Is Garlic a Vegetable Herb or Spice?

Garlic is a popular kitchen essential all around the world. But Is Garlic a Vegetable, Herb or Spice? Let’s end this confusion once and for all!

Garlic is not only used in kitchens to uplift flavor, but it also has medicinal properties to cure ailments like high blood pressure, high levels of cholesterol, and hardening of the arteries. Moreover, it is also known for its therapeutic effects. What often confuses people is garlic’s classification. Is Garlic a Vegetable Herb or Spice? Read ahead!

Check out our article on growing garlic here


What is Vegetable?

Is Garlic a Vegetable Herb or Spice

According to Botany, a vegetable is an edible part of the plant, consumed by humans and herbivorous animals as food. It includes flowers, fruits, stems, leaves, roots, and seeds. You can consume vegetables, either raw or cooked. They are a vital source of nutrition and are low in fat and carbohydrates, but high in vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber.


What is an Herb?

Botanists define herb as a leafy or flowering part of a plant. You can use it either fresh or dry to flavor food. Parsley, mint, basil, and dill are some of the prime examples. Herbs have several uses in the kitchen and have an exceptional medicinal, even spiritual value.


What is Spice?

Spice is usually the dry part of the plant, apart from the leaves. This portion includes seeds, bark, roots, and fruits. Some of the examples of spices are clove, black pepper, cinnamon, and cumin.


Is Garlic a Vegetable, Herb, or Spice?

Garlic can be hard to classify into a specific category. Botanically, it is a vegetable. And as a vegetable is an edible part of the plant like the roots, leaves, stems, and bulbs. The garlic plant itself has a bulb, tall stem, and long leaves. You can also relish the mild onion-like nutty flavor of its edible green leaves and scapes with other greens, which makes it a vegetable.

But what makes this more interesting is when the definitions come into the picture. If you are going to look for what a herb is, you’ll get–“Any plant having leaves, seeds or flowers for flavoring, food, medicine, or perfume.” And as garlic is a famous flavoring substance in food, it somewhat makes it also a herb!

Now, when you’ll look for the meaning of spice, you’ll get– “An aromatic or pungent vegetable substance to flavor food, specifically in the dry form.” And as people always prefer using garlic fresh, it surely doesn’t make it a spice.


Conclusion

Garlic has extensive uses as an herb, but botanically, it is a vegetable. But unlike all the vegetables, people don’t use it in the same, large quantities.

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