Herbs and spices are the perfect partner to fruits and vegetables for bringing out flavor. Chamomile, cayenne, cinnamon and hops all give different flavors to your carrots, or you can spread horseradish or mint spreads on bread for wildly different effects.
Even better, many herbs have doubled through the centuries as healing medications. Today, including certain herbs in your diet can make you feel better. Fresh herbs are best for flavor and for most medicinal purposes (and you can even grow your own in a kitchen or windowsill garden), but dried herbs will do as well. Herbs are primarily made of the whole plant – blossom, root, stem, and seed. Spices are similar, but tend to be stronger, aromatic, and tropical in origin. Spices are also great at preserving food as well as seasoning it.
Herbs are mild and used for more delicate flavors, but spices tend to be bold, even overpowering if used to excess. However, the two terms are often used interchangeably.
Herbs can be dried in the oven, if you don’t allow the temperature to exceed 90 degrees Fahrenheit – that’s setting the oven on Warm. Spread the herbs evenly on a cookie sheet, and keep the door of the oven ajar so that air can circulate. After the herbs have fully dried, keep them away from light, in a relatively cool place and in an airtight container, preferably glass or pottery.
In some way you have linked spices with successful cookery - and now you want to know more about them.
Part of the "mystery" of spices is the inexactness of knowledge about what they are. "Is garlic salt a spice?" "What's an herb?" The word "spice" is used generally to cover the waterfront of spices, seeds, herbs and the vegetable seasonings.
HERB AND SPICE GUIDE
(The information below was reprinted with permission from the www.astaspice.orgwebsite!)
Vegetable seasonings are usually dehydrated, ground vegetables, such as onion or garlic. The accompanying chart will tell you whether it's a spice, seed, herb or blend. The latter simply refers to a careful mixture of spices, seeds, herbs and vegetable seasonings according to some time-honored formula.
Anise: Seed Whole and Ground
Color-brown with tan stripes Flavor-delightful sweet licorice aroma and taste
Coffee cake, sweet breads, rolls, cookies; fruit compote, stewed apples, preserved fruits, all fruit pie fillings; licorice candies, sweet pickles; beef and veal stew; cottage cheese.
Available as dried crushed leaves and stems. Color-light green Flavor-pleasant, mild, sweet, distinctive
All tomato dishes, peas, squash, string beans, potatoes, spinach; French and Russian dressing or sprinkle over salads; bean soup, pea soup, beef soup, Manhattan clam chowder; broiled lamb chops, venison, beef, lamb and veal stews, veal roasts; shrimp, shrimp Creole, boiled and steamed lobster; spaghetti sauce; scrambled eggs; soufflés.
Bay Leaves: Herb
Available as dried whole leaves. Color-light green Flavor-very mild, sweet, distinctive
Pickled beets, beets, boiled carrots, boiled artichokes, boiled potatoes vegetable soup, fish chowders; lamb, beef, veal, venison, poultry, fish stews; boiled or steamed shrimp and lobster; chicken casserole, boiled chicken; pickled meats; brine for smoked meats; pot roast; boiled pork; meat gravies; marinades.
Whole Color-light brown Flavor-distinctive, sweet, spicy
Ground Color-light brown Flavor-similar to above, sweeter and slightly stronger
Buns, coffee cake, muffins, spice cake, molasses cookies, butter cookies, cinnamon toast; custards, tapioca, chocolate pudding, rice pudding; fruit pies, broiled grapefruit, apples in any form, stewed fruits, pickled fruits; heated spiced beverages, hot cocoa and chocolate drinks; sweet gherkins; sweet potatoes, pumpkin, squash.
Whole Color-dark brown Flavor-distinctive, spicy, sweet, penetrating
Ground Color-rich brown Flavor-sharp, spicy, pungent
Ham, boiled tongue, pork roast; pickled fruits; preserved fruits; stewed fruits; apple, mince and pumpkin pies; beets, baked beans, candied sweet potatoes, squash; hot spiced wines, hot tea; spice cake; sweet gherkins; rice pudding, chocolate pudding, tapioca; bean soup, beef soup, cream of pea soup, cream of tomato soup.
Crushed Red Pepper: Spice
Color-bright red to orange Flavor-hot
Pizzas; sausages; Italian specialties; wherever heat and spot color are desired.
Garlic Powder: Vegetable Seasoning
Color-white Flavor-garlic (product is result of dehydrating and grinding garlic). Contains no salt. Granulated garlic is similar product but more coarsely ground. Wherever garlic is used.
Garlic Salt: Vegetable Seasoning
Color-white Flavor-similar to garlic powder but much milder because of addiction of salt Wherever slight garlic flavor is desired.
Whole Color-green Flavor-distinctive, sweet aroma
Flaked Color-green Flavor-same as above
Jelly, ice cream, custard, fruit salad, fruit compote; frostings; split pea soup; lamb and veal roast sauces; cottage cheese salad; white potatoes, cabbage, carrots, celery, snap beans; tea; mint sauce.
Ground Color-copper Flavor-distinctive, exotic, sweet
Doughnuts; eggnog, custards, puddings; whipped cream, ice cream; fried bananas, stewed fruits; spice cake, coffee cake, cookies, pumpkin pie; steamed and glazed carrots, cabbage, spinach, snap beans, squash, onions, sweet potatoes; meat loaf.
Onion Powder: Vegetable Seasoning
Color-white Flavor-onion (product is result of dehydrating and grinding onion.) Contains no salt. Granulated onion is similar product but more coarsely ground. Wherever onion flavor is desired.
Onion Salt: Vegetable Seasoning
Color-cream Flavor-similar to onion powder but much milder because of addition of salt Wherever slight onion flavor is desired.
Whole Color-green Flavor-distinctive, strong
Ground Color-olive green Flavor-same as above
Pizza pie, spaghetti sauce, meat sauce; Swiss steak, beef stew, broiled and roast lamb, pork and veal, poultry; gravies; stuffed fish; cheese spreads; beef soup, bean soup, tomato soup; butter sauce for shell fish; cream and tomato sauces; vegetable juice cocktail; onions, peas, white potatoes, spinach, string beans.
Ground Color-red Flavor-distinctive, very mild
Poultry, ham, goulash, fish, shellfish; salad dressings; vegetables; gravies; cheese, Welsh rabbit; canapés; deviled eggs; stuffed celery, cream soups, chicken soup, chowders.
Parsley Flakes: Herb
Color-green Flavor-distinctive, mild
Soups; salads; coleslaw; meat, stews, fish, poultry; sauces; all vegetables; omelets; potatoes.
Black Pepper: Spice
Whole Color-dark brown Flavor-distinctive, pleasant spicy bouquet with palate-tingling flavor and enduring after-taste.
Ground Color-varies from cream to black Flavor-same as above
Almost all foods, except those with sweet flavors. If you are preparing a non-sweet dish that "needs something" try a little pepper first. It is used universally to add sparkle to foods, including: Pickles; soups; poultry, meats; fish; shellfish, game; sauces, gravies, marinades; salads; eggs; cheese spreads; vegetables; spiced vinegar.
Whole Color-green (looks like a pine needle) Flavor-distinctive, delicate, sweetish
Roast and broiled lamb, beef, pork, veal, game, poultry; salmon; deviled eggs; cheese sauces; sautéed mushrooms; boiled potatoes, green peas, squash; creamed seafood; chicken soup, split pea soup.
Whole Color-olive green Flavor-distinctive, positive
All pork dishes; meat, fish and poultry stuffing; brown sauces; cheese spreads; consommé, cream soups, fish chowders; salad greens, French dressing; Brussels sprouts, onions, lima beans, peas, tomatoes.
Whole and Ground Color-predominantly maroon Flavor-distinctive, exotic, concentrated (not strong, yet a little goes a long way)
Rice; rolls, breads, buns; fish stew; bouillabaisse chicken; chicken soup; cakes.
Whole and Ground Color-green Flavor-distinctive, fresh, pleasant
Marinades for meat, butter sauce for steaks; poultry; salads; omelets; fish and shellfish; vegetable juice cocktail; chicken soup, consommé, fish chowder, tomato soup; vinegar; broccoli, asparagus, beans, cabbage, cauliflower.
Whole Color-gray-green Flavor-distinctive, pleasantly penetrating
Ground Color-light olive green Flavor-slightly stronger than above
Fresh tomatoes, tomato spice, salads; poultry stuffing, croquettes, fricassees; fish chowders, gumbo, vegetable soup; shirred eggs; all meats; seafood sauces; artichokes, beans, beets, carrots, mushrooms, onions, potatoes.
Whole and Ground Color-orange (used mostly for its color) Flavor-mild, slightly bitter
Pickles, relishes, prepared mustards, salad dressings; creamed eggs, fish, seafood; to color rice dishes where saffron is not used.