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Home > Types of Spices > Fruits
Fruits type Spices
Lesser Cardamom Greater Cardamom Juniper
Kokam Mace and Nutmeg Kababchini
Star Anise Tamarind Vanilla
Some fruits are also used as spices. Some famous fruits which are used as spices are as follows:

CardamomsCardamoms are the dried fruits (capsules) of a medium-sized herbaceous perennial, 2 to 5 meters tall and native of Western Ghats in South West India. Its real stem is underground rhizome, and the aerial shoot is a pseudostem formed by the encircling leaf sheaths. The leaves are long and lanceolate in shape.

Cardamoms of are the dried capsules of a small group of species or plants belonging to the family Zingiberaceae, which contains seeds possessing a pleasant characteristic aroma. Broadly there are two types of Cardamoms, such as Small or Lesser Cardamom and Greater or Large Cardamom.

Juniper fruits have a gin like aroma and a sweet terebinthinate taste with a somewhat bitter after taste. The juniper berries of commerce are obtained by drying the ripe fruits. Oil of juniper is obtained by steam distillation of those berries.

Kokam is better known for its edible fruits, which is consumed as fruit and vegetable and when dry used as popular spice in the west coast of India. The tree is also known as `Kokam butter tree`, `Brindonia tallow tree` etc.

NutmegNutmeg and Mace are two distinctly different spices produced from a single fruit. Mace is the dried reticulated aril of nutmeg. When the peach or apricot like nutmeg bursts open, the mace is seen as an attractive bright scarlet cage closely enveloping or clothing the hard, thin, black shining shell of the seed called nutmeg.

Kababchini is well known as a spice in India. Fruits are tiny and round like black pepper. It is harvested when green but fully grown. By drying under sun it turns black with uneven shrunk surface. These dry fruits are sold in the market as Kababchini.

Star AniseStar anise fruit has an agreeable, aromatic, sweet taste and a pleasant odor resembling anise. It is used as a condiment for flavoring curries, confectioneries and spirits, and for pickling. It is also used in perfumery. The fruit is chewed to sweeten the bad breath and help in digestion.

The pulp of ripe fruit of Tamarind is commonly used as condiment, or more precisely as `acidulant,` in many Indian dishes particularly South Indian dishes. The plant has dubious distinction being inauspicious for which it is known as `Yamadutika` in Sanskrit. It is believed that by staying under the shade of the plant for longer period it effects health even death for which it is known as Yamadutica meaning the messenger of Yama, the god of death.

The vanilla pods or sticks of commerce are the cured fruits or beans of the plant, which is a climbing orchid. Vanilla was traditionally not known to Indians. Europeans introduced it for flavoring dishes of western origin like puddings, ice creams, cakes, and pastries. Later when it was popularized Indian started flavoring their traditional sweets like kheer, sandesh etc.
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