Spices and Herbs

Spices and herbs are used in many different ways in the art of cooking they are essential cook’s companion.Different cultures for different countries use different types and sets of spices and herbs to give their dishes different distinguishing taste and flavour.

NAME

TYPE

CHARACTERISTICS

EXAMPLE USE

AllspiceWhole or ground #spiceSmall brown berry. Flavour resembles a combination, cinnamon, clove and nutmeg. Native to W. India. – Spices and #Herbs SL 326Sausages, braised meats, poached fish, cooked fruits, puddings, pies, relishes
AniseWhole or ground spiceLicorice flavour, native to Spain, China, and Syria.Cookies, pastries, bread.
#BasilHerb leaf; fresh or driedAromatic green leaf, member of mint family. Can be grown fresh in warm weather.Tomato dishes, Pesto, egg dishes, salads, marinades, fish, compound butters.
Bay leafWhole leaf herbStiff, dark green, oblong leaf. Pungent aroma. Reminiscent of sassafras. Comes from laurel tree.Stocks, sauces, soups, stews, braised meats.
Bouquet garniFlavouring mixA personal selection of herbs, vegetables and occasionally spices, often tied with a string. – Spices and Herbs SL 329Stocks, soups, sauces
CarawayWhole spice, seed.Dark brown curved seed. Grown in Northern Europe.Rye breads, cabbage, sauerkraut, Eastern European cuisine.
CardamomWhole pod or ground seed spice.Tiny brown seeds, white on green pods. Sweet and aromatic, expensive. Native of India and Guatemala.Pickling, Danish pastries, curries
CayenneGround spice, seed.Ground hot red pepper. Very powerful. Native to French Guiana.In small amounts: soups, sauces, fish, eggs.
Celery seedWhole or ground spice, seedTiny brown seed, with strong celery flavour. Too much can create a “hot” spice effect.Salads, dressings, pickling, tomato dishes, marinades. – Spices and Herbs SL 321
ChervilHerb leaf, fresh or driedMild flavour of parsley and tarragonSoup, salads, sauces, egg dishes, chicken, fish, dressings.
Chili powderGround spice, blendBlend of ground cumin, chili pepper, oregano, all spice. Can be mild or hotChili, stews, sauces, ground meats.
ChivesFresh, dried, frozen herbFine, hollow, green top of a very small onionSalads, egg and cheese dishes, fish soups, sauces.
CilantroLeaf herb, dried or freshLight green aromatic leaf. Shape of flat parsley but much more pungent flavour. Leaf from coriander seed. – Spices and Herbs SL 333Salads, salsa, sauces, soups, eggs, dressings
CinnamonStick or ground spiceAromatic bark from cinnamon or cassia tree. Reddish brown colour. Native to east India.Preserves, stewed fruits, breads, pastries, desserts, ham, hot beverages.
#CloveWhole or ground spiceDried flowerbud of tropical clove tree, pungent, sweet in flavour. Native to Indonesia.Whole: Marinades, stocks, sauces, braised meats, hams, and pickling. Ground: pastries, fruits and cakes.
CorianderWhole or ground spiceRound, light brown seed. Slightly aromatic flavour. Native to Argentina and Morocco. Seed to cilantro leaf.Pickling, sausage, stocks, pork, curries, gingerbread, salsa, dressings. – Spices and Herbs SL 259
CuminWhole or ground seed, spiceSmall seed resembling caraway, but lighter in colour. Grown in Mexico and Syria.Ingredient in chili and curry powder blends. Sausage, meats, salsa, egg, and cheese dishes.
CurryGround blend, spiceMixture of approx. 20 spices, peppery, yellow in colour. Includes turmeric, cumin, coriander, ginger, clove, cinnamon. Can vary from mild to very hot.Curry dishes, vegetables, soups, sauces, fish, meat, rice.
DillWhole seed or “dill weed” which are leaves. Leaf fresh or dried.Herb and seed with “ dill pickle” flavour. Seed more pungent than herb.Seed: Pickling soups, sauerkraut, marinades. Herbs: Salads, soups, fish and shellfish, vegetables, sauces, vinegar.
FennelWhole seedGreenish brown seed, similar in flavour to anise. Grown in S. America, Asia, and Africa.Sausage, tomato, sauces, marinades, fish, pickling.
Fine herbesHerb blendGenerally a bouquet blend of three or more herbs used to enhance various dishes. Finely chopped herb mixture – chives, tarragon, parsley, basil, savoury, etc. – Spices and Herbs SL 257Herb sauce, compound butters, broiled, fish, cold sauces.
GarlicFresh, whole bulb. Dried: granulated powder, or mixed with salt.Strong, aromatic member of onion family. – Spices and Herbs SL 259Used widely in cooking.
GingerSpice, fresh whole, dried powder, candied, crystallized, or pickled.Light brown knobby root from tropical plant.Baked goods, desserts, fruits, curry dishes, pickling, chutney, Chinese, Caribbean and Japanese cuisine.
Juniper BerryWhole spiceSlightly soft, purple berry, “Piney” flavour. Principle flavour of gin.Marinades, game dishes, sauerkraut.
MaceWhole “blade” or ground spice.Made from outer covering of nutmeg. Orange red in colour. Aromatic, similar to nutmeg in flavour but milder.Baked goods, desserts, fruits, sausage, fish, vegetables, preserves.
MarjoramDried herb leafGrey green herb from mint family. Similar to oregano but milder.Beef, veal, lamb, sausage, pâtés, poultry, stews, soups, vegetables, salads, sauces.
MintHerb leaf, fresh or dried.Aromatic herb with cool flavour. Spearmint and peppermint are most common.Lamb, fruits, tea, fruit, beverages, peas, carrots, potatoes, jellies, soups, sauces.
MirepoixFlavouring mixMixture of vegetables, herbs and spices used to enhance the flavour of meat, fish and shellfish dishes. Common ingredients are – onion, celery, carrot, leek, garlic, peppercorns, bayleaf, clove, thyme and rosemary.Stocks, soups, sauces, roasts.
Mustard seedWhole and ground seedVery pungent seed – white, yellow or brown. – Spices and Herbs SL 297Blended w/vinegar to make prepared mustard. Pickling, sauces, salsa, Prepared: Sandwiches sauces, dressings, ham.
NasturtiumLeaf and seed.Plant with yellow, orange, and red flowers, with sharp casting leaves and seeds with pungent odour.Salads, pickling, mustard.
NutmegWhole or ground spiceSweet, aromatic kernel of nutmeg fruit. Grown in Netherlands and East and West Indies.Baked goods, pies, cream sauces, soups, chicken, veal, vegetables, desserts, breads.
OreganoLeaf or ground herb, fresh or dried.Pungent herb, similar to marjoram, but stronger. Native to Italy and Mexico, grown domestically.Italian and Mexican dishes, tomato sauces, soups, sauces, stews, meats, salads, marinades.
PaprikaGround spiceGround from dried sweet red pepper. Spanish: Bright and mild. Hungarian: Darker and more pungent.Asset to bland pale food. Fish, sauces, dressings, garnish.
ParsleyFresh leaf herb in bunches. Dried.Green leaf, curly or flat, with delicate sweet flavour. Excellent source of vitamin C.Garnish, fried stews, sauces, salads, vegetables, potatoes.
PepperWhole “peppercorns” black, white, or green, cracked medium or fine ground.Small hard berry. Black: Pungent, aromatic. White: What is left when black outer casing is removed, milder. Adds sharp tang to all foods. Green: Packed in mild brine.Widely used with just about all foods including green in sweets.
Poppy seedsWhole spiceTiny blue black seeds with crunchy nut like flavour. It is a product of the opium poppy, but does not contain opiumGarnish for breads, rolls, pastry, fillings, cookies, cakes, salsa, dressings.
RosemaryWhole leaf herb, fresh or dried.Light green leaf resembling pine needles. Very aromatic. Once grown, very healthy and strong, even in cold weather.Lamb, fish, beef, sauces, soups, stews, salads, marinades.
Sachet bagSpice mixVarious spices tied in a small cheesecloth sack. – Spices and Herbs SL 252Braised meats, game stews, pickling, soups, sauces
SaffronWhole “threads” spiceOnly the stigmas from the saffron crocus are used. Very expensive. Gives bright yellow colour to foods. Mild distinctive flavour.Flavour and colour baked goods, rice, potatoes, soups, sauces, curry, meats.
SageWhole, rubbed, or ground herb leaf, fresh or dried.Pungent grey green herb with fuzzy leaves, oblong shape.Stuffing’s, meats, poultry, soups, stews, salads, fish.
SavoryFresh or dried herb leafFragrant herb of mint family. Summer preferred to winter.Salads, eggs, vegetables, stuffing’s, soups, meats, fish, sauces.
SesameWhole (hulled or unhulled) seedSmall yellowish seed with nutty taste. High oil content. Imported from Asia, East and Central America.Can be roasted. Bread and roll garnish, salads, oriental candy.
TarragonFresh, dried, pickled herb leaf.Delicate green herb that is both mint and licorice – like. Small oblong leaf. – Spices and Herbs SL 265Béarnaise sauce, tarragon vinegar, chicken, fish, salads, dressings, eggs.
ThymeFresh or dried herb leaf, crushed or groundTiny brownish green leaf, very aromatic. – Spices and Herbs SL 297Soups, chowders, stocks, sauces, meats, poultry, salads, dressing.
TurmericGround spiceIntense yellow root of ginger family. Mild but peppery flavourCurry powder, pickles, relish, salads, eggs, rice, chow – chow.

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