices. The leaves of Coriandrum sativum are the source of cilantro (herb) while coriander (spice) is from the plant's seeds. Dill is another example. The seeds are a spice while dill weed is an herb derived from the plant's stems and leaves.
Examples of Herbs
Examples of Spices
Cinnamon - bark of the cinnamon tree
Ginger - root
Cloves - flower bud
Saffron - stigma (female reproductive part) of saffron crocus
Nutmeg - seed
Vanilla - undeveloped fruit of an orchid
Cumin - seed
Linderhof, I just thought of two others that both herbs and spices. Dill leaves are an herb and dill seeds are a spice. Fennel leaves and bulbs are herbs and fennel seed is a spice.
Linderhof, I just thought of two others that are both herbs and spices. Dill leaves are an herb and dill seeds are a spice. Fennel leaves and bulbs are herbs and fennel seed is a spice.
I knew I could count on all of the smart posters here to have the answer!
PS. I was going to ask what "salt" would be since it doesn't come from a plant but see the "still tryin"'s post addressed that question as well so maybe we should call them "spices, herbs and minerals!"
And the nutmeg tree produces the seed called nutmeg and the outer membrane of that seed (but still inside the fruit)called mace.
And where would MSG fit in (and the cornucopia of artificial flavorings)???
MSG -- believe it or not -- is a natural salt flavor enhancer derived from seaweed and is present in Parmesan cheese, among other natural foods. Whether or not is good for you in large quantities remains an open question. http://www.britannica.com/EBch...sodium-glutamate-MSG
Thank you for your information on MSG. I also looked it up on my own, and I am still not so sure there is ANYTHING natural about the current manufacturing of this "flavor enhancer". currently.
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