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Fact or Fiction: The Ultimate Herbs and Spices Quiz
by Staff
Herbs and spices complement your favorite dishes and rouse your senses. These added touches aren't just for the kitchen though: Many are used for medicinal or spiritual purposes. But how much do you really know about your favorite natural flavors?

Herbs are plants valued for their scent, taste, medicinal value and practical utility.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: Herbs are also used in spiritual contexts too.

Though spices have been used to preserve foods for centuries, educating households about which spice and amount to use wasn't common until the early 20th century.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: Using spices for food preservation wasn't promoted by researchers until the 21st century.

Cinnamon, nutmeg and saffron are spices often used to bake a traditional pumpkin pie.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: Saffron's bitter aftertaste and expensive price tag make it an unlikely candidate for pumpkin pie.

On top of being a popular herb used to liven up dishes, oregano is also thought to protect people against mythical creatures like vampires.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: It's marjoram instead.

In general, herbs are the fresh or dried fleshy parts of a plant, and spices are dried seeds, saps, bark or roots.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: Herbs are usually dried fruit, bark or roots, and spices are usually fresh or dried leaves.

Licorice isn't just the name of a popular candy -- it got its name from the herb licorice.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: It's true, but the candy licorice we eat today tastes different from candy made from the real herb.

Using Scoville units is one way to measure the spectrum of heat in spicy foods.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: The units actually measure bitterness instead.

Cloves, cinnamon, ginger and black tea are ingredients for chai tea.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: Don't forget the cardamom!

Dill is only safe to consume when cooked.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: Dill is safe to eat only if it's not cooked.

Allspice is a common name for pimento.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: Allspice is a blend of lots of spices, pimento being one of them.

Lemon herbs are key ingredients for the traditional alcoholic drink, the mojito.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: Sage is the herb of choice here.

Vanilla extract, often used as a substitute for fresh vanilla, contains no real vanilla.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: It depends. Products labeled as "pure" vanilla extract have real vanilla, but other products may not.

You impress your dinner guests by serving hand-rolled sushi. Between servings, you should serve your guests wasabi, which will helps cleanse their palates.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: Serve "gari," strips of pickled ginger, to your guests instead.

Nutmeg is a preferred ingredient over sumac in soda.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: It's the other way around -- sumac is preferred over nutmeg in soda.

If a recipe calls for dried herbs but you only have fresh herbs, use 5 times more fresh herbs than the recipe calls for in dried herbs.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: Using three times the amount is a better substitution.

Frankincense and myrrh, two spices synonymous with biblical times, are resins, or dried plant saps.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: These two spices are roots, not resin.

Turmeric is a spice that grows naturally in the Mediterranean and is used in Mediterranean recipes.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: Ginger is a known spice in that area, but not turmeric.

The use of horseradish originated in the United States.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: Using this spicy condiment originated in England.

Paprika has a peppery taste and aroma, whereas cumin has a sweet taste and aroma.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: Paprika is sweeter, and cumin is peppery.

Black pepper is harvested from the dried remains of black peppers.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: Black pepper is actually from a dried and unripe berry.