These products get mixed up all the time! Do you know how to distinguish between twin products
Trout and salmon, cinnamon and cassia, blueberries and blueberries… There are many similar products that have nothing to do with each other. We explain the differences!
How to tell the difference between cinnamon and cassia
Parsnip and parsley root
These two root vegetables are so similar that even expert cooks confuse them. And for good reason! Their taste and aroma are completely different, even if they belong to the same Celery family. Parsnip (lat. Pastinaca) is a fleshy, long, light-coloured root. It has a sweet-spicy taste and a subtle anise aroma (especially the greens). Before the advent of the potato in Europe, parsnips were eaten along with turnips, but later on they lost their popularity.
The yellowish-white parsley root (lat. Petroselinum crispum) is sometimes called ‘white root’ and is usually thinner and longer than parsnips. The root has a sweet taste and pleasant aroma, so it is mainly used as a condiment.
The parsley root can easily be identified by the presence of the haulm
Salmon and trout
These two fish are part of the salmon family, and are quite similar when fileted. Filets of salmon, also known as Atlantic salmon (lat. Salma salar), are usually lighter and fattier.
Rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) has denser meat with less interlayers of fat and may have a more intense red color. Trout can also be river trout, unlike salmon.
Salmon are lighter and fattier than trout
Cinnamon and cassia
Cinnamon cinnamon (lat. Cinnamomum zeylanicum or Cinnamomum verum) is the inner bark layer of a small evergreen shrub native to Sri Lanka and South India, which is cut from the young two-year-old stems. When dry, the 0.5 mm thick strips are twisted into multi-layered tubes – each light brown cinnamon stick has 6-10 layers of such strips. Due to its brittleness, real cinnamon is more often found already ground. Its aroma is delicate and warming.
Cassia ( lat. Cinnamomum aromaticum or Cinnamomum cassia) is a relative of cinnamon, but is the bark of another tree, originally from southern China. The Chinese cinnamon tree can grow to 15 meters in height, the bark is cut from mature trees, also removing the top layer, so it is too dense, hard and twisted only slightly, often only on one side. Cassia sticks are difficult to break and grind, even with a coffee grinder (up to 2mm thick), so it stores well. It has a more pungent smell and a spicy flavor.
Blueberries and blackberries
For a long time, many people called all the small, dark blue berries blueberries , until they came along… gonobel. Remember once and for all: blueberries (aka gonobobel) are powerful and fleshy berries with a dark blue shell with a white patina, and their flesh is light and dense. They can be found on shelves in shops at any time of year and are also used to decorate baked goods as they keep for a long time. Blueberries have a slightly sweet taste and are not particularly aromatic.
Blackberries are much smaller, usually dark blue or black in color, and have a deep purple flesh. The husk easily bursts and the juice is so strongly coloured that it is often used as a natural vegetable dye for persistent coloring of food or even fabrics in red, purple and blue. Blueberries are no less colorful in flavor, that ‘blueberry’ flavor.
Blackberries are rather small, growing in multiples on a twig
Caraway and cumin. And then there’s the zira.
These seeds will drive anyone crazy who wants to know the difference between them. Caraway (Carum carvi) is an aromatic herbaceous plant of the Umbrella family in Europe, also called meadow cumin, mountain cumin and false anise. The elongated brown seeds of cumin have been dried and used as a spice since Mesopotamian times. Today it gives a characteristic flavor to rye bread in Germany, and the Czechs add it with garlic to pork.
Very similar to cumin are the seeds of Cuminum cyminum (lat. Cuminum cyminum), which has been known since biblical times. This plant also belongs to the Umbrella family, but only from Central Asia. In Russia, cumin has been called “Roman cumin” since ancient times. Unlike cumin, cumin is not as popular in Europe, but is highly esteemed in Latin America, Maghreb countries, Asia, and India. This particular spice is called zira in Central Asia!
Barberry and goji berries
Both are sour, spicy red berries with an incredible vitamin content. Berberis vulgaris is a very prickly shrub in the Berberis family and is common in European countries, North America and Central Asia. Its berries have a tangy, sour taste and are used in cooking for preserves, marmalades (the berries contain a lot of pectin) or fruit compotes. Dried barberry is used as a spice in cooking pilaf.
Goji berries are the fruit of the herbaceous plant Lycium barbarum (Lycium barbarum) of the Solanaceae family, which is mainly distributed in China. It is the goji that is called the wolfberry (not all wolfberries are toxic). Goji berries are larger than barberries – they are up to 2 cm in size, their color is coral red, and inside they have a large number of small seeds. Outwardly, dried goji berries are difficult to distinguish from dried barberry, but the taste is easier: goji berries are softer, fleshier and have fewer seeds. Goji berries can be eaten without cooking by adding them to dishes such as cereals, yogurt and salads as a healthful ingredient.