Saffron - Takes around 50,000–75,000 flowers to produce a pound (454 grams) of saffron, and is the most expensive spice in the world. Saffron is dark orange and thread-like, with a spicy flavor and aroma. Saffron appears in Moorish, Mediterranean and Asian cuisines. Its most common function is to color rice yellow, as in festive Indian pilaus and risotto Milanese, where its delicate flavor make it the most famous of Italian rice dishes. It combines well with fish and seafood, infamous as a key ingredient of Spanish paella as well as bouillabaisse. In England, saffron is probably best known for its use in Cornish saffron buns where it is paired with dried fruit in a yeast cake. Try this Indian Sweet Saffron Rice recipe.
Allspice - These small dark, reddish-brown berries tastes like a combination of spices—cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg—which explains its common name. It is pungent, so use sparingly. Use Allspice in apple pie, fruit cobblers, cakes, cookies, jams, coffee cakes, gingerbread, pot roast and stews, fish marinades, meatballs, meatloaf, hamburgers, fruit salads, beets, carrots, sweet potatoes, winter squash, and mixed fruit salads.
Anise Seed - Is a strong spice - flavor of licorice - so use it sparingly. A few seeds crushed, perhaps 10 at most, will improve the flavor of pizza sauce. It is used to flavor fish, poultry, soups and root vegetable dishes.
Nutmeg - Is popular as a spice, used for making sweets, baking, sauces, ice cream, custards, and hot drinks. It is used often in Indian and Middle Eastern cuisines as well. In soups it works with tomatoes, split pea, chicken or black beans. It complements egg dishes and vegetables like cabbage, spinach, broccoli, beans onions and eggplant. It is indispensable to eggnog and numerous mulled wines and punches. One whole nutmeg grated equals 2 to 3 teaspoons of ground Nutmeg.
Basil - It is generally added at the last moment, as cooking quickly destroys the flavor. Basil is used in soups, sauces and meats. It especially complements tomato-based dishes and can be used to flavor butter.
Bay Leaves - It has a clove-like aroma - used to flavor soups, stews, meats, seafood, and vegetable dishes. The leaves are often used whole. Be sure to remove after cooking as it's flavor will continue to increase if left in.
Caraway - Caraway seeds have a pungent licorice-like flavor and aroma. Used primarily as a spice in breads (especially rye bread). It can also be used in casseroles and mixed in with cheeses.
Cardamom - Is a wonderful spice used to flavor many foods and drinks. Cardamom seeds, with their sweet and spicy aroma is used in Indian sweet dishes and drinks. The pods can be used whole or split when cooked in Indian meals. Cardamom is also chewed like nut. It is a flavoring for Arab and Turkish coffee which is served with an elaborate ritual. For recipes requiring whole cardamom pods, a generally accepted equivalent is 10 pods equals 1.5 teaspoons of ground cardamom.
Cayenne Pepper - Cayenne pepper can be used as a spice in cooking; or as a condiment at table, generally with seafood's, such as oysters, sardines, smoked salmon and trout, scallops, fried mussels, crab, lobster, crayfish, and batter. It may be sprinkled over soups and hors d'oeuvres. It is perfect to spice up any dish like chili.
Celery Seed - Celery seeds are tiny globular seeds that are sold whole, slightly crushed, or ground. The seeds are used in fresh tomato juices, chicken soups, pickles, salad dressings, cole slaw, breads, and meats. Scandinavians and Eastern Europeans add Celery Seeds and leaves to sauces, soups, stews, and salads. The ground form or extractives are used in salami, bologna, frankfurters, knockwurst, sausages, corned beef, and Bloody Mary drinks.
Chervil - Fresh chervil is sometimes available from greengrocers. Despite its fragile appearance, it keeps well. Kept in a zip lock bag, Chervil will last up to a week in the refrigerator. Dried chervil should be dark-green and show no signs of yellowing due to exposure to light. It is used to flavor eggs, fish, chicken and light sauces, dressings, and is a tasty addition to herb butters.
Cilantro - Depending on the cuisine, the entire plant is used for the various flavors and aromas that are present in each constituent part. The leaves are always used fresh. They feature in Spanish, Middle Eastern, Indian, Oriental and South American cookery. They are often sprinkled like parsley on cooked dishes, minced or puréed in sauces, soups and curries. In Mexico and the Southwestern U.S. it is used in everything from salsas and salads to burritos or meat dishes. Crushed, sprinkle over stir-fried vegetables for color and Asian flavor.
Cinnamon - It is commonly used in cakes and other baked goods, rice puddings, chocolate dishes, fruit desserts (apples and pears), milk, and ciders. It is common in many Middle Eastern and North African dishes, in flavoring lamb tagines or stuffed aubergines. The largest importer of Sri Lankan cinnamon is Mexico, where it is drunk with coffee and chocolate and brewed as a tea. Recent research has revealed that regular use of cinnamon can also promote healthy glucose metabolism. Sprinkle 1/4 tsp of antioxidant-rich ground Cinnamon on your morning oatmeal to perk up your day.
Cloves - The clove is native to the North Moluccas, the Spice Islands of Indonesia. It is cultivated in Brazil, the West Indies, Mauritius, Madagascar, India, Sri Lanka, Zanzibar and Pemba. Cloves are best bought whole. As a powder flavor quickly deteriorates. Being extremely hard, it is difficult to grind cloves with a mortar and pestle so an electric grinder such as a coffee grinder is recommended. Cloves can easily overpower a dish, particularly when ground, so only a few need be used. Whole cloves are often used to “stud” hams and pork, pushing the tapered end into the meat like a nail. Cloves are often used to enhance the flavor of game, especially venison.
Coriander - Is traditional in desserts and sweet pastries as well as in curries, meat, and seafood dishes with South American, Indian, Mediterranean, and African origins. Add it to stews and marinades for a Mediterranean flavor. Coriander is a characteristic of Arab cookery, being common with lamb, kid and meat stuffing's. Taklia, a popular Arab spice mixture, is coriander and garlic crushed and fried. Coriander with cumin is a common combination and features in falafel and in the Egyptian appetizer dukka, which consists of those spices plus sesame seeds, hazelnuts, salt and pepper, roasted and crushed. Coriander goes well with ham and pork, especially when orange is included. It enhances fish dishes and, with other spices, may form a delicious coating for spiced fish or chicken, rubbed into the scored flesh and grilled. In Thailand the root of the coriander plant is used to flavor meats, curries and soups.
Cumin - Is used mainly where highly spiced foods are preferred. It features in Indian, Eastern, Middle Eastern, Mexican, Portuguese and Spanish cookery. It is an ingredient of most curry powders and many savoury spice mixtures, and is used in stews, grills - especially lamb - and chicken dishes. Cumin is essential in spicy Mexican foods such as chile con carne, casseroled pork and enchiladas with chili sauce. In Europe, cumin flavors certain Portuguese sausages, and is used to spice cheese, especially Dutch Leyden and German Munster, and burned with woods to smoke cheeses and meats. It is a pickling ingredient for cabbage and Sauerkraut, and is used in chutneys. In the Middle East, it is a familiar spice for fish dishes, grills and stews.
Curry (Jamaican curry powder) - Combination of turmeric, coriander, fenugreek, cumin, black pepper, and ginger. It provides a certain zest to yogurt-based salad dressings and vegetable dishes, such as fried cabbage, lentils, beans, okra, eggplant, and deviled eggs. It is an essential spice in South Indian, Sri Lankan, and Malaysian soups, breads, vegetables, and chicken.
Dill - Is mainly used in pickling, where most of the plant is used. “Dill Pickles” have become a North American classic and in Europe Sauerkraut and dill vinegars have been popular for centuries. Its flavor works well in sour cream and yogurt sauces. The chopped fresh leaves are frequently used with trout and salmon, shrimp, deviled eggs, green beans, cauliflower, beets, soups, cottage and cream cheese. Dill is commonly used herb with crayfish, boiled for approximately 10 minutes in salt water mixed with dill.
Fennel - It is traditionally considered one of the best herbs for fish dishes. The English use fennel seeds in almost all fish dishes, especially as a court bouillon for poaching fish and seafood. By far the most common use of fennel is in pizza sauces and toppings. Another important use for fennel is in Italian sausage. Fennel seeds are also used in specialty breads. It is native to Southern Europe and Asia Minor.
Garlic - The uses of garlic are infinite and it is an important ingredient in the cuisine of most nations. A small amount will 'lift' dishes of meat, fish and vegetables and be virtually undetectable. Garlic butters accompany snails, mussels and grills of fish or meat. Pasta dishes often call for sauces flavored with garlic. French and Spanish aioli and Greek skordalia are powerful garlic sauces. Garlic appears frequently in soups, salad dressings, patés, terrines, salamis and smoked spiced sausages. It is usual to include garlic in dishes of game. Joints of lamb and beef roasts benefit greatly by spiking the skin with slivers of garlic before roasting, few or many, according to taste. For just a hint of garlic, rub the salad bowl or cooking pot with a cut clove. A bruised garlic clove can be used to effect in a bottle of vinegar or salad dressing. Garlic is indispensable to Indian cookery and is widely used in China and South East Asia.
Ginger - Fresh ginger is essential to Asian and oriental cookery. It is used in pickles, chutneys and curry pastes and the ground dried root is a constituent of many curry powders. Tender young ginger can be sliced and eaten as a salad. Sometimes the roots will produce green sprouts which can be finely chopped and added to a green salad. In the West, dried ginger is mainly used in cakes and biscuits, especially ginger snaps and gingerbread. Ginger is also used in puddings, jams, preserves and in some drinks like ginger beer, ginger wine and tea.
Mace - Mace works especially well with milk dishes like custards and cream sauces. It contributes to flavoring light-colored cakes and pastries, especially donuts. It can enhance clear and creamed soups and casseroles, chicken pies and sauces. Adding some to mashed potatoes or sweet potatoes creates a more interesting side dish. Some beverages improve with a little Mace, especially chocolate drinks and tropical punches.
Marjoram - Is typically used in European cooking and is added to fish sauces, clam chowder, butter-based sauces, salads, tomato-based sauces, vinegar, mushroom sauces, and eggplant. It goes well with vegetables including cabbages, potatoes, and beans. The seeds are used to flavor confectionary and meat products. It is popular in Greek cooking, for grilled lamb and meats and to complement onions, garlic, and wine. Italians use it in tomato sauces, pizzas, fish dishes, and vegetables. In Eastern Europe, it is added to grilled meats and stews with paprika, chilies, fruits, nuts, and other dried spices. In the United States, it is used commercially in poultry seasonings, liverwurst, bologna, cheeses, sausages, soups, and salad dressings.
Mint - For most culinary purposes spearmint is the preferred variety. Mint combines well with many vegetables such as potatoes, tomatoes, carrots and peas. A few chopped leaves give refreshment to green salads and salad dressings. Peppermint is more commonly used in desserts, adding fresh flavor to fruits, ices and sherbets. Spearmint is popular in the Balkans and Middle East, where it is used both fresh and dried with grilled meats, stuffed vegetables and rice and is an essential ingredient of dolmas, stuffed vine leaves. American mint julep is a southern classic.
Oregano - A wonderful dried herb used often in tomato sauces. Combined with basil, it contributes to the distinctive character of many Italian dishes. Oregano is also indispensable in Greek cuisine. Oregano adds great flavor to soups, salads, pizza, and meat dishes. Oregano was popular in ancient Egypt and Greece as a flavoring for vegetables, wines, meats and fish.
Paprika - Is associated with Hungarian cuisine especially paprikash and goulash. Many spiced sausages incorporate it, including the Spanish chorizos. Paprika is often used as a garnish, sprinkled on eggs, hors d’ouvres and salads for color. It spices and colors cheeses and cheese spreads, and is used in marinades and smoked foods. It can be incorporated in the flour dusting for chicken and other meats. Many Spanish, Portuguese and Turkish recipes use Paprika for soups, stews, casseroles and vegetables. In India paprika is sometimes used in tandoori chicken, to give the characteristic red color.
Parsley - Fresh or dried parsley may be used in omelets, scrambled eggs, mashed potatoes, soups, pasta and vegetable dishes and in sauces to go with fish, poultry, veal and pork. It is included with garlic and butter for making garlic bread or simply garnishing a juicy, sizzling barbecued steak.
Pepper - The history of the spice trade is, above all, the history of pepper, the ‘King of Spices’. Is best grounded directly on to food. With hot food it is best to add pepper well towards the end of the cooking process, to preserve its aroma. White pepper is used in white sauces rather than black pepper, which would give the sauce a speckled appearance.
Poppy Seed - Like several other spicy seeds, they are sprinkled on breads and buns and used in a variety of Western cakes and pastries, for example in poppy cakes, strudels and Danish pastries. Poppy seed complements honey spread an bread, giving a nice contrast of texture fried in butter, poppy seed can be added to noodles or pasta. It flavors vegetables and their accompanying sauces, especially asparagus and root vegetables. Sprinkled into coleslaw, the seeds give a contrast of both color and texture. They are used to top creamed potatoes and au gratin dishes, and sometimes appear in fish dishes. In Middle Eastern and Jewish cookery, poppy seeds go on breads and in cakes and candies and are often seen studding pretzels.
Rosemary - It enhances tomatoes spinach, peas, mushrooms, squash, cheese, eggs, lentils, and complements the herbs chives, thyme, chervil, parsley, and bay in recipes. Gentle soups like potato and eggplant benefit from Rosemary's robust character, as do marinades, salad dressings, bouquet garnis, and cream —sauces. Rosemary is extremely high in iron, calcium, and Vitamin B6.
Sage - Pea, bean and vegetable soups benefit from sage, as does mash potatos or butter beans. Sage and onions are a well-known combination and moderate amounts of sage are excellent with eggplant and tomatoes. Sage is a traditional element of mixed herbs along with thyme and marjoram. Sage will complement any full-bodied soup, stew, meat loaf, or roast meat dish.
Sesame Seed - The simplest and now commonest use of sesame is as whole seeds sprinkled over cakes and breads, like poppy seeds. It is a flavoring for hummus, a sauce for kebabs and is often mixed with lemon and garlic to make a bread dip. In Mexico, its oil is called ajonjoli which is frequently used for cooking. Black sesame appears frequently in Chinese, Japanese and Korean dishes where meat or fish is rolled in the seeds before cooking for a crunchy coating. Black sesame is an ingredient of gomassio, the Japanese tabletop condiment, and other colorful rice and noodle dishes.
Tarragon - Use the leaves fresh in salads, as garnishes, or in such classic applications as remoulade sauce, tartar sauce, béarnaise sauce, French dressing, and veal Marengo. In general, don't add this herb with a heavy hand, and avoid bringing out its bitter side by cooking it too long.
Thyme - Leaves and sprigs are used in salads as garnishes and most famously in clam chowder, bouquets garnis, and French, Creole, and Cajun cuisines. Thyme works well with veal, lamb, beef, poultry, fish, poultry stuffing, pâtés, sausages, stews, soups, stocks, bread, herbed butters, herbed mayonnaise, flavored vinegars, mustard, and bean and lentil casseroles. Use it with tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, carrots, eggplant, parsnips, leeks, mushrooms, asparagus, green beans, broccoli, sweet peppers, potatoes, spinach, corn, peas, cheese, eggs, and rice.
Turmeric - Is used extensively in the East and Middle East as a condiment and culinary dye. In India it is used to tint many sweet dishes. Apart from its wide use in Moroccan cuisine to spice meat, particularly lamb, and vegetables, its principal place is in curries and curry powders. It is used in many fish curries, possibly because it successfully masks fishy odors. When used in curry powders, it is usually one of the main ingredients, providing the associated yellow color. For healing properties, see Turmeric Fights Cancer.
Vanilla - It's mellow fragrance enhances a variety of sweet dishes: puddings, cakes, custards, creams, soufflés and, of course, ice cream. Classic examples include crème caramel, peach Melba and apple Charlotte. Vanilla flavor is detectable in many chocolate and confectionery items and several liqueurs such as Crème de Cacao and Galliano. Vanilla extract last indefinitely.
Chives - A delicate onion flavor used in cooking and as a garnish on sauces, dips, and fish dishes. Combine chives with melted butter and lemon, then pour over fish fillets before or after baking.
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Filé powder - Also called gumbo filé, is a spice made from dried and ground sassafras leaves. Its use originated with the Choctaw Indians in the American South. The powder gets stringy when it's heated, so add it only after you've removed the gumbo from the heat source. Filé also doesn't reheat well, so add it only to the gumbo that you're planning to eat right away.
Peppercorn - Use in sauces, pickling spices and marinades. Use whole peppercorn in mills. Ground pepper flavor fades in time so it is best where possible to grind whole peppercorns as you require them. Green peppercorns can be mashed with garlic, cinnamon or to make a spiced butter or with cream to make a fresh and attractive sauce for fish. Pink peppercorns are called for in a variety of dishes, from poultry to vegetables and fish.
The Life of Spices:
Spices, ground ......... 2-3 years
Spices, whole ........... 3-4 years
Seasoning blends ..... 1-2 years
Herbs .......................1-3 years
Extracts ..................... 4 years (except pure vanilla, which lasts indefinitely)
Fenugreek: Is commonly used in the preparation of pickles, curry powder and pastes, and many Indian dishes. Flour mixed with ground Fenugreek makes a spicy bread. Research has shown that Fenugreek is an effective topical treatment for skin problems such as abscesses, boils, burns, eczema, and gout.
Epazote - Mexicans and Central Americans use Epazote fresh in salads, soups, and meats and especially to enhance huitlacoche, mushrooms, bean- and chile-based foods such as refried beans (frijoles refritos), frijoles negros, moles, black bean or rice and beans. The taste is strong, slightly bitter with hints of lemon. A pinch or two is usually added toward the end of cooking to prevent bitterness in the finished product.
Moringa is so safe; it can be consumed by children and nursing mothers. Students, athletes, working professionals, and the elderly, will all benefit from over 90 bio-nutrients delivered to the body, to improve clarity, focus, and concentration.
• 7 times the vitamin C found in oranges
• 4 times the calcium found in milk, and twice the protein
• 4 times the vitamin A found in carrots
• 3 times the potassium found in bananas
• 3 times the iron found in almonds