How to Cook With Herbs and Spices - The Definitive Guide


Cooking with herbs and spices expand culinary horizons taking you to far off lands with unique flavors and traditions. Cooking becomes less tedious and more adventurous and interesting. And as comfort levels using diverse herbs and spices increase, the ability and desire to experiment and fuse the flavors and character of one ethnic tradition to another further opens the world of cooking and the joy it can produce.

And herbs and spices are believed, and in many cases proven, to impart important health benefits. We have included a listing of the specific most widely held assessments of each herb and spices' beneficial characteristics in our definitive chart of spices featured below.

And herbs and spices help you create healthier dishes. Ditch the sugar and salt and add some spice to improve and extend your lifestyle and challenge your culinary comfort zone. Spices help cut down on the amount of unhealthy fats and sweets that are too easily added as a quick fix for taste. Better and more often use of herbs and spices in a meal can help you use less processed sauces and condiments, which are often high in salt and sugar. They also offer a quick and easy way to get a taste of different cultures without flying halfway across the world! Whether you’re looking for an exotic Indian dish or a feel-good Italian meal, a strategic blend of herbs spices can instantly transport you.

 1. Overview of Herbs and Spices

Spices and herbs should be used to enhance the natural flavor of food--not disguise or obscure it. Many herbs and spices can complement a dish and each other; however, be selective in their combinations. Avoid using too many at one time. Herbs may be added near the end of cooking for more distinct flavor, or at the beginning for more blended flavors.

Benefits of Herbs and Spices 

Herbs and spices have thousands of years of history of being used for medicinal purposes. Not only do they add a delicious flavor to your meal, but they also offer a variety of different medicinal properties. A small pinch of basil or cumin won’t instantly cure all your ailments. However, regularly adding herbs and spices to your dishes can help benefit your overall wellness over time. The popularity of fresh herbs and herbal teas can be attributed to their myriad of abilities. They can reduce inflammation, ease stress and anxiety, boost the immune system and more.

Herbs and spices add a delightful flavor and aroma to any dish. They offer an easy way to enhance the flavors in a dish, as well as add a pop of color! Many people add spices like turmeric and paprika to dishes to add a lovely yellow or orange color.

The Difference Between Herbs and Spices 

Spices are generally the seeds, roots, fruit, flower or bark of the plant. Dried or ground spices are common. Spices can generally withstand higher temperature and longer cooking times than herbs, so people choose to add them toward the beginning of cooking. Their flavor really packs a punch this way, especially if you choose to add cooking oil or butter too.

Herbs are generally the green, leafy parts of the plant. They are either fresh, dried or ground and are great for adding into roasted or sautéed vegetables, meats, and salads. Fresh herbs are wonderful as garnishes and offer a fresh burst of flavor to any meal. Dried herbs are wonderful when mixed with a fat (either oil or butter) and left to infuse. Crushing dried herbs with a mortar and pestle before adding to a dish can help release some of the flavors. Many people prefer to add herbs to a dish towards the end of cooking.

Try to use fresh herbs and not the dried versions, but if you do substitute dried herbs, the general rule of thumb is one teaspoon dried for one tablespoon chopped fresh. When using fresh herbs in a recipe, add them at the end so the heat doesn't destroy their flavor. Never use dried cilantro, chives, parsley or mint as the flavor changes or disappears when they are dried.

2. Ethnic and Flavor Categories

Benefits of Spicy & Hot Foods 

Spices like cinnamon, turmeric, garlic, ginger, and cumin, as well as peppers and chili, host many health benefits. Hot and/or spicy foods can even increase two feel-good chemicals in the body — endorphins and dopamine. This may just explain that spicy food craving you can’t kick. Along with corn, tomatoes, and beans, the early Europeans explorers brought back some of the peppers from Latin America - the only place they grew at that time - and introduced the plant to the rest of the world, where it took off like wildfire.

  1. Weight. Numerous studies indicates that certain spices — like cumin, cinnamon, turmeric, peppers, and chilies — can raise your metabolic resting rate and slow down the appetite. One study also found that turmeric suppressed fat tissue growth in mice.
  2. Longevity. Eating spicy food six or seven days a week — even just once a day — lowered mortality rates by 14 percent, according to a large 2015 study by Harvard and China National Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
  3. InflammationCurcumin, a compound in turmeric,may reduce inflammation in the body. The anti-inflammatory properties of ginger and garlic have been used for centuries by some to treat a range of conditions, like arthritis, autoimmune disorders, and even headaches and nausea.

Capsaicin, the fiery substance found in chili peppers, can elicit intense short-term symptoms, like stomach pain, diarrhea, and vomiting in those who consume extreme amounts. This occurs due to overstimulation of the nervous system. The good news is no permanent damage is done to the intestinal lining. In fact, current evidence now confirms that capsaicin provides protection against an ulcer pathogen along with acting as a pain reliever when applied topically or ingested.

Red pepper flavors increase in intensity upon cooking. Use in small increments to allow the flavor to intensify during cooking.

What Is Curry?

Defining curry is tricky because the varieties are truly endless. Depending on the exact spice combination you purchase or make, curries can differ from kitchen to kitchen, chef to chef and region to region. A blend of spices developed by the British, curry powder typically includes turmeric, coriander and red peppers (among others) and this mix is most readily available in supermarkets.

In addition to being a blend of spices, curry paste also includes oils and fresh ingredients (such as ginger and garlic). They are potent in flavor and don’t require much or any other seasoning. 

Different Types Of Curry

Thai curries tend to be made with curry paste and often use coconut milk in combination with the pastes to make either the soup or the sauce. Typically, Thai curries use a red, green or yellow paste and range from mild to knock-your-socks-off spicy and is often accompanied by the flavors of Kaffir lime. 

Indian curries, also typically made from pastes, include: Tikka Masala, on the milder side of the curries; Madras, a moderately spicy curry; and Vindaloo, considered a very strong and spicy curry. What distinguishes one Indian curry from another is its region of origin.

Using Spices And Herbs In Ethnic Dishes

Here are the spices and herbs that are primarily used in various ethnic dishes. As you get more comfortable, the lines will blur and a fusion of ethnic flavors will take your cooking to a new level and you will delight your guests with creations of your own.

  • Indian meals often incorporate a mix of cardamom, clove, cumin, coriander, nutmeg, mustard seeds, cayenne pepper, ginger, paprika, garam masala, bay leaves, curries, fenugreek, and turmeric.
  • Italian food often mixes oregano, parsley, basil, sage rosemary, and thyme.
  • If you’re looking for more of a Thai or Vietnamese inspired meal, try using garlic, ginger, curries, coriander, galangal, lemongrass, cumin, cardamon, basil, cilantro, turmeric, and Kaffir lime leaves.
  • Moroccan and North African dishes use a delightful mix of ginger, paprika, cumin, cinnamon, saffron, turmeric, coriander, anise, nutmeg, fenugreek and bay leaves and ras el hanout.
  • For a Mexican inspired meal, try using dried chili peppers, cumin, paprika, cayenne pepper, cilantro, Chili powder, oregano, cinnamon and garlic.
  • Cajun foods use Cayenne pepper, oregano, paprika, thyme, rosemary, bay leaves, and Cajun seasoning.
  • Caribbean finds its spice from allspice, nutmeg, garlic, cloves, cinnamon, and ginger
  • Mediterranean dishes use oregano, rosemary, thyme, bay leaves, cardamon, cloves, coriander, basil and ginger. 
  • The main spices and herbs in Middle Eastern cuisine features bay leaves, cardamon, cinnamon, cloves, cumin, ginger, coriander, oregano, za'atar, and garlic.
  • The french favor nutmeg, thyme, garlic, parsley, rosemary, herbs de Provence, oregano, and tarragon.

3. How to Use Herbs And Spices in Cooking 

Is adding the flavor as simple as dropping the herbs and spices into the pot, pan or bowl? Sometimes. It, of course, depends on what dish you are creating. Imparting the flavors can be accomplished while the dish cooks, as a garnish, by marinading and infusing the flavor prior to cooking, or by adding a sauce, dressing, spread or dip after the dish has been fully cooked or prepared.

Braising, Stews, and Curries

When braising foods, creating a stew (which most often braises any meats or poultry added), or making a curry, herbs and spices rule. The dish would have none of the flavor or international flair without using the spices and herbs as outlined in the table below. And from the French tradition, most of these dishes begin with a vegetable base of chopped onion, carrots, and celery known as mire poix.

Most often, the herbs and spices are cooked with and into the dish. Some herbs that would lose their flavor during the cooking are added at the end. The possibilities and variations are endless and seasoned and newbie cooks can equally enjoy the culinary adventure. 

Sautées and Fried Dishes

Whether a dish simply is to be cooked, or browned or fried to a crisp skin, herbs and spices play an important role. For the European and Asian traditions, garlic is a key starting. It flavors the butter or oil. Then, add chopped parsley for the iconic French sautee that is used on seafood and shellfish or the vegetables, to be cooked alone or with the fish, poultry or meats to be transformed into ragu, a sauteed dish, a stir fry or countless other options. Again, use the chart below to add specific herbs and spices for the character you desire.

Steamed or Boiled

When steaming a fish or vegetables, you are often pairing an herb or spice flavor to a food. Mint with peas, thyme with carrots, or dill with salmon. In these situations, you are applying the herb or spice as one would apply salt and pepper. Just added the fresh flavor and enjoy the pairing.


Grilled meats, fish, poultry, and vegetables most often utilize marinades and rubs to deliver a great flavor or ethnic character to the food. Marinades and rubs, using the table below, are applied hours or sometimes days before the grilling. A combination of dried spices and fresh herbs are often used. One trick is to use chopped parsley with dry rub ingredients to smooth the application and make the dish a bit more moist and flavorful after grilling.

Marinades use liquids to bolster the flavor - everything from citrus juices and soy or barbecue sauces to oils, fish sauce and/or vinegars. These sauces and juices and other liquids used can further create the ethnic character or simply enhance the flavor of the dish.

Roasted or Baked

Roasting and baking meats, fish, poultry, and vegetables often employ dried herbs and spices that stand up to the long period of cooking. Use the chart below to add the international or fusion flavors you desire. 

Fresh herbs can and should be used. As only one example, fresh rosemary not only imparts great savory flavor to its pairing in the oven, but also fills the kitchen with aromas that presage the incredible dish to be enjoyed.

Purées, Broths, and Soups

Whether you are creating mashed potatoes or pureed vegetables or squash, herbs and spices make a huge difference. Brown the garlic in the butter or oil you will add to the puree. Add flavors from the chart below by either adding to the butter or oil or fresh to the dish before mashing or pureeing. Blended soups follow the same pattern with the addition of spices and herbs that sometimes should be removed before bending such as bouquet garni or bay leaves.

Broths, which you want to be clear after preparation most often require that the herbs and spices be removed. In making a bone broth, such as for pho as an example, star anise and cinnamon among other spices are added during the  simmer and removed before it is finished. 

Sauces, Dressings, Dips, and Spreads

The first thing to decide for this method of delivering the herb or spice flavor is the medium. If you start with one of the five french mother sauces and then add your herb or spice, there is likely a name for the resulting sauce you just created. As an example, add tarragon and a few other items to hollandaise sauce and you have created Sauce Bearnaise. Our blog, linked above, has many of those variations listed. Other mediums include (and are certainly not limited to) sour cream, buttermilk (think green goddess dressing), yogurt, aioli, cream cheese, and oil and vinegar.


Maybe the simplest method - adding a sprig of parsley, cilantro, or rosemary, a basil leaf, a pinch of thyme or, better yet, microgreens of your favorite herb or edible flowers and blossoms It is also accomplished with a dash of cinnamon or nutmeg, or a sprinkle of paprika. The pairing flavor and or color is added at the end when the food is plated.



 To-Table's Definitive Herb and Spice Chart

 Herb or Spice Health Attributes How Used Comments
Allspice Allspice can relieve gas, bloating, and stomach upset. Its eugenol may ease diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, bloating, gas, and even constipation.  Caribbean jerk seasoning, Middle Eastern cuisine (stews and meat dishes) and Arabic cuisine where it may be the sole spice. Used in Cakes, pies and cookies as well. Similar to cloves but more pungent and deeply flavored.
Basil Anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial. Prized for its curative properties of kidney problems. Use fresh only. Popular as an Italian seasoning in pasta, pesto, with berries and on meats. And Green goddess! Thai basil has a stronger Anise flavor used in Asian cooking like green curry and pho. Always add at the end of cooking for the full flavor. But using sweet basil in rubs and marinades for meats and fowl works well. Thai basil holds up well to high heat cooking. The most commonly used herb in the U.S.
Bay Leaf A rich source of vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, potassium, calcium, and magnesium. They have been proven to be useful in the treatment of migraines. Skeptics believe Bay Leaves really have no flavor. The 5-year-old leaves in your cabinet probably have little, but heavy sauces benefit from the peppery mint flavor and subtly cut the heaviness down to size.  When infused into any cooking liquid, an almost minty flavor (somewhere between spearmint and menthol) develops adding a subtle bitterness that keeps heavy soups and stews from being so, well, heavy.
Cardamon Antioxidant and diuretic properties may lower blood pressure, may contain cancer-fighting compounds, may help with digestive problems, including ulcers. It may also treat bad breath and prevent cavities.  Cardamon is the main component of chai spice blend. Cardamom has a strong, sweet, pungent flavor and aroma, with hints of lemon and mint. Black cardamom has a smoky note and a cooling menthol one as well. It matches well with cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves in autumn-spiced recipes and in Indian spice mixtures, such as garam masala. Drinks from mulled wine to hot cider to eggnog will benefit from an unexpected hint of cardamom.  A spice made from the seed pods of various plants in the ginger family. White cardamom is a bleached version of green cardamom and used most often in Nordic and Middle Eastern cuisine. Indian and Asian recipes will often specify whether green or black cardamom is used.
Cayenne Pepper May be a pain reliever & may reduce cholesterol Some like it hot. Main ingredient in many chili powders.  Flavors increase in intensity upon cooking
Red Pepper Flakes May be a pain reliever & may reduce cholesterol Flakes can cut through and highlight the rich flavors of grilled and roasted meats as well as pastas, pizza and Asian foods Primary ingredient is dried cayenne peppers 
Jalapeños Research suggests that jalapeños and other spicy peppers may promote weight loss by boosting metabolism, increasing fat burn and reducing appetite. Most do not consider jalapeños an herb or spice. But if adding heat and flavor to a dish is required, finely chopped jalapeños are an excellent alternative to dried chilis or peppers. A teaspoon or two of finely chopped jalapeños to sauces,

sautées, marinades or the like add a kick in heat and flavor without overpowering.

Cajun Seasoning Blend of black pepper, paprika, cumin, cayenne pepper and thyme. Bell peppers, onions, celery, carrots, poultry, shellfish, meats, and dry rub. Spicy and Earthy flavors
Caraway Seed The natural probiotic effect also helps rebuild healthy intestinal flora. Soda Bread, sauerkraut and potato salads. Flavor tends to anise. Caraway pudding is a popular dessert during Ramadan.
Cinnamon May lower blood sugar in people with diabetes may reduce inflammation, have antioxidant effects, and fight bacteria. Additionally, cinnamon may improve some key risk factors for heart disease, including cholesterol, triglycerides and blood pressure. Both a sweet and savory spice. The stick is often used in Mexican and Asian broths, chilis, curries and stews. Great as aromatic in baked goods and coffee drinks. French Toast! Both a sweet and savory spice. The cinnamon stick is best used in applications of sauces while ground cinnamon delivers aromas and bittersweet flavors accenting sweetness.
Cloves Cloves have many potential health benefits, including keeping blood sugar in check and helping block the growth of bacteria. Used in Asian, African and Middle Eastern cuisine to flavor meats, curries and marinades. Often used in baking hams A sweet-tasting spice with slight heat and warming effects. Addictively used in cigarettes in Indonesia
Cilantro Source of fiber, iron, and disease-fighting phytonutrients. One either loves or hates cilantro. It pops up in the cuisines of India, Mexico, and Vietnam in dishes like dhania chutney, salsa, and pho. From the same plant as coriander seeds, cilantro has a slightly citrusy taste. In fact, Asian and Mexican cuisine often combine it with lime and lemon in sauces, salsa, and marinades.
Coriander Seeds May help control blood sugar, cholesterol, and free radical production Same plant as Cilantro. Used in soups, with fish and with smoked meats Coriander blends well with cumin.
Cumin Using cumin as a spice increases antioxidant intake, promotes digestion, provides iron, may improve blood sugar control and may reduce food-borne illnesses. Used in Southwest (US) cuisines, Mexican, North African, Middle Eastern and Indian recipes. For Savory recipes like chili, stews, some meats (lamb, goat, as examples) fish and vegetables
Chili Powder Blend of Ancho chili, paprika, cumin, and oregano Corn, tomato, cauliflower, green beans, squash, beans, poultry, meat, fish, soups, sauces, dressings, rubs, and marinades. Spicy and smokey flavors
Chinese Five Spice Blend of Cassia, clove, fennel, star anise, and Szechuan peppercorns. Bell peppers, broccoli, carrots, celery, mushrooms, meats, tofu, poultry, stir fry, rubs, marinades, and rice Warm, sweet and bitter flavors
Chives They contain not only vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C and calcium, but also other antioxidants and compounds that can help fight cancer and improve heart health Good in sauces with heavy flavors like blue cheese and a favorite pairing with potatoes or as any kind of garnish. may replace or enhance onions or scallions. Light oniony taste cuts down the heaviness of rich foods
Curry Powder As a blend of turmeric, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, dried chilis, black pepper, fenugreek seeds, curry leaves, mustard seeds, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, nutmeg, peppercorns and bay leaves. Used to flavor soups, stews, sauces, marinades, meat, and vegetables. As the popularity of curry flavor increases, creative chefs are finding more unconventional uses for the seasoning such as hamburgers, scrambled and deviled eggs, and potato salad. Curry powder is actually a British invention, somewhat resembling garam masala, the spice mixture prevalent in North India.
Dill Contains iron and calcium. Its oils may help neutralize carcinogens. Best with salmon and also with scrabbled eggs, added in borscht or other stews, on a variety of vegetables (especially carrots and cucumbers), and mixed with yogurt. Dill is often associated with Scandinavian cuisine (especially salmon), but is very often used in pickling, with potatoes, and dips that use mayonnaise and sour cream. Greek food loves it too!
Fennel Seed Fennel seed is an effective aid to digestion. It can help the smooth muscles of the gastrointestinal system relax and reduce gas, bloating, and stomach cramps. Indian curries and masalas, Chinese Five Spice, and  Italian sausage and marinara. Fennel seed has a sweet taste similar to licorice. Used to flavor gin and absinthe.
Fenugreek Based on the available evidence, fenugreek has benefits for lowering blood sugar levels, boosting testosterone, and increasing milk production in breastfeeding mothers. The powdered seed smells of maple and butterscotch and in Indian cuisine is toasted in hot oil to further enhance the flavor. In southern India, it is added to fish curries and also used in sambar (vegetable lentil stew). Fenugreek seeds and powder are also used in many Indian dishes for their nutritional profile and slightly sweet, nutty taste.
Galangal Galangal may have medicinal benefits for arthritis, digestive distress, high blood sugar, heart health and respiratory ailments. Used in Indonesia, Indochina, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand fo shellfish, fish, and curries, sauces, soups and satays. Similar in look to ginger, galangal has a sharp citrusy, almost piney flavor
Garam Masala Blend of Cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, cardamom, mace, pepper, coriander, turmeric, and cumin Curries, rice, marinades, dressings, stir fry, beans, lentils, meats, poultry, potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, green beans and squash Warm, sweet and bitter flavors
Garlic Hippocrates prescribed garlic to treat a variety of medical conditions of which modern science has confirmed many of the beneficial health effects. These include: Lower blood pressure, lessening severity of the flu and common cold, improving LDL cholesterol levels, reducing heavy metal toxicity, and improving bone health. The uses of garlic are so limitless that it is often the spice named if only one is allowed. Crushed garlic cloves taste stronger, whereas sliced or coarsely chopped garlic cloves taste milder. Roasting garlic mellows the pungency of the bulb and releases the sugars, giving it a rich caramel flavor. To get the most health benefits from garlic, always choose fresh over bottled.
Ginger Ginger is one of the very few "superfoods" actually worthy of that term. The active ingredient, gingerol fights infections, lowers LDL Cholesterol, reduces menstrual pain, treats chronic indigestion, lowers blood sugars, reduces joint and muscle pain, and delivers strong anti-cancer benefits. Used in teas, sauces for meats, fish and poultry. In Asian, European and fusion dishes, ginger delivers a spicy sweetness that accentuates the flavors of meats, poultry, shellfish and fish. Soups, curries and broths benefit. Fresh ginger can be sliced, chopped or grated to deliver sweet and spicy hot flavor. A spice that takes the ordinary to something much more sublime.
Herbs de Provence Blend of Rosemary, marjoram, thyme, oregano, sage and tarragon Onions, potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini, poultry meats, fish, soups rubs, marinades, dressings Earthy flavors
Kaffir Lime Leaves Thought to reduce stress, cure bad breath, provide anti-inflammatory benefits, and promote healthy skin and hair. Thai and Southeast-Asian soups, curries, and stir-fry. One package of fresh lime leaves will last you a year or longer, and they freeze well. 
Lemongrass Promotes good digestion, reduces perspiration, to cool the body and reduce a fever, and a well-known mild insect repellent (citronella) and is considered a diuretic, tonic and stimulant.  Used in savory dishes and meat, poultry, seafood and vegetable curries with coconut milk, especially with chicken or seafood. Asian and Indian cooking. The lower portion is sliced or pounded and used in cooking. Fresh lemongrass is preferred.
Marjoram Consumed in large amounts marjoram can significantly boost your micronutrient intake and provide health benefits. But you are not likely to consume enough marjoram to take advantage of them. The Mexican equivalent to the French bouquet garni is marjoram, thyme, and oregano. also use in tomato sauce, white bean salads, fish dishes and vinaigrettes. Like thyme, marjoram works well in ensembles (herbes de Provence and za'atar) and pairs nicely with meats and poultry, especially in stews. 
Mint Mint’s health benefits range from improving brain function and digestive symptoms to relieving breastfeeding pain, cold symptoms and even bad breath. Long prized for curing indigestion. Common ingredient in Thai and Vietnamese food, as well as in Middle Eastern dishes such as tabbouleh. Pairing with lamb as sauce or jelly is legendary. But parings with peas, chocolate and berries and other fruit is less well known. Don't forget the cocktails like mint juleps and mojitos. The most widely available varieties of mint are peppermint and spearmint. Peppermint has a strong, cooling aftertaste due to the high concentration of menthol; spearmint is lighter and sweeter to the palate.
Mustard Mustard seeds are excellent sources of the trace minerals selenium and magnesium, which not only help with cancer prevention, but can also manage symptoms of asthma, arthritis, high blood pressure, and migraines Meat dips and spreads, eggs, poultry, dressings for greens, vegetables and potatoes and rice, and marinades and chilies. A spice that elevates the flavor of the foods it pairs with. A little give a slight kick and a lot delivers a potent punch.
Nutmeg Nutmeg contains powerful anti-inflammatory plant compounds that act as antioxidants. These may improve mood, blood sugar control, and heart health. Sweet Indian dishes and savory Middle Eastern ones. Used with potatoes, eggs (think quiche) and meats in Europe along with soups, sauces and baking. Sweet yet pungent, it is good in baked goods, but can also be used to add a warm note to sauces and savory dishes
Oregano High in antioxidants and may help fight off bacteria and viruses, potentially reduce the growth of cancer cells and help alleviate inflammation. Great source of Vitamin K. Mediterranean (Greek) oregano is typically milder than Mexican oregano. Used in pizza and pasta seasoning and different chilies. Mediterranean (Greek) oregano is typically milder than Mexican oregano. Often mistaken for marjoram - difference in taste is oregano is mostly spicy while marjoram is lemony sweet
Paprika May help prevent inflammation and improve your cholesterol, eye health, and blood sugar levels, among other benefits. Seasons and colors rices, stews, soups, and some meats when used with other spices. Smoked paprika is essential to paella. Used as base of many rubs. It comes in sweet, smoked, and hot varieties, as well as a variety of colors, such as red, orange, and yellow.
Parsley Parsley is a versatile herb that provides a concentrated source of nutrients. It’s particularly rich in vitamins A, C, and K. The vitamins and beneficial plant compounds in parsley may improve bone health, protect against chronic diseases, and provide antioxidant benefits. In French and Italian cooking, many a stock, stew, and soup calls for bouquet garni flavored by this herb. Its clean, light flavor cuts down on heavy creaminess and also acts as a palate-cleanser. Also used in pasta and egg recipes. Saute until crisp curly parsley for a wonderful side. Parsley is not just a garnish. Butter, chopped parsley and garlic is the saute sauce of the gods for seafood and many other delicacies (bread dipping too!). Flat parsley has a peppery bite whereas the curly kind is relatively bland.
Ras el Hanout Blend of Cardamon, clove, cinnamon, coriander, cumin, nutmeg, pepper, and turmeric Onions, tomato, dates, prunes, carrots, poultry, meats fish, beans, lentils, soups, rubs, and marinades. Spicy sweet flavors
Rosemary Oils in Rosemary deliver antioxidant, antimicrobial, and anticancer effects. Acids protect the lungs and fight Alzheimer's and other compounds show antioxidant effects, and protect the liver. It is thought to improve moods and help hair growth. Italian cooking in Tuscan favorites such as flatbread and chicken cacciatore. Pairs well with potatoes. Our favorite pairing is lamb. Sprigs of rosemary in a roast or with roasted potatoes not only impart great flavor but fill the kitchen with alluring aromas.
Sage Sage is high in antioxidants and may help support oral health, aid brain function and lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Sage is also used as a natural cleaning agent, pesticide and ritual object in spiritual sage burning or smudging. Pair with foods traditionally considered heavy, rich, and creamy, like meats (sausage, fowl and pork), and certain dairy products such as cheese and cream. A great addition to mashed potatoes and other purees. Taste ranges from mild to slightly peppery with some touches of mint. Unlike more delicate herbs, sage can be added in the beginning of the cooking process.
Saffron Saffron has been linked to health benefits, such as improved mood, libido, and sexual function, as well as reduced PMS symptoms and enhanced weight loss. Widely used in Persian, Indian, European and Arab cuisines. It is the most expensive spice in the world due to need to harvest by hand. Saffron has subtle but distinct floral flavor and aroma and delivers a bright yellow color.
Savory Savory has been documented as a treatment for nausea, diarrhea, and intestinal problems. Sources have also listed savory as a treatment for muscle cramps and indigestion. European cuisines such as beans, meat, and poultry or soups and stews that contain meat or poultry and/or beans. Two varieties of savory: winter savory and summer savory each with a peppery flavor, although winter savory is more pungent and stronger flavored
Sesame Seed Lignans, present in sesame seeds, have been shown to have a cholesterol-lowering effect, to prevent high blood pressure and protect the liver from oxidative damage. Sesame seeds add a nutty taste and a delicate, almost invisible, crunch to many Asian dishes. The main ingredient in tahini. The oil, which is resistant to rancidity, is a staple flavor for Asian foods.
Star Anise Helps improve digestion, alleviate cramps and reduce nausea, treats cough and flu, and aids in digestion. Whole star anise can be used to add sweet licorice flavor to sauces an soups. Also used in Chinese and Indian recipes for biryanis, chicken, seafood and other vegetarian dishes. If you make your own pho, it is an essential ingredient. An ingredient of Chai
Tarragon Tarragon has many impressive health benefits, including the potential to reduce blood sugar, inflammation and pain, while improving sleep, appetite and heart health. Believed to help with snake bites. Dried tarragon on steaks and roasts along with garlic salt and red pepper flakes are a staple. Tomato sauces and soups thrill with its flavor. Once considered the king of herbs in French cuisine. Tarragon is an essential ingredient in the classic béarnaise sauce. Its delicate anise flavor (like licorice and fennel) that is more sweet than strong. 
Thyme Thyme is an herb from the mint family. Ancient Egyptians used it in their embalming practices, while ancient Greeks used it as incense. Thyme may lower blood pressure,boost immunity, solve bad breath, and boost one's mood. Middle Eastern cooking as za'atar along with oregano and marjoram. French cooking as bouquet garni next to parsley and bay leaf in broths, soups and stews. Stripped from the stem, the leaves are a subtle addition to vegetables like carrots and meats, white fish and poultry. Add to cheese sauces. Thyme is a major ingredient in the classic French flavoring herbes de Provence and works best in tandem with other herbs and spices such as basil, sage, and lavender.
Turmeric The curcumin found in turmeric has both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Curcumin also protects against heart disease and may prevent certain cancers.  Used in place of saffron to save money. Turmeric is commonly used more for its yellow color than for its flavor.
Za'atar Blend of Thyme, sesame seeds, and sumac Eggplant, sweet potatoes, squash, onions, carrots, poultry, meats, fish, rubs, and bread dips. Bitter and warm flavors

1 comment

  • I just discovered your herbs & spices guide—It’s amazing! I have long enjoyed the flavors of many herbs & spices in the numerous cuisines I love, but I am not always sure which go with which foods in my cooking. Your guide will definitely help me with that. Thank you So Much!! Happy Cooking!

    Kathy R.

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