|Wars have been fought and
countries discovered because of spices. Through the ages herbs have
been used not only to create specialty food, but also as preservatives
and medications. Today, herbs and spices come from all over the world.
Using herbs and spices in cooking offers the chance to prepare exotic,
gourmet dishes. They also allow a way to cut calories in foods without
sacrificing taste. The calories in herbs and spices are far less than in
breading, batters, gravies, sauces and fried foods. Using herbs and
spices can also be money saving as inexpensive foods and be enhanced
with fewer ingredients.
Spices have been used from ancient times
for seasoning food. They are an important part of history and an
important part of our food. Nearly every country in the world,
including our own, supplies items for the spice shelves of America. The
term "spices" refers to food seasonings made from aromatic plants.
A "seasoning" is a blend of herbs and spices which make the art of
flavoring foods easy for the cook. The word "spices" is often
applied to herbs and seeds. Spices, herbs, and seeds are nature's own
products. They enhance the flavor of foods and add interest.
Spices have little nutritive value but
they do stimulate the appetite. Some are valued for their flavor
and some for their aroma.
Vegetable seasonings are not true spices,
but they are excellent flavor enhancers. Examples include celery,
celery salt, chives, garlic, and onion.
The basic spice staples should include
such spices as black pepper, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, mustard, nutmeg,
paprika and one or more of the dehydrated forms of garlic and onion.
Spices are not expensive, considering how far they must travel to reach
us--from all over the world.
How to Store Spices...how
to maximize the life of your spices and herbs.
Using Herbs and Spices...how
much to use and when to add herbs and spices.
What with What...A
chart for combing spices with foods.
dried herbs, spices, and vegetables for fresh.
Spices are the dried seeds,
buds, fruit, flower parts, bark, or roots of aromatic plants which
usually grow in tropical climates. Examples include allspice from
the unripened berry of a tree; cinnamon from the bark of a tree;
cloves from the dried, unopened buds of a tree; ginger from the root of
a plant; mace from the lacy wrapper or membrane which is the outer
covering so the nutmeg seed; nutmeg from a hard, large seed of a
peach-like fruit of the nutmeg tree; paprika from the dried fruit pod of
a red pepper plant; and pepper from the dried berry of a vine.
Herbs are always the
aromatic leaves of plants which usually grown in temperate climates.
Examples include basil, mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage,
tarragon, and thyme.
Seeds are the aromatic,
dried, small, whole fruits or seeds of plants which are usually grown in
temperate climates. They grow in many parts of the world.
Examples include caraway seed, cardamom seed, celery seed, dill seed,
mustard seed, poppy seed, and sesame seed.