What Your Favorite Spices Look Like Before They Make It to the Grocery Store

While we usually use no more than 30 different spices in the kitchen, there are more than 100 types of them in the world. And many of them are not just herbs — for example, sesame grows in pods, saffron is the stamen of a flower, and black pepper can be found on a liana!

We always want to know more about things that surround us, especially when it comes to food. So here’s a list of 15 popular spices and what they look like before they make it to your grocery store’s shelves.

1. Sesame

What Your Favorite Spices Look Like Before They Make It to the Grocery Store

Those tiny fragrant black or white seeds that we often find on pastries or in various dishes, actually grow in pods. The plant, that has lilac or white flowers, can grow up to 9 feet in length. One pod, which is usually very small — about 3 to 5 cm in size, can have up to a hundred seeds. Sesame grows in hot, dry climates, since they are very drought-tolerant plants.

2. Saffron

What Your Favorite Spices Look Like Before They Make It to the Grocery Store

The name of this spice in Greek means “thread” or “fiber.” The most valuable part of it are its red stamens. The pestle of the bud needs to be collected quickly, since the flower dies fast, that`s why saffron is known as an exquisite and very expensive spice.

3. Wasabi

What Your Favorite Spices Look Like Before They Make It to the Grocery Store

Not all sushi lovers realize that wasabi is a root and that it’s even sometimes called Japanese horseradish. The plant itself has heart-shaped leaves and small white flowers, and the root is grated into pastes and powders. Wasabi likes to grow in dark, wet places, but can also be grown in a garden.

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