How to Use Spices and
Herbs in Everyday Cooking


Source: Caravan Spice Company (To go there: )

The word "spices" is an all-inclusive term that encompasses not one substance, but four different categories.

Spices are derived from the bark, root, fruit, or berry of perennial plants such as Cinnamon from bark, Ginger from roots, Nutmegs from the fruit and Pepper from the berry.

Herbs are the leaves of annual and perennial low-growing shrubs (Basil, Marjoram, Tarragon, Thyme, Rosemary etc.).

Aromatic Seeds: are the seeds of graceful, lacy annual plants (Anise, Love-in-the-Mist, Caraway, Fennel, Coriander).

Seasonings/Blends generally are blends of spices and/or herbs and/or seeds. They are usually intended for one specific purpose (Poultry Seasoning, Cajun Blend, Provencial Herbs, Lemon Dill Seafood Seasoning, Curry, Chilli).

How Much to Use: Generally figure 1/4 teas. of dried herbs for each 4 servings. The proverbial "pinch" is usually equivalent to the 1/4 teaspoon. Too much can ruin the dish, so use restraint. Blends usually require more, about 2 teas. to 1 T. Remember, you can add more if you need to.

How to Use: Before adding the measured amount of an herb to a recipe, crush it in palm of one hand with the fingertips of the other hand. This will release the flavour of the spice or herb.

When to Use: Cooked foods such as stews, soups, and sauces will taste best if herbs are added during the last hour of cooking. Uncooked foods such as salad dressings, fruits, and juices need time for the flavours to "marry"; add herbs as long before serving as possible.

Which to Use: The correct spice or herb for any food is the one that tastes right for you. Seasoning is not an exact science, but an expressive art - and you are the artist. When experi-menting with a new spice or herb, crush some of it and let it warm in your hand; then sniff and taste it. If it is delicate, you can be bold and adventurous. If it is very strong and pungent, use a light hand the first time that you use it.

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