Learning more about the food you eat is an interesting and worthwhile goal, but it can be intimidating.
In this article, we’ve narrowed the focus down to foods that start with the letter S and we have 91 of them to boost your culinary knowledge.
91 Foods That Start With The Letter S
Safflower is an herb used mainly for the oil which is extracted from its seeds. Safflower oil contains specific acids that are thought to protect your heart against heart disease and it can be used as medicine or as a cooking oil. The flowers are also edible, sometimes being used as a substitute for saffron.
Saffron is a very premium spice made from the stigmas of a specific type of crocus. It has a subtle flavor and fragrance that is unlike anything else, part of the reason it is so exclusive. It adds a signature yellow-orange color and grassy sweetness to any recipe it is used in.
Sage is a common herb grow across the world and used in many different styles of cooking. It’s a member of the mint family and has a floral, peppery, savory flavor. It’s commonly paired with additional herbs such as rosemary, parsley, and thyme.
Sailfish are large billfish, similar to marlins, with a dorsal fin that stretches along its entire back resembling a dangerous sail. They’re considered a sport-fish but can also be killed for food under certain conditions. When fresh they can be eaten raw though most people smoke the meat.
Salak is a type of palm fruit with a vaguely pinecone-like shape and texture. The skin is a deep burnt orange color with a rough, scaly texture. The fruit inside, however, consists of 2 – 3 juicy, soft segments of white pulpy flesh. The taste is a combination of pineapple, pear, and peach.
6. Salal Berries
Salal berries grow in the evergreen forests of North America. They’re a blue that is so deep it’s nearly black and slightly fuzzy. These berries are larger than wild blueberries but smaller than conventional grapes. They’re not overly flavorful but are great for jam or pie filling.
Salmon is one of the most popular edible fish, prized for the high concentrations of Omega-3 fatty acids and protein, among many other vitamins and minerals. There are multiple species, each with a delicate flavor that isn’t as fishy as many other popular fatty fish.
Salt is the oldest and most popular cooking ingredient or spice across the globe and throughout history. Salt is a crystalized combination of two minerals: sodium and chlorine. It can be used to season or preserve food.
9. Santol Fruit
Also sometimes called cotton fruit, the flesh of santol fruits is white and cotton-like in its texture. The fruit is soft and juicy, ranging in flavor from very sour to quite sweet, depending on how ripe it is. The outer skin is leathery and yellowish-brown, opening to reveal 3 – 5 segments similar to mangosteen.
Sapodilla is a type of tropical fruit that is oddly unattractive, with rough, fuzzy brown skin almost like a small, almond-shaped potato. The skin is inedible but the soft, juicy flesh is sweet and comparable to a pear in taste and texture.
Sapote fruits look very similar to small, yellow-green apples. The white flesh has a texture similar to custard and a flavor of bananas combined with pears. Some fruits contain toxic seeds, though not all.
Sardines are a type of small, oily fish in the herring family. When caught fresh, they can be grilled or smoked and they’ll have a light, flakey texture that isn’t overly fishy. Most people eat them either pickled or canned and this way they’re well known for the very oily, fishy flavor.
Sashimi is a Japanese style of preparing and serving raw fish in thin slices. While it is served raw, sashimi-quality fish is flash-frozen to ensure that it’s safe to eat. Any type of raw fish can be called sashimi though tuna and salmon are among the most popular varieties.
14. Saskatoon Berry
Saskatoon berries look almost identical to blueberries, however, they have a much different flavor. They are sweet and slightly nutty with a full-bodied fruit flavor that blueberries lack. These berries grow wild throughout northern North America and are related to apples.
Sassafras trees produce bright yellow, very fragrant flowers that are used both medicinally and for culinary purposes, mainly as a flavoring agent. Sassafras tastes similar to root beer, with notes of licorice or anise.
Satsuma oranges are part of the mandarin family. They’re small, bright orange citrus fruits that are easy to peel and separate. They are one of the sweetest varieties of citrus, balanced well with acidity. They’re known for a melt-in-your-mouth texture.
Sauerkraut is fermented cabbage. It seems to have originated in China though it is perhaps even more popular in Germany and other Eastern European countries. The cabbage is shredded and fermented using salt and other flavorings, such as dill, ginger, or garlic.
18. Savory (herb)
You can find both summer and winter savory, an herb in the mint family. The flavor and fragrance are a cross between mint and thyme and it has a surprisingly strong flavor. Summer savory is slightly milder and more popular than the more bitter winter herb.
19. Savoy Cabbage
Savoy cabbage is shaped like a conventional head of green cabbage, though the leaves are a deeper green color and densely wrinkled. The leaves area very tender, even when eaten raw, and have a mild flavor compared to other cabbage varieties.
Scallions, also sometimes called green onions, have long thin, grass-like leaves that gradually change in color from green to white. The white end of the stem finishes with hairy roots. Scallions taste like mild, grassy onions. They’re usually eaten raw and used as a garnish.
Scallops are a family of saltwater clams and are also sometimes used to refer to spiny oysters. They’re bivalve mollusks, meaning their invertebrate bodies are compressed between two hard shells. They have a mild, sweet, buttery flavor with a slightly nutty quality.
22. Scarlet Runner Beans
Scarlet runner beans are usually planted for their beautiful scarlet red flowers and fast-growing, giant vines, but the beans they produce are also edible. They should be eaten young, for the best flavor. They can be cooked in the pod but only the seed should be eaten, similar to edamame.
23. Sea Cucumber
Sea cucumbers are echinoderms, marine animals that have an elongated body and leathery skin. They also have an endoskeleton just underneath their skin. They’re most commonly eaten in Chinese cuisine. The flavor is bland and the texture is firm and gelatinous at the same time.
Seafood is any type of edible plant or animal that lives within the ocean. Most commonly it’s used to refer to fish or shellfish, though there are also many types of seaweed that are edible and, depending on where you live, larger animals such as seals, whales, and sharks are also considered food.
There are many different types of edible seaweed, available depending on your location primarily. It’s particularly popular in Asian cuisine, as the well-known sushi proves, but sea vegetables are also popular throughout Europe. Each variety is slightly different, but most have a salty, umami flavor.
26. Seckel Pears
Seckels are a type of small pear, growing only a few inches long. They have brownish skin that may lean towards either yellow or red and creamy white flesh that is denser than conventional pears. They are the sweetest variety of pear, when ripe, and are also crisp and juicy.
Semolina is a very common type of wheat flour made from durum. It’s the most popular type of flour for making commercially produced pasta. It’s coarser than conventional wheat flour and has a darker, golden color and earthy aroma.
28. Serrano Pepper
Serrano peppers are small, red or green hot chili peppers that are native to Mexico and South America. Their name comes from the fact that they grow in the mountains, or serrano in Spanish. They’re a member of the Jalapeno family and they taste similar, though they are hotter.
Serviceberries are part of the rose family and share a similar rosy red coloring. There are many types of serviceberries, and though they all look very similar to a blueberry, each variety has a slightly different flavor and range in color. They’re sweet and juicy but have little flavor.
30. Sesame Seeds
Sesame seeds are the tiny, pale tan seeds of the Sesamum indicum plant. They’re often used for their flavorful, vitamin-rich oil but they can also be eaten raw or cooked. Both the seeds themselves and the oil is very popular in Asian cuisine.
31. Seville Orange
Seville oranges are medium-sized, round citrus fruits that are more yellow than many other varieties of orange. The rind is heavily dimpled, thick, and has a strong, fragrant oil making these oranges ideal for making essential oils. When ripe, they’re quite sour and somewhat bitter, with multiple inedible seeds.
Shad is a type of small fish, growing up to 8 pounds, found along the east coast of North America and more recently introduced along the Pacific as well. They have a delicate flavor that works well for baking, boiling, or frying. The eggs are also considered delicacies.
Shadberries are small, red or purple berries that grow wild throughout North America. They’re named for the timing of their blooming flours, which coincides with shad fish migration. Each berry is the size and shape of a blueberry, though they grow on individual stems rather than in clusters.
A shaddock is a large, pear-shaped fruit in the citrus family, sometimes also called pomelo or pummelo. It is the largest citrus fruit, tasting similar to a grapefruit though considerably sweeter.
Shallots are small, oblong bulbs, tapered at both ends, from the onion family. They’re encased in a papery skin that can be red or golden. They are very similar to small onions, with firm layered white flesh and purple rings. Shallots are spicy-sweet when raw and take on a garlic quality when cooked.
Shark meat is legal to eat in most places around the world, though it’s not overly popular in part due to high mercury levels and the fact that many species are endangered. Shark finning is not legal in most countries, however. Shark meat can be prepared similar to other large fish, in steaks and fillets.
37. Shea Fruit
Shea fruits look like large grapes or small, green plums. They have smooth, shiny green skin and green pulpy flesh that gets softer as it ripens. Each fruit has a large brown nut in the center, encased by sweet, pear-like fruit. The nuts are used for the oil, often made into Shea butter.
The meat from sheep is commonly referred to as mutton. The meat from a young sheep, under a year old, is called lamb and is much more popular, at least in North America. Lamb is more tender and mutton is better suited for slow-cooking or barbequing.
Shellfish is an umbrella term for aquatic invertebrates that live in shells and are eaten as food. This includes mollusks, like clams, oysters and scallops, crustaceans, such as crabs, lobsters, and shrimp, and also echinoderms, including sea cucumbers and sea urchins.
Shiso is a Japanese herb in the mint family and is mostly found in Japanese cuisine, though it can also be eaten raw. The leaves are green or purple and have tiny spikes and serrated edges, making them best eaten young. The flavor is slightly citrusy and has the cooling, peppery effect of mint.
41. Shiitake Mushroom
Shiitake mushrooms are native to East Asia but they’re one of the most popular mushrooms around the world. They have tan or brown caps with pale stems and gills. They have a rich, savory umami flavor and a meaty texture. They’re used both fresh and dried and are common in stir-fries and soups.
Shrimp is a very popular type of shellfish, though somewhat controversial in terms of health. They are very rich in protein and a variety of vitamins and minerals, though they’re also high in cholesterol. Shrimp can be eaten raw or cooked and have a mild flavor and a unique rubbery and crunchy texture.
43. Sieva Bean
The sieva bean is also known by the more common name, lima beans. These beans have wide, flat pods that aren’t usually eaten and flat, dense white seeds. Sieva beans are buttery and creamy.
44. Slippery Jack Mushroom
Slippery Jack mushrooms are part of the bolete mushroom family, unique for having pores under the cap rather than the standard gills expected of mushrooms. The cap is slimy and sticky but it can be peeled off easily to leave the spongey, edible cap.
Sloe is an unusual, dark purple fruit and member of the rose family. The berries are most commonly used to make sloe gin, a favorite in Britain. The fruits are similar to tiny, tart plums. They’re good for jams and other preserves but most consider them too astringent to eat fresh.
Smelt are small cold-water fish, usually eaten whole, including the scales, head, and fins. They’re best served fried in a light batter. Smelt is a mild-tasting though oily fish.
Land snails are considered a gourmet delicacy, known as escargot, which is simply French for snails. They’re usually served in their shells as an appetizer, prepared with garlic and/or parsley butter. The texture is similar to squid or mussels, rubbery, and chewy.
Eating snakes is quite popular in some countries, mainly throughout Asia. In North America some brave hunters eat rattlesnakes, being highly careful to avoid the toxins. It is commonly either fried or served in a soup, tasting something like mild fish.
49. Snake Fruit
Snake fruits are the scaly, prickly fruit of specific palm trees, growing to be roughly the size and shape of a fig. Underneath the scales are juicy, pulpy segments of flesh protecting dark, inedible seeds. Snake fruit typically tastes like a combination of apple and pineapple, with a subtle hint of honey.
50. Snap Beans
Snap beans, also called string beans or simply green beans, are one of the most popular types of beans around the world, eaten whole in their pods. They’re usually eaten as a vegetable, either boiled, steamed, fried, or baked into a casserole.
51. Snap Peas
Snap peas, or sugar snap peas, are rounded pea pods eaten whole, either raw or cooked. They have a sweet flavor and a crisp texture.
Snapper is a mild-tasting, firm-fleshed, lean white fish, despite being called Red Snapper for its bright red scales. This fish does often contain higher than average levels of mercury and it’s also highly overfished and on the at-risk list for becoming endangered.
53. Snow Peas
Snow peas are quite similar to snap peas, eaten whole with the shell, though they are flat with very small inner peas. They have a subtle sweetness to them, though not nearly as sweet as their relatives, the snap pea. They’re crisp but soften considerably when cooked.
54. Sockeye Salmon
Sockeye salmon are found in the Pacific ocean and the river systems that feed into it, depending on the time of year. It’s a bright red fish that grows up to 15 pounds and has a rich, full flavor.
Sole is a type of flatfish that can grow up to 2 feet long. It is a bottom feeder, eating mainly small shellfish, creating a high risk for mercury contamination. It has a delicate flavor that is slightly sweet and isn’t considered a very “fishy” fish.
56. Sorb Apple
Sorb apples are the fruits of a type of Rowan tree called a service tree. They’re round, speckled light yellow fruits that develop rosy blush where they’re exposed to the sun. They are similar in size to a large cherry or small plum. They’re not eaten raw but rather steeped with vinegar and sugar to make brandy.
Sorghum is a type of cereal grass that looks similar to brown corn. It’s mainly used as feed for livestock but the juice is also a popular sweetener, similar in flavor to the much sweeter molasses. Sorghum can also be turned into ethanol.
58. Souari Nut
Souari nuts are the seeds of the fruit of a Caryocar tree, native to the northern regions of South America. The fruits are the size of coconuts and each contains 4 nuts, surrounded by edible flesh. The nuts are high in fat and often made into cooking oil. They have a rich, nutty flavor.
59. Sour Cherry
Sour cherries are relatives to the more popular sweet cherry though, as you can imagine, they have a sour flavor in comparison. They look much the same, with the berries being either a near-black or a brighter red color, depending on the variety. They have an acidity that works well as pie filling.
Soursop, or guanabana, is far from sour, as the name might suggest. These odd green, spiky fruits have irregular shapes and can grow up to 15 pounds. The white flesh segments are dotted with inedible black seeds. The fruit is very juicy with a tropical flavor of pineapple, coconut, strawberry, and banana.
61. Soy Beans
Soybeans are a staple of Asian cuisine and highly popular in plant-based diets around the world. They are a complete protein source and very versatile. They can be eaten fresh or cooked as edamame or made into a variety of products, including tofu, tempeh, miso, and soy milk.
62. Spaghetti Squash
Spaghetti squash is a popular type of squash eaten as a vegetable. The yellow flesh can be separated into strings that resemble spaghetti noodles, hence the name. This squash can be baked, boiled, or steamed and has a slight crunch when cooked al dente. The flavor is sweet though mild.
63. Spanish Limes
Also called mamoncillo, Spanish limes grow in bright green clusters with each fruit being only a few inches long. The tough, leathery skin gives way to gelatinous coral orange flesh with a large white seed in the center. Ripe Spanish limes taste like a combination of lime and lychee fruit.
Spelt is considered an ancient grain, meaning the way it currently grows is the same as how it was grown traditionally throughout history with little to no genetic modification. It is grown mainly throughout Europe. The grain itself is similar to rice with a mild nutty flavor. It is also commonly ground into flour.
65. Spicebush Berries
Spicebush berries are named because their flavor is similar to allspice, making them a delicious flavoring agent for baked goods. The small red berries and leaves of the plant are both edible, raw, and cooked. Even the bark can be chewed on.
Spinach is a highly popular leafy green vegetable with spoon-shaped leaves. It comes in many varieties, including baby and red spinach, though they all have a similar flavor that is slightly sweet, nutty, and earthy, all at the same time. Spinach is high in iron and sometimes has a vaguely metallic bite.
Many vegetables and legumes begin as sprouts. Some of the most commonly consumed types of sprouts are alfalfa, broccoli, broccoli, radish, and pea shoots. They’re typically thin and spindly stems with the start of leaves forming at the very top. The range in size in color, depending on the variety.
Though pigeons may not sound overly appetizing to you, young domestically raised pigeons are considered a culinary delicacy. They taste like the dark meat of a chicken, being moister and richer than conventional poultry. They are small birds, however, so there isn’t as much meat to eat.
Squash is a species of plant in the Cucurbita family. They’re closely related to pumpkins and gourds. They are technically a fruit, each having a central cavity full of seeds inside. There are many different varieties of squash, including butternut, acorn, and zucchini, to name just a few.
Squid is a popular type of seafood eaten around the globe, though the rubbery texture isn’t appealing to everyone. It’s a versatile meat, able to be consumed raw, boiled, or grilled. The most popular way to eat squid is as calamari, breaded, and deep-fried.
71. Star Anise
Star anise is a star-shaped fruit from a type of Magnolia tree. They are dried until they’re hard, brown pods, each point in the star encasing a single seed. The seeds are fragrant and flavorful, similar to licorice used frequently in Chinese cuisine.
72. Star Apple
Star apples are small, round fruit with reddish-purple or yellowish-green leathery skin and either purple or white marbled flesh. There are up to 10 seeds in each fruit, surrounded by white pulp. When cut in half, the seed cells form a star shape. They taste like a combination of apple and lychee fruit.
When a star fruit is sliced it forms the shape of a star, hence the name. The fruits typically have bright yellow edible skin and yellow flesh that becomes white towards the center of the fruit. The smaller varieties tend to be rather sour whereas the larger fruits have a more tropical, sweet flavor.
74. Steelhead Trout
Steelhead is a type of trout that are born in freshwater streams but migrate to the ocean to mature. They return to freshwater to spawn. They resemble Rainbow trout but have a lifestyle more similar to a salmon, which is why they taste quite similar to salmon as well.
75. Stone Fruit
Stonefruit is a type of fruit, also called drupes, that refers to a plant that has edible flesh surrounding a hard pit, or stone. Some of the most common stone fruit include plums, apricots, and peaches as well as olives, almonds, and coffee, though there are many more.
Strawberries are one of the most popular types of cultivated berries. The juicy, red jewels are sweet and fragrant and a rich source of many different vitamins and minerals. They can be eaten raw, straight from the bush, converted into preserves like jam, or cooked into dessert.
Sturgeon is a species of fish with ancestry dating back more than 200 million years. They have white meat and bony flesh with red-hued fat that contributes to the fishy flavor. Without it, it’s a mild-tasting fish, best smoked, sauteed, or fried.
Sugar is most commonly made from either sugar beets or sugar cane through a process of boiling and cooking the plant to release the sugars. They’re then crystalized and packaged in different formats, from raw to refined.
79. Sugar Apple
Sugar apples, or sweetsop, have an apple-like shape, with red or green scaly and segmented skin. Inside is a white, creamy flesh that contains toxic black seeds. The flesh of green sugar tastes like mint-flavored custard. The red or purple varieties taste more like berries and mango, with hints of vanilla.
Sultanas are a type of green seedless grape best known for being made into raisins of the same name. They’re coated in oil before drying, making the process faster and allowing them to keep a lighter color and softer texture compared to the more conventional hard, dark raisins.
81. Summer Squash
Summer squash is soft-skinned squash that can be eaten with the skin intact. The most common types of summer squash are the various species of zucchini. The flesh is typically white, juicy, and mild in flavor.
Sunchokes are large, knobby root vegetables that look similar to fresh ginger. They can be eaten raw or cooked, enjoyed for their crunchy, nutty flavor that is enhanced by roasting.
83. Sunflower Seeds
Sunflower seeds are harvested by the bucketful from the giant heads of sunflowers. They are a popular ball-game snack, often sold in the shells salted or seasoned. The seeds can also found pre-shelled, offering a mildly nutty flavor and chewy crunch to baked goods or snack mixes.
84. Surinam Cherry
Surinam cherries aren’t true cherries, which are drupes, but rather berries. They range in flavor from sour to sweet, depending on how ripe they are and whether they’re green or the sweeter dark red. They are about the size of cherries, but they’re shaped like tiny pumpkins.
Sushi is a type of Japanese cuisine that can take a wide variety of forms. At its core, sushi is vinegar-seasoned rice served with fish or vegetables. Sushi rolls are wrapped in seaweed and many types of sushi are garnished with sashimi, raw fish.
Swede, also known as rutabaga, is often confused for turnips as they have a similar shape, coloring, taste, and texture. Swedes, however, are usually much larger with darker purple shoulders and rougher skin. They have an earthy flavor and can be used similar to turnips, though they cook more quickly.
87. Sweet Corn
Sweet corn is a variety of corn, or maize, with high sugar content. It’s the type of corn most commonly harvested young to be cooked and served as a vegetable, such as corn on the cob or kernelled corn.
88. Sweet Pepper
Sweet peppers, or bell peppers, come in a variety of colors and sizes. In North America, the most popular are red, yellow or orange but you can also find purple or white. They’re crisp, juicy, and sweet and can be eaten raw or cooked.
89. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are large, starchy tubers similar in shape and texture to a potato though surprisingly sweet they’re cooked and served in many of the same ways as conventional potatoes, but can also be made as sweet recipes, such as sweet potato pie.
90. Swiss Chard
Swiss chard is a type of dark, leafy green with white stalks. Rainbow chard has bright, varied jewel-toned stalks with little other difference. It has a mild flavor with no bitterness and is most commonly eaten cooked, either sauteed or in a sauce or soup.
Swordfish are technically edible and many people do eat them, but they’re carnivorous fish which means they have higher levels of mercury and other pollutants than fish that are lower on the food chain. They provide a lot of meat, however, and it’s sweet and dense, perfect for grilling.
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