Herbs and Spices

Spices are distinguished from herbs, which are parts of leafy green plants also used for flavoring or as garnish. Most spices and herbs are available in either a finely ground form for cooking or in the raw form as a seed, nut, leaf, or tuber.

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Whole spices compared to ground spices

Most of the time, the ground form is required to properly flavor the dish. Generally, whole spices keep their flavor longer than the ground spices. South Asian cuisines often use whole spices that they roast freshly before grinding for use, maximizing the flavors and aromas released into the food.

Bay leaves are generally used in stews and soups and are almost always used whole.

Green spices compared to dried spices

Often, a recipe will require modifications if the fresh version is used because the flavors do change in the drying process. Fresh herbs are nearly always better than dried herbs, as some subtle aromatics are lost during drying. When substituted in recipes, one part dried herbs are approximately equal to 3 parts fresh herbs. For example, 1/3 tablespoon of dried basil is equal to about one tablespoon of chopped fresh basil.

  • This is a list of culinary herbs and spices. Specifically these are food or drink additives of mostly botanical origin used in nutritionally insignificant quantities for flavoring or coloring.
  • This list does not contain salt, which is a mineral, nor is it for fictional plants such as aglaophotis, or recreational drugs such as tobacco.
  • This list is not for plants used primarily for herbal teas or tisanes, nor for plant products that are purely medicinal, such as valerian.

Show and tell with spices