The Topic:

If you need information about a specific spice or herb, go to our companion webpage entitled Individual Herbs & Spices to find lots more websites - - too many to fit onto this page.
Easier - Spices are seasonings for food that come from the bark, buds, fruit or flower parts, roots, seeds or stems of various aromatic plants and trees.
Harder - According to the American Spice Trade Association (ASTA), spices are 'any dried plant product used primarily for seasoning purposes.' This definition covers a wide range of plant and plant parts: tropical aromatics, leafy herbs, spice seeds, roots, dehydrated vegetables, and spice blends.
At one time only tropical aromatics like pepper, cinnamon, and cloves were considered a spice. The leaves and seeds of temperate-zone plants like basil and oregano were known as herbs. Today this classification has shifted somewhat, even though still used in some circles. The term spice now generally includes a whole range of elements: spices, herbs, blends and dehydrated vegetables.
Legally the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) still considers dehydrated vegetables as separate and distinct from spices; they require such seasonings to be labeled differently than spices. Spices used for coloring like paprika and saffron are also labeled separately or as a 'spice coloring.' The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) follows similar rules as the FDA. Spice colorings and mustard must be labeled separate from spices, onion and garlic are listed as flavors, and all other dehydrated vegetables are labeled separately by name.
History of the Spice Trade from the American Spice Trade Association (ASTA)
Here is a history of the spice trade from the organization that serves and leads the spice industry.
Related Websites:
2) Age of Discovery
3) Exploring the World of Spices by W.W. Weaver for the Saturday Evening Post
4) History of Spices
5) Influence of Spice Trade on the Age of Discovery by P. Strassman
6) Lure of Spices from the Encyclopedia and Culture Guide of Indonesia
7) Spice History from Chef Ron
8) Spice History from McCormick
9) Spice Trade from Stefan's Florilegium (Message Archive)
10) Spice Trade and History of Spices at One Planet
11) Spice Trade, A Taste of Adventure
12) Spice Trade: Origin at Kasum Spices
13) Spice Trade: Transition at Kasum Spices
14) Spice Trade: Today at Kasum Spices
Encyclopedia of Spices
This website includes the spice pages, spice trade, and related articles.
Related Websites:
2) Glossary of Herbs and Spices from Yankee Harvest
3) Herbs and Spices from NetCooks
4) Spice Encyclopedia from McCormick
5) Spice Facts from the Spice Encyclopedia
6) Spices & Herbs at Culinary Cafe
Herbs & Spices Information and Recipes at
Here is a large collection of articles and links about herbs and spices. Don't miss the second webpage- part 2.
Other Related Webpages at
2) Spices and Seasonings - Southeast Asia
Spice Advice
This comprehensive site for information includes the history of spices, a spice encyclopedia, recipes, spice usage tips, and more.
Not To-Be-Missed Section:
2) Sugar and Spice Kids Section
After visiting several of the websites, complete one or more of the following projects:
Test Your Knowledge of Spices. See if you can answer the questions at Spice Trivia from the American Spice Trade Association.
Complete a Spices WebQuest. Adapt or follow the procedures found at the following webQuest sites:
1) Join the Spice Trade (Grade 8)
2) Spice of Life
3) Spice Up Your Life! by A.B. Lublin (Grade 8)
Map the Spice World. Start with a world map. Identify the countries where particular spices were first found. Then show the major locations where that same spice is cultivated today. Do this for the major spices of today's world market. You could make your 'Spice Map' more visual by incorporating pictures of the spice plant or actual samples. Consider including the historic trade routes, both overland and by sea. What are today's the growing locations?
Campaign for Your Favorite Spice. Decide on your favorite spice. Then research to learn about its source, cultivation, properties - - everything that you can about the spice. Include history and trade information. Now, convince others that it should be elected 'Spice of the Year.' Create a poster promoting your choice.
Create A Spice Museum Collection. Collect samples of many different spices. Combine the samples with descriptions of each. Include pictures, graphs, and maps where appropriate. Display your 'Spice Museum.'
Construct A Spice History Timeline. The history of the spice trade is linked with exploration and world history. Create your own timeline that highlights the important dates, events, and people connected to the spice trade.
More Herb and Spice Websites
Arab Spice Trade and Spread of Islam
This academic paper on a case study examines the role that the spice routes and spice trading had in the spread of the religion of Islam.
Frequently Asked Questions about Spices
This posting answers commonly asked questions about Spices: their nature, use, and storage.
Similar Websites:
2) Ask Chilli Willie
3) Curry House FAQ
4) Flavouring the World. The FAQ about Spices
5) Kitchen Spice Substitution Chart from Yankee Harvest
6) Spice Trade - Interesting Facts
7) Spices
How to Use Spices by J. Walker from Cooking 101
This article has several recommendations for cooking with herbs and spices.
Related Articles:
2) Spice of Life
3) Herbs and Spices from the Virginia Cooperative Extension
Indian Spices from the Spices Board of India
Here you can learn about the long history and current state of the spice trade in India.
Similar Websites:
2) History of the Spice Trade in India
3) History, Adventure Lurk in Your Spice Rack by K. Eddy, Knight Ridder Newspapers
4) History of Spices is the History of Trade (Kerala, India, & Molucca Islands, Indonesia)
5) Lanka Spice Limited (Sri Lanka)
6) Portuguese and the Spice Trade from the Rough Guide
7) Spice of Life
8) Spice Trade (Sri Lanka)
9) Spices and the Spice Islands
10) Spices of the Middle East
11) Taste of Adventure from the Economist
12) Vietnam Sniffs Out Niche in Spice Trade from Asia Times
Spice Trade Route
This sea route was originally used by Arab and Chinese traders.
Another Spice Map:
2) Spice Trade Route (Marco Polo)
Spices and the History of the Spice Trade by K. Collins
Here is an online paper on the history of spices.
Other Online Spice Articles:
2) Capsicums from the Culinary Connection
3) Chutney Cha Cha And Salsa Dancing by C. Chickering from the Culinary Connection
4) Curious About Curry by T. Gelber
5) Designing for the Hispanic Market by S.R. Uhl from the Culinary Connection
6) Fire and Spice by S.R. Uhl from the Culinary Connection
7) Galore Spices by M. Belge from Anatolia
8) Masala Masters by D.A. Welland
9) Seasoning Meats by L. Brandt from the Culinary Connection
10) Secret World of Spices by R.C. Deis from the Culinary Connection
11) Southwest Cuisine is Hot, Hot, Hot by R. Sierengowski from the Culinary Connection
12) Spice Extractives from the Culinary Connection
13) Spice Use and Technology Expand by A.P. Wilkes from the Culinary Connection
14) Tasty Solutions for Marinades by P. Frank from the Culinary Connection
15) Turning up the Heat by N.C. Rodriguez from the Culinary Connection
16) Zing Is the Thing by S.R. Uhl from the Culinary Connection
Websites For Teachers
Moving With Trade by M.F. Higuchi (Grades 3-6)
This lesson introduces students to the European spice trade and exploration.
Spice of Life (Grade 5)
This lesson plan involves the student in learning about the impact the spice trade had on exploration.
Spice Trade (Grades 6-9)
In this Mini-Quest, the student will learn how the demand for spices has caused many events in history.
spice trade
food preservation
spice route
plant parts
dry spice
visual appeal
cracked seeds
'king of spices'
spice market
spice box
spice chest
'Silk Road'
spicy food
Spice Islands
Created by Annette Lamb and Larry Johnson, 9/01.