Scientific name: Curly leaf: petroselinum crispum, Flat leaf: petroselinum neapolitanum
Parsley is a herb, which means it is not eaten as a food on its own, but it is added to other dishes for flavour. Parsley is used mostly as a garnish, cut up and sprinkled onto food to make it look nicer. You often find a sprig of parsley being used to decorate food from a restaurant.
Scientific name: piper nigrum
Peppercorns are the fruit and seeds of a vine native to India. The fruit is very small and only has one seed, and a thin layer of flesh around the outside. Peppercorns are dried and sold as pepper, either whole or ground up into small flakes or a powder. Pepper is usually sold in white and black. White pepper is made from just the seeds of the pepper fruit, and black pepper is made from the whole fruit, seed and all.
Scientific name: rosmarinus officinalis
Rosemary is a woody evergreen herb that grows into a shrub up to about a metre and a half tall and much wider again. It can be clipped into a hedge or other topiary shapes. It has very strong smelling narrow leaves and purple flowers. It grows well in hot, dry conditions and most varieties tolerate heavy frosts. It does not like being overwatered. Rosemary goes very well with lamb dishes, but can be used to flavor a variety of other foods too.
Scientific name: crocus sativus
Saffron is a spice made from the dried stigma of the saffron crocus. Saffron gives a strong golden yellow color to food.
Scientific name: salvia officinalis
Sage is a shrub originally from the Mediterranean region. It has pale greyish furry leaves, and grows all year around. Is used to flavour fatty meat dishes, and as an ingredient in sausages in some countries. It is very commonly used with onions as stuffing for chicken or pork.
Salt is a mineral that is essential to all animal life, but is toxic to most land plants. Salt is found in the sea, in your blood and sweat and in solid form as rock salt away from the sea. Salt is collected to use for making food either by mining a deposit of rock salt, or by evaporating salty water until only the salt is left behind. The photo is of the surface of a salt lake with piles of salt scraped into mounds, ready to take away.
Scientific name: sesamum indicum
Sesame seeds are the seeds of a plant from Africa and India that grows to about a metre high. The seeds can be pressed to extract the oil but are used most often sprinkled on other foods as a flavour and garnish. You often see them stuck to the top of loaves of bread. The sesame seeds in the picture are on top of some cooked spinach.
Soy sauce, also called soya sauce, is a sauce made from fermented soybeans, water and salt. Soy sauce has a distinctive savory flavor, and is an ingredient in many Asian dishes.
Scientific name: illicium verum
Star anise is the fruit of a small evergreen tree from China. It has a very similar taste to anise and both are used to give food a liquorice flavor.
Scientific name: artemisia dracunculus
Tarragon, or dragon's wort, is a soft, green plant used mainly in French cooking. Tarragon has an interesting flavour that is a little like anise.