Fact or Fiction: The Ultimate Herbs and Spices Quiz

By: Staff
Image: refer to hsw

About This Quiz

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.

Herbs, which usually include fleshy seed-bearing plants, are used for a variety of purposes in addition to flavoring food.

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.

In the early 20th century, researchers tested how various amounts of some spices slow down spoiling rates in food and began suggesting spice use for households.

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

Though everyone cooks differently, saffron usually isn't in grandma's delicious 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.

If you were to meet a vampire, you'd be tough out of luck with oregano. Historically, people thought garlic repelled vampires because it intensified symptoms of porphyria, a neurological and skin condition that was exacerbated by sunlight.

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

Though definitions of herbs and spices are flexible, herbs are generally fleshy or leafy while spices consist of other parts of a plant.

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

Sometimes referred to as an herb and a spice, licorice inspired the candy we all know and love, but it tastes quite different without the additives and sugar.

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

Wilbur Scoville first developed the system to measure the hotness, or pungency, of a food item. Since then, the competition to be the spiciest has heated up among companies.

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

These spices, including cardamom, are common ingredients for homemade chai tea.

Dill is only safe to consume when cooked.

This aromatic herb can be used cooked or fresh.

Allspice is a common name for pimento.

Despite the plural sound of its name, allspice consists of one spice: pimento.

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

Mint leaves are the traditional herb of choice for mojitos, despite an increasing number of recipes with other refreshing combinations.

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

The FDA requires pure vanilla extract to contain vanilla, but there are other imitation flavors that use coumarin, a chemical that may cause blood-thinning in some individuals.

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

The fiery reputation of wasabi will most likely cleanse your guests' sinuses rather than palates. Gari is a popular side item served between rounds of sushi.

Nutmeg is a preferred ingredient over sumac in soda.

Sumac is often used to flavor meat and vegetable dishes, not sweeter beverages like 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.

As a rule of thumb, you should triple what the recipe calls for if you're substituting fresh herbs for dried herbs.

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

Burned as incense rather than ingested, these two spices are derived forms of plant resin.

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

Neither turmeric nor ginger originated in the Mediterranean. Basil, fennel and mustard are a few of the several spices characteristic of Mediterranean-style dishes.

The use of horseradish originated in the United States.

Though it originated in southern Russia and the Balkans, horseradish spread like wildfire on the tips of American tongues.

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

Paprika's sweeter taste is an excellent addition to chicken salad, and cumin's peppery kick justifies its popularity in curry.

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

Black pepper comes from small, unripe berries called peppercorns rather than from vegetable peppers.

About HowStuffWorks Play

How much do you know about dinosaurs? What is an octane rating? And how do you use a proper noun? Lucky for you, HowStuffWorks Play is here to help. Our award-winning website offers reliable, easy-to-understand explanations about how the world works. From fun quizzes that bring joy to your day, to compelling photography and fascinating lists, HowStuffWorks Play offers something for everyone. Sometimes we explain how stuff works, other times, we ask you, but we’re always exploring in the name of fun! Because learning is fun, so stick with us!

Explore More Quizzes