Category Archives for "Spices"

January 8, 2016

Culinary Herbs and Spices


Any food will be spicier if the cook can season it properly. The art of cooking will be more enjoyable if the cook has mastered the basics of using herbs and spices. Food will be tastier, fragrant and more impressive if the proper spices and herbs are added in the right quantities.

Here is a list of culinary herbs and spices which have proven to be useful in the kitchen.

Herbs: Most herbs are found either in the dried form or in a fresh form and are used in both forms equally. Herbs are regarded as leaves and greener parts of the plant like seeds, bark and the roots.

Spices: One can find the spices in the dry form. They are found in pepper corns, nutmeg, strips, seeds, cinnamon bark and roots.

Basil: This is available as both fresh and in dry form. There are several varieties of the basil even though the sweet basil is the most common. Sweet basil is slightly sweet in nature and has strong flavor.


Bay leaves: Bay leaves are found in fresh form, but the most common form is the dry one. The bay leaves which are fresh have a mild flavor which is more similar to oregano and it is more pungent.


Indonesian bay leaf (Syzygium polyanthum), by W.A. Djatmiko


Cardamom: This has a sweet and spicy flavor and it is highly fragrant. This is considered to be the most prominent in the list of culinary herbs and spices.

Cayenne pepper, chillies, reddish pepper and chilli powder: All these spices can be used in the cooking. Cayenne and dried pepper are used commonly in cooking. Cayenne is hot and has a bright reddish orange.


Cilantro and coriander: The leaves of cilantro and seeds of coriander are the most popular spices used in cooking.

Cinnamon is available in rolled and bark form or found grounded. Cinnamon is sweeter and spicier and is highly fragrant.

Cloves are available either in dry form or as grounded. The flavor of the cloves can be described as something that is between allspice and cinnamon. The grounded cloves are used frequently in curries and during the baking.

Cumin is available either as grounded or with the whole seeds. Cumin has excellent fragrance and taste which cannot be substituted by anything else. They are really pungent.

Curry powder is among the ones in the list of culinary herbs and spices, this should be added in the recipes depending upon the dish. You can either buy it ready made or can prepare it yourself.

Ginger is available in root form and also in grounded form. One can get it grated or minced in small jars. One will be able to prepare pickles out of it and get it dried.


Mint: Mint is fresh, strong and sweeter. This is available in several flavors as it comes in the lemon flavor.


Nutmeg: This is available either as a whole or in grounded form.


Mature mace of nutmeg, photo by AntanO.


Oregano (Origanum vulgare) is a common species of Origanum, a genus of the mint family (Lamiaceae). Oregano is native to warm-temperate western and southwestern Eurasia and the Mediterranean region.


Plectranthus amboinicus. Common names: Indian Borage. Mexican mint. Spanish Thyme, Cuban Oregano. Photo by Mokkie.


Paprika is a spice made from air-dried fruits of the chili pepper family of the species Capsicum annuum. The spice is sweeter, hot and smoky and it has a bright red color.


Bowl of smoked Spanish pimentón, by Badagnani.


Parsley: This is one of the most commonly used herbs in the list of culinary herbs and spices and has a fresh and greenish taste. It is used widely.

Thyme: This is available in dried form. It has a flavor which is quite similar to rosemary and is strong and grounded.

This is merely an introductory list of commonly used culinary herbs and spices. There’s many more, so keep on exploring the wide world of herbs and spices.

Mary Candler commonly consults her list of herbs and spices for many culinary and medicinal purposes. You can too at The Herb Garden Expert where there’s a growing compendium of herb knowledge [] and how-to information.


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