The Obscure Spices Quiz

We’ve tested your knowledge of obscure fruits and veggies, but how well do you know some of the less celebrated members of the spice world? Your knowledge of cinnamon and black pepper won’t help you here.

1 of 11
Filé powder is a spice used in some types of gumbo. It is made from the dried and ground leaves of what tree?
Red oak
Sassafras
2 of 11
Charnushka, the dried seed of the Nigella sativa flower, goes by quite a few names. Which of these is a common synonym for this staple of everything from rye bread to Lebanese cuisine?
Black Cumin
Black Mustard
Black Sage
3 of 11
The Mexican spice blend recado rojo, or achiote paste, takes its red color from what ingredient?
Cayenne Pepper
Annatto Seed
4 of 11
Zedoary root first came to the West during the sixth century, but today its use has all but disappeared. What other spice replaced it?
Ginger
Turmeric
5 of 11
Orris root, a component of some gins and many perfumes, comes from what type of plant?
Juniper
Iris
6 of 11
Ajwain seeds (also known as “ajowan”) are used in Indian cuisine. What other herb do these seeds smell and taste like?
Cilantro
Thyme
7 of 11
Grains of Selim are used as a substitute for what other spice?
Pepper
Cardamom
8 of 11
The North African spice alligator pepper is closely related to what more familiar spice?
Cayenne pepper
Grains of paradise
9 of 11
Which of these peppercorns is not actually a true pepper of the Piper genus?
Cubeb
Pink peppercorn
Green peppercorn
10 of 11
Powdered golpar seed is a common ingredient in what type of cooking?
Persian
Jamaican
11 of 11
Amchoor powder is a common Indian and Middle Eastern ingredient. It is made by sun-drying and powdering what fruit?
Coconut
Mango