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.