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As the popularity of healthy, ethnic cooking home grows, our spice rack should expand to accommodate the seasonings give vegan dishes their unique characters. When buying herbs and spices by weight, buy only what will fit into an average-size spice jar. Keep dried herbs and spices in a place in your kitchen that is away from heat and moisture.
When substituting fresh herbs for dry, use about three times the amount of fresh herb as the dry. Introduce dried herbs and spices into your recipe as early in the cooking process as possible, so that they have a chance to develop flavor. ANISE or ANISEED is an aromatic spice that imparts a distinct flavor of licorice and is commonly used to make the liqueurs ouzo, anisette, and pernod.
ALLSPICE is the hard berry of an evergreen tree native to the West Indies and Central America.
BASIL is one of the most relished of herbs and one that has an important place in herbal lore and legend, spanning many ages and cultures. BAY LEAVES are the whole, dried leaves of the bay laurel tree and are most useful in long-simmering recipes, such as soups and stews, where their flavor has a chance to permeate. CARAWAY SEEDS, the seeds of a biennial plant native to Europe, have a sharp, distinctive taste that puts them in the category of flavorings that are either loved or intensely disliked. CAYENNE PEPPER is perhaps the hottest of ground spices, ground and dried from a very hot variety of a pepper of the capsicum genus. CHIVES are a member of the lily family, whose relatives include onions, scallions, and garlic.
CILANTRO is an herb that is never available in dried form, since its pungent flavor and aroma seem to dissipate almost entirely when dried. CLOVES are a pleasant, sweet spice like cinnamon, but have a stronger flavor and a sharp aroma.
CUMIN is the golden-brown seed of a small herbal plant native to the Mediterranean, Middle East, and North Africa. CURRY POWDER is a blend of spices used in Indian cuisine with some constant ingredients and some that vary. DILL WEED and DILL SEED are both products of a tall, feathery annual plant that is a favorite kitchen-garden herb. FENNEL SEED is a small, elongated seed that, used whole or ground, imparts a subtle anise or licorice flavor.
FENUGREEK is a less common aromatic spice and is actually a legume, something like a mung bean. FIVE-SPICE POWDER, a blend of spices used in Oriental cookery, is increasingly available in natural-food stores as well as in spice shops and Oriental groceries. MACE, the filigreed, red encasement surrounding the nutmeg kernel, is dried and ground for use as a spice.
MARJORAM is an herb so closely related to oregano that the two share the botanical name origanum, which is from the Latin meaning “joy of the mountain.” Marjoram is slightly sweeter, yet somewhat sharper than oregano, so inasmuch as the two may be used interchangeably, marjoram should be used sparingly. MINT is the general term used for a variety of highly aromatic herbs, the most common of which, for culinary purposes, are peppermint and spearmint. MUSTARD is the tiny, round seed of an annual plant native to Asia and is the spice used to make the popular condiment of the same name.
OREGANO, a close botanical relation to marjoram, has become familiar to the North America palate through its use in popular Italian dishes such a pizza and spaghetti sauces. ROSEMARY is the slender leaves of a small evergreen shrub and has a well-known legacy in folklore as the herb of remembrance. SAFFRON, by far the most expensive of all spices, is derived from the dried, brilliant-yellow stigma of the autumn crocus. TURMERIC is the product of a dried, ground, fleshy root and is prized for its brilliant yellow color, much as is saffron, although turmeric is not nearly so expensive. For lots more features on healthy lifestyle, explore VegKitchen’s Healthy Vegan Kitchen page.
I’ve been searching for a book of some sort that will give a list of herbs and spices and what foods to use them with as I just love experimenting with foods and spices and herbs . Believe it or not I have been cooking off and on for 45 years and I still don’t know how to mix spices in certain recipies.
I am spice ignorant but for some time have been intrigued by them, Their uses, origination and or such. In Ayurvedic tradition, are problematic because they have a postdigestive effect, meaning that they stay sour after being metabolized. When eaten in moderation and in season, vine-ripe tomatoes are an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin A and B complex, as well as potassium and phosphorus.
Add chopped onions, roast for 2 minutes, add salt and bay leave and roast until translucent (approx. Barley Grass juice of the chlorophyll rich grass of young barley plants is one of the most remarkable high chlorophyll foods. It is as excellent a protein source as meat, offers important digestive enzymes, can resolve toxic substances and contains nutrients that abate physiologic deterioration. Alfalfa Sprouts are a cooling herb that detoxify your body, lower cholesterol and improve the urinary system and intestines. It aids in assimilation of protein, fats and carbohydrates, blocks carcinogenesis and eases menopausal distress. Seaweed reduces blood cholesterol, has antibiotic properties, counteracts obesity and strengthens bones, teeth, nerve transmission and digestion. Quinoa is a gluten free grain that is easy to digest and when washed well can be cooked like rice. It has the highest protein content of any grain and contains more calcium than milk.
Herbs and spices to not only enhance the taste of our food, they stimulate and increase digestibility, absorption and help counteract any incompatible food combinations. Black Salt (known as Kala Namak or Sanchal in Hindi) is a special type of unrefined rock salt mined from volcanic regions in Pakistan and India. Do not use in excess as the high sulfur content can decrease the gastric fire, leading to weak digestion. Fenugreek contains bitter juice which helps us cleaning accumulated toxins in our body and they support the maintenance of our health.
Spices are used in our daily cooking to achieve maximum digestibility, taste, food value and healing benefits. Turmeric is one of nature’s most powerful healers and has been used for over 2500 years in both the Chinese and Indian systems of medicine. Herbs are processed from fresh and quality dried plant material and are extracted with organic grain and alcohol. Volumes can be written on the healing aspect of herbs (in fact see our review of the terrific book, Healing Spices), the focus here is culinary. Add fresh herbs toward the middle or even the end of the cooking if you’d like to retain their pronounced flavor. Anise is used in cookies and cakes, and a sprinkling of the seeds adds an unusual twist to fruit salads, particularly those utilizing citrus fruits. Its name quite possibly reflects its flavor, which as a hint of the flavors of several spices, including cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. In the summer, the intoxicating scent of fresh sweet basil fills produce markets, and its brief season should be fully enjoyed.
Its warm, somewhat “woodsy” character lends itself especially well to recipes that contain tomatoes, beans, corn, and potatoes. They are best known for adding zest to rye and pumpernickel breads; try expanding their use to flavor recipes emphasizing potatoes or other root vegetables (such as parsnips or turnips) as well as cabbage varieties. A small amount goes a long way and is used to give fiery flavor to Mexican, Indian, and some Southeast Asian cuisines and is also useful in spicing Creole and Cajun specialties.
The blends available in Spanish groceries, spice shops, and natural-food stores will be more robust and aromatic than those bought in supermarkets; you will also be able to choose from among milder and hotter varieties.
Fresh chives are rarely seen in produce markets, but are easily grown in the kitchen garden—in fact, they proliferate like mad.


Sometimes referred to as Spanish or Chinese parsley, this is the same herb whose seeds are the spice coriander.
One of the earliest spices recorded, cinnamon is also one of the most familiar and commonly used. Cumin’s spicy and pleasantly hot flavor makes it a favorite seasoning in several ethnic cuisines; its zesty quality reduces the need for salt. Indian specialty-food stores and spice shops are good places to get fresh, aromatic curry blends with a choice of varying degrees of hotness. The seeds, less commonly used than the leaves, are used in pickling and may also be used as a milder substitute for caraway seeds in breads or as a topping for potato, cabbage, and casseroles. The same five spices are not always used, but some of the most common components are anise, fennel, cloves, black pepper, cinnamon, and ginger. A member of the lily family and related to onions, shallots, and the like, garlic has long been esteemed equally for its medicinal properties and its culinary qualities. Use marjoram in conjunction with other dried herbs to flavor vegetable dishes, Italian-style tomato sauces, bean stews, pizza sauces, soups, grain dishes, and vinaigrette salad dressings. The fresh scent and menthol flavor of the mints are delightful, and they are popular and prolific kitchen-garden herbs. Available in whole or ground form, the flavor of mustard seeds is subtly hot and slightly biting. The hard, nutlike nutmeg seed is optimally used freshly grated, however, the spice is more commonly sold and used in its dried, ground form.
Its slightly sweet, warm flavor adds savor to tomato-based sauces, pastas, French-style salad dressing, and potato dishes. Fortunately, fresh parsley is easy to grow on the windowsill and is also available inexpensively year-round, so there is little reason to buy this nutritious herb in dried form. Pepper is the second most commonly used seasoning after salt, not surprisingly, so its uses are too numerous, and too obvious, to enumerate here. Combining the seeds with the dried flesh of the pepper, this extremely hot spice is used in some of the incendiary dishes of India, Southeast Asia, Mexico, and in Cajun recipes from Louisiana. You’ll certainly remember rosemary if you don’t use it sparingly, since its strong, piney flavor can be overwhelming. Summer savory, an annual plant, is more widely available and has a milder, sweeter flavor than the perennial winter savory. This spice has a unique, rather “woodsy” flavor and scent and is almost invariably one of the main components of curry mixes. Of course it depends very much on how long they’ve been stored, and how long since they were ground. For further reading, you may find my book The Indian Kitchen useful- it gives information about 100 ingredients of the Indian Kitchen including spices and herbs. It has been so fun to watch his reaction to the newflavor each spice brings individually to a dish. This means that the extended or excessive use of tomatoes irritates the gut, to which any person with an ulcer or an already sensitive stomach will attest. Tomatoes are rich in sugar (fructose, glucose and sucrose) and contain lycopene, flavonoids, and other phytochemicals with anticancer properties.
Herbs and spices are used to enhance taste, stimulate digestibility, increase digestibility and absorption and help counteract any incompatible food combinations.
The process of making extracts involves careful detail so that the potency and superior quality can be maintained. This section will give a brief overview of those seasonings most commonly used to flavor global whole food recipes. Most go a very long way and are at their optimal flavor for up to a year, after which they begin losing their potency. It is most commonly sold in ground form, though the whole berry is available in spice shops and is used in pickling and to flavor broths and marinades. Though basil makes an excellent dried herb whose sweet-and-spicy flavor is welcome in many dishes, the result is very different when using it fresh. These aromatic seeds have a flavor that is hard to describe, but is appropriate for both sweet and savory dishes. Cayenne pepper lends itself to vegetable or bean stews, curries, chilies, spicy cold noodle dishes, and hot-and-sour dishes. The consistent ingredients, along with chili pepper, often include cumin, oregano, and garlic, but may also contain salt and other seasonings as well.
A sweet, aromatic spice, cinnamon is often a component of curry blends and is a fixture in many baked goods, including custards, puddings, cakes, cookies, and fruit pies.
Stewed fruits benefit from a handful of whole cloves while they are simmering, and fragrant pilafs are made even more so by addition of some whole cloves.
It’s usually one of the three main components of curry mixes along with cumin and turmeric.
You will find cumin used extensively in curry blends and chili powder; in those spice mixes or on its own, it is an important seasoning in Indian and Mexican cuisines.
Fresh dill is available for a few months out of the year, but may be hard to come by during the colder months. Fenugreek appears as an element of Indian curries and chutneys and is used as a pickling spice in the Far East.
The overall effect is sweet and slightly spicy, with a licorice undertone, since either anise or fennel is always present.
Ground ginger should generally not be considered a substitute for fresh ginger, but rather a hot-sweet, fragrant spice more appropriate to baked goods.
In Indian cuisine, fresh mint is commonly used in chutneys and in the palate-cooling relishes known as raitas, to add a refreshing note.
Use dry mustard in soups, salad dressings, grain dishes, potato dishes, chilies, and curries. A sweet spice, nutmeg is a familiar flavoring in eggnog, custards, pumpkin and sweet-potato pies, and spice cakes. Its bright red color makes it an excellent garnish sprinkled on casseroles, vegetable pies, dips, and pates. The fresh, mild herbal flavor of parsley is welcome in many culinary categories, including salads and salad dressings, soups, grain and bean dishes, casseroles, omelets, vegetable dishes, and herb breads.
It is worth noting, however, that it’s preferable to buy whole black or white peppercorns and grind them as needed than to buy pre-ground pepper. Poppy seeds come in colors ranging from white to gray to black, but the best ones are the darkest. Saffron is primarily used in rice dishes, such as fruit-and-nut pilafs or the Spanish classic arroz con pollo, and is also utilized in some French and Middle and Far Eastern cookery and sometimes, but less commonly, in Indian cuisine. When preparing foods such as TVP, tempeh, or seitan, all of which can be used as meat substitutes, seasoning with sage can add to the meatlike sensation.
Savory is a useful seasoning that imparts a subtle flavor that tastes like a cross between parsley and thyme. Thyme is an important seasoning in classic French and Creole recipes and is good used whenever a mixture of dried herbs is called for. Would I have to buy them all fresh for a better taste, or are there some that taste just as potent if they’ve been stored?
But his eyes really light up when he starts being able to pick up the taste of single spices in the mixtures with food we have just made or ordered. Im also in the process of writing a food journal which friends of forever asked me to do as I create nearly all my own cooking recipes and even give guidance and instruction on cooking and uses of herbs and spices ad their benefits.Im also attempting to write a blog post on word press but my site is not fully ready.
If you happen to live in a sensitive lifestyle and are unable to find free time to make your own preparations, then liquid extracts are the most practical products for you.
Herbal extracts are sold as dietary supplements and alternative medicine and commonly used for flavoring in baking and other cooking much like vanilla extract.


The mildly spicy-sweet flavor of ground allspice enhances apple desserts, banana breads, spice cakes, cookies, chutneys, and recipes utilizing squash, pumpkin, or sweet potatoes. Fresh basil is the main component of pesto sauces and has a special affinity with tomato-based pasta sauces and fresh tomato salads (as in the classic tomato, mozzarella, and basil salad).
The whole seeds lend an aromatic quality to grain dishes, especially fruit-and-nut grain pilafs as well as curries containing potatoes or peas. The flavor of chives is very much akin to that of scallions, yet more delicate, which makes them delightful to use raw when available fresh.
Italian parsley is often recommended as a substitute for cilantro, although the effect is not the same at all. Squash, pumpkin and sweet potatoes, whether in pies or as side dishes, always benefit from a sprinkling of cinnamon. You may leave the cloves in the dishes you are making, but you may not enjoy biting into one, since the flavor is somewhat bitter.
The most notable and constant elements of curry powders are cumin, coriander, and turmeric; the variables may be any of cayenne pepper, mustard, fenugreek, along with some sweet aromatics such as cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, or cardamon. Five-spice powder, subtly used, is a nice addition to grilling sauces, black bean sauce, and miso sauces.
It appears extensively in the cuisines of Italy, India, Mexico, the Orient, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and many more. Gingerbread is one that comes to mind immediately, but it is almost as common as spice for pumpkin and squash pies. Ginseng is frequently marketed as a universal tonic for well-being, a general panacea for numerous ailments, and for its supposed powers as an aphrodisiac. It is often one of the spices used in curry mixes, and has a special affinity with winter squashes and spinach. In dried form, it is a widely available, inexpensive herb useful in traditional Mexican, Italian, Greek, and Spanish recipes.
When buying parsley, choose the Italian, flat-leafed parsley for cooking, since it’s more flavorful, and reserve the use of the curly-leafed parsley for garnishing.
Their nutty flavor makes them a special addition to spice cakes and seed cakes and an excellent topping for breads and rolls. In the vegetarian realm, it may be used to flavor vegetable stews, herb breads, and tomato soups or sauces. Sage may also be used, rather sparingly, in salad dressings, grain dishes (try it on wild rice pilaf) and soups, particularly pumpkin or squash soups.
Use it wherever a mixture of dried herbs is called for (in salad dressings, herb breads, soups, and sauces) or as a milder substitute for thyme, oregano, or marjoram. Soups, vinaigrettes, grain and bean dishes, corn dishes, and tomato sauces all benefit from the distinctive flavor of thyme. Therefore, it is recommended to cut and discard the green parts of tomatoes before their consumption. Enjoy the wonderful diversity of your garden and kitchen herbs and their medicinal properties.
Dried basil is good in soups, marinades and vinaigrettes, grain dishes, herb breads, and omelets. In ground form, cardamom may be used in the same sort of baked goods in which you’d use allspice—squash, pumpkin, or sweet-potato pies, for example, or batter breads. It’s a logical addition to tomato-based enchilada sauces, but try adding it to a tomato-based pasta sauces as well to add a warm note. Fresh chives add flavor to baked potatoes, potato salads, and in fact, most any fresh vegetable salad.
Whole cinnamon sticks are nice to add to stewing fruits and simmering beverages, such as hot mulled cider.
Ground cloves are often used in conjunction with cinnamon in baked goods, fruit pies, and squash, sweet-potato, and pumpkin recipes. Almost any good Indian cookbook will give several variations of curry spice blends, which may be made at home by grinding whole spices or, even simpler, by combining good, fresh ground spices.
Try green beans or root vegetables such as parsnips with a hint of the whole or ground seeds. Fresh garlic is almost always preferable, but garlic powder is an acceptable substitute in breading mixes for frying foods or in blended dips, where the flavor of raw garlic may be too strong. Ground ginger is also a pleasing enhancement for apple desserts, as well as for sweet-potato or winter-squash side dishes. No conclusive proof is available for its claims, but the commercial value of ginseng continues to grow.
In a pinch, use dried mint as a substitute for fresh in such recipes, but the effect will not be the same. It’s also a common addition to salad dressings and does much to enhance the flavor of soups, grains, bean dishes, and pasta sauces.
In addition, poppy seeds are a nice seasoning for noodle dishes, cabbage dishes, casseroles, and dishes utilizing root vegetables such as parsnips.
Savory is known traditionally as the bean herb, because its flavor is thought to have a special affinity with most beans. Tarragon makes ordinary mayonnaise special and adds an unusual touch to omelets and tomato dishes. I never gave thought to the dried herb, until you mentioned it above- always used it fresh. Im from Jamaica where spices and herbs are a must in our cooking where some of these spices are also grown, you are blessed, thanks again.
However, because they can upset the calcium balance due to their solanine content, they are best avoided by people with osteoporosis and arthritis and children.
Chili powder is good in some Oriental-style sauces such as peanut or sesame sauce for noodles. Use dried chives in dips, dressings, soups, and sauces, where they will have a chance to reconstitute. Cloves enhance the flavors of apples and bananas in desserts and are occasionally used in curries and chutneys.
Corn and cabbage recipes as well as vegetable relishes and hot-sweet chutneys are enhanced by the flavor of coriander. Aside from its obvious use in simplified Indian curry recipes (authentic Indian dishes usually combine individual curry spices in the recipe rather than using prepared curry powder), use curry powder to add zest and color to simple grain pilafs, lentil soups and stews, potato dishes, and egg recipes such as quiches or frittatas. Few summer salads are more simple or more refreshing then sliced cucumbers with coconut yogurt and chopped dill. It has been brought under cultivation both in Asia (particularly in Korea) and in North America.
There is no substitute for fresh mint in beverages or as a garnish for fresh strawberries or melons, fruit salads, and chocolate puddings.
Cilantro adds an unusual zest to pinto bean stews, Spanish-style tomato sauces for enchiladas, tacos and the like, curried vegetable stews, and corn dishes such as corn-stuffed peppers. A pinch of cumin in breads is an old European tradition, and this works particularly well in cornbread.
Fresh or dried, dill is an excellent herb in hot and cold soups and is an offbeat addition to omelets.
Ginseng is now being incorporated into soft drinks marketed by natural-food companies and is also available in the form of liquids and powders (to be used in beverages or as tea) as well as in capsule form to be taken as a supplement.



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