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Herb and Spice Guide

I hope it will make you a better cook.

This is a listing of many but not all of the popular herbs and spices used in culinary preparations. Use this as a guide to seasoning and a quick reference for plant information. For the chef who is also a gardener, much joy and the reward of having "fresh" ingredients to cook with can be attained by having a garden growing with some of your favorites. An herb garden can very easily be grown in several flower pots on a window sill as easily as it can in the expanse of a country garden.

All meats means beef, chicken, pork, veal, duck, goose, etc.

Allspice pimenta tree cakes, cookies, stews of beef, pork and game dried seeds
Angelica angelica archangelica annual confectioneries candied stems
Anise pimpinella anisum annual soups, sauces, cookies(licorice flavor) use mostly the seeds dried seeds
Annatto bixa orellana tree sauces, coloring foods, especially cheese dried seeds
Balm, Lemon melissa officinalis perennial tea, drinks, salads, fish, chicken fresh, dried
Basil ocimum baslicum annual breads, pasta, salads, all meats, vegetables, eggs fresh, dried, frozen
Basil, Lemon ocimum citriodora annual breads, pasta, salads, all meats, vegetables, eggs fresh, dried, frozen
Basil, Ruffled ocimum crispum annual breads, pasta, salads, all meats, vegetables, eggs fresh, dried, frozen
Bay Leaf laurus nobilis perennial soups, stews, sauces, rice dishes (evergreen tree) fresh, dried, frozen
Borage borage officinalis annual salads, soups, drinks (cucumber like flavor) blossoms as garnish fresh
Burnet sanguisorba minor perennial cool flavor similar to a cucumber, salads and drinks fresh
Chamomile anthemis nobilis perennial tea, sauces fresh & dried
Camphor Tree cinnamomum camphora tree tea, bark used for smoking foods, (camphor smoked duck) in Chinese cuisine dried
Capers unopened buds of the caper bush bush sauces, cold roast meat, condiment, smoked seafood fresh, dried, pickled
Caraway carum carvi bi-annual salads, soups, sauces, stews, roasts, breads, kummel and aquavit liqueur (used seeds and fresh green leaves) usually not with fish fresh & dried
Cardamom elettaria cardamomum perennial other spice blends, cookies, coffee, candies, (use seeds) dried
Catnip nepeta cataria perennial tea fresh & dried
Cayenne capsicum minimum annual all dishes, a dried powder of ground hot peppers dried
Celery apium graveolens dulce annual vegetable, salads, soups, sauces, roasts, stews, all meats and fish fresh & canned
Celery Seed apium graveolens annual seeds taste like fresh celery, does not come from regular celery but from cultivated "wild celery" soups, sauces, dressings dried
Chervil anthriscus cerefolium annual slight licorice flavor; salads, soups, fish dishes fresh & dried
Chili Powder spice blend a blend of dried ancho chile, oregano, cumin, and cloves or allspice; soups, salads, all meats, fish, vegetables, eggs, cheese, sauces dried
Chives allium schoenoprasum bulb soups, salads, meats, fish, condiments, eggs, cheese, blossoms as a garnish fresh, dried, freeze-dried
Chives, Garlic allium tuberosom bulb soups, salads, meats, fish, condiments, eggs, cheese, blossoms as a garnish, (stronger in flavor than regular chives) fresh & dried
Cicely. Sweet myrrhis odorata perennial licorice taste, salads, liqueurs (use seeds and leaves), desserts fresh & dried
Cilantro, Chinese Parsley, Fresh Coriander coriandrum sativum annual soups, chutney, fish, chicken, used in curry, Middle Eastern, Spanish, Southwestern, and Oriental cooking fresh & dried
Cinnamon cinnamomum cassia tree baking, stews, other spice blends, court bouillon, pickling, chutney, relishes (powdered or sticks), drinks (spiced cider) dried and sticks
Clary salvia sclarea bi-annual type of sage, salads, fritters, beer, eggs, stuffing fresh & dried
Clove eugenia caryophyllata tree baking, desserts, sauces, soups, stews, meats, court bouillon, pickles, spice blends, (unopened bud of the evergreen clove tree) dried
Coriander coriandrum sativum annual salads, sauces, fish dishes, chicken dishes, oriental, South western, Spanish and middle eastern cuisine fresh & dried
Costmary chrysanthemum balsamita perennial teas; camphor, mint-like fragrance, poultry, baking fresh & dried
Crocus, Saffron crocus sativus perennial soups, sauces, fish and chicken dishes dried
Cumin cuminum cyminum annual other spice blends, (dried seeds) dried
Curry Powder spice blend a blend of cloves, cinnamon, cumin, turmeric, cardamom, fenugreek, coriander, mace, white pepper dried
Dandelion taraxacum officinale perennial salads, wine, cooked as a vegetable fresh
Dill anethum graveolens annual salads, sauces, soups, pickles, dips, use with fish and vegetables fresh & dried
Dill Seed anethum graveolens annual use like dill leaves, the blossoms may be used as a garnish fresh & dried
Fennel Flower nigella sativa annual desserts, fritters, garnish fresh
Fennel Seeds foeniculum vulgare annual sauces, sausage, pork roasts dried
Fennel, Common foeniculum vulgare annual soups, salads, sauces, (seeds are used most often, see above) fresh
Fennel, Italian foeniculum vulgare piperitum annual salads fresh
Fennel, Sweet foeniculum vulgare dulce annual seeds used in sauces, soups, pasta (cooked vegetable) dried
Fenugreek trigonella foenumgraecum annual member of the pea family, burnt sugar taste, used in spice blends, curry powder, pickling spice, chutney dried
Fil sassafras tree powdered leaves used to thicken gumbo's dried
Garlic allium sativum bulb used in everything except desserts fresh, dried, frozen, pickled
Geraniums Rose pelargonium graveolens perennial desserts, jellies, oils (leaves have a rose-like aroma) leaves as a garnish fresh
Ginger zingiber officinale root baking, desserts, soups, salads, vegetables, meats, poultry, fish; just about everything fresh, dried, preserved, powdered
Ginger, Wild asarum canadense root grows throughout the Northeast, not as flavorful as cultivated ginger, leaves are different as well fresh
Horehound marrubium vulgare perennial tea, candy, in beer makes horehound ale fresh & dried
Horseradish armoracia apathifolia root sauces, salads, sandwiches, condiment fresh & dried
Hyssop hyssopus officinalis perennial liqueurs, ice cream; tarragon/rosemary/mint-like flavor, fish, duck fresh
Juniper Berries juniperus communis tree flavoring of gin, sauces, stews, fish; particularly gravlax fresh & dried
Lavender lavandula officinalis perennial soups, baking, vegetables, oils fresh & dried
Leek allium porrum perennial soups, sauces, vegetables, roasts, fish, chicken, veal, beef fresh
Lemon Verbena lippia citriodora perennial tea, fruit salads, jelly fresh & dried
Lovage levisticum officinale perennial used as a confectionery like angelica (root may be powdered) fresh & dried
Mace myristica fragrans tree the outer web of the nutmeg berry, soups, sauces, stews, spice blends, desserts, vegetables dried
Marigold, Pot calendula officinalis annual leaves can be eaten in salads and flowers as a garnish, also edible. Adds a yellow color to cooked foods fresh & dried
Marjoram, Pot majorana onites perennial fresh leaves in salads soups, sauces, dried in chicken and beef dishes, sometimes fish, eggs fresh & dried
Marjoram, Sweet majorana hortensis perennial has a slightly sweeter aroma than the pot variety fresh & dried
Mint, Apple mentha gentilis perennial sauces, teas, jellies, candies, drinks, fresh & dried
Mint, Corsican mentha requieni perennial sauces, teas, jellies, candies, drinks, (a creeping mint, almost moss-like) fresh & dried
Mint, Orange or Lemon mentha citrata perennial sauces, teas, jellies, candies, drinks, (a.k.a. Bergamot mint) fresh & dried
Mint, Peppermint mentha piperita perennial sauces, teas, jellies, candies, drinks, fresh & dried
Mint, Pineapple mentha variegata perennial sauces, teas, jellies, candies, drinks, fresh & dried
Mint, Spearmint mentha spicata perennial sauces, teas, jellies, candies, drinks, fresh & dried
MSG from glutamic acid flavor enhancer powder
Mustard, Black brassica nigra annual sauces, eggs, roasts, vegetables, pickles, (use seeds) fresh & dried
Mustard, White brassica alba annual leaves in soup, (use seeds) fresh & dried
Nasturtium tropaeolum majus annual watercress -like flavor, salads and leaves and blossoms as a garnish fresh
Nutmeg myristica fragrans tree desserts, spice blends, sauces, pasta, vegetables, potatoes, relishes, (use grated) dried
Onion allium cepa bulb use in everything except desserts fresh, dried, frozen
Orange Blossoms citrus sinensis tree flavors water then used in desserts and sauces, petals in salads, eggs and garnish fresh
Oregano origanum vulgare annual soups, sauces, stews, roasts, meat, fish, pasta, breads, eggs (blossoms as a garnish) fresh & dried
Paprika, Hot capsicum frutescens annual soups, sauces, stews, meats, fish, vegetables dried
Paprika, Sweet capsicum annuum annual soups, sauces, stews, meats, fish, vegetables dried
Parsley, Curly petroselinum crispum bi-annual salads, soups, stews all meats and fish fresh & dried
Parsley, Italian petroselinum crispum neapolitanum bi-annual salads, soups, stews all meats and fish fresh
Pennyroyal mentha pulegium perennial teas, (peppermint-like scent) use caution as it may be poisonous to some people fresh
Pepper Flakes capsicum frutescens annual soups, sauces, stews, meats, fish, vegetables, pasta, pizza dried
Pepper, Black piper nigrum bush all foods except dessert, maybe black pepper ice cream dried
Pepper, White piper nigrum bush all foods except dessert, maybe black pepper ice cream, (white pepper comes from the same berry with the outer coating of the berry removed) dried
Poppy Seeds papaver somniferum perennial breads, pastry, desserts, vegetables dried
Pot Marigold calendula officinalis annual salads fresh
Pumpkin, Seeds cucurbitaceae annual sauces, condiment, garnish, bread dried
Rocambole allium scorodoprasum perennial soups, sauces, roasts, stews, all meats, fish, game fresh
Rocket eruca sativa annual salads, fresh sauces fresh
Rose rosa perennial jams, jellies, desserts, tea as rose hip tea (petals as a garnish) rose water; chicken, eggs, sauces, game fresh & dried
Rose Geranium pelargonium graeolens annual teas, desserts fresh
Rosemary rosmarinus officinalis perennial roasts, stews, all meats, some fish, breads, sauces, oils fresh & dried
Rue ruta graveolens perennial musty taste, use with caution as some people may be sensitive and develop a rash or blisters (used in tea sandwiches), soups, chicken, eggs, vegetables fresh
Sage salvia officinalis perennial most dishes, bread (fried as a garnish) fresh & dried
Savory, Summer satureia hortensis annual soups, meats, fish, cheese, eggs, sauces fresh & dried
Savory, Winter satreia montana perennial soups, meats, fish, cheese, eggs, sauces fresh & dried
Scallions allium cepa annual use like onions or chives dried
Sesame sesamum indicum annual sauces, oil, desserts, baking, meats, fish, candy dried
Sesame, Black sesamum nigrum annual sauces, oil, desserts, baking, meats, fish, candy dried
Shallot allium ascalonicum perennial use like onions, has a fuller richer flavor; pickles, sauces, condiments as additional use fresh & dried
Sorrel rumex scutatus perennial sour lemon-like flavor use in salads, sauces; particularly good with fish fresh
Southernwood artemisia abrotanum perennial teas fresh
Sumac rhus coriaria tree salad dressing, marinades, sauces dried
Tansy tanacetum vulgare perennial flowers as a garnish, yet may be poisonous to young children fresh
Tarragon artemisia dracunculus perennial salads, soups, sauces, desserts, fish, chicken, veal,, butters, vinegar; even tarragon ice cream fresh & dried
Thyme, Common thymus vulgaris perennial soups, sauces, roasts, stews, meats, fish, vegetables, game fresh & dried
Thyme, Lemon thymus citriodorus perennial soups, sauces, roasts, stews, meats, fish, vegetables, game, even lemon thyme jelly fresh & dried
Thyme, Orange thymus fragrantissimus perennial soups, sauces, roasts, stews, meats, fish, vegetables, game fresh & dried
Tumeric curcuma domestica root spice blends, sauces, dressings, pickles, fish, poultry, eggs (looks like ginger root) dried
Vanilla vanilla planifolia bulb an orchid; baked goods, ice cream, candy, sauces , desserts, sometimes fish like lobster in vanilla sauce dried & extract
Violet, Sweet viola odorata perennial salads, candy fresh
Watercress nasturtium officinale annual salad, cooked as a vegetable, sauces, cheese, eggs fresh
Wintergreen gaultheria procumbens bush wintergreen oil, candies, gum, soft drinks; (birch beer) fresh & bark
Woodruff asperula odorata perennial used to flavor German May-wine and other drinks fresh & dried
Wormwood artemisia absinthium perennial most famous as an ingredient of the liqueur absinthe fresh & dried

Think of this---! When you combine colors such as yellow and green you get you get blue, likewise it is bright, clean and well balanced. If you blend yellow, green, red, blue and black you get a gray purple mess. The resulting color is not pleasant to look at, it's not clean or well balanced. The same applies to seasoning foods with herbs and spices. Too many of the wrong combinations will produce a mixed bag of tastes. What was a perfect piece of fish becomes a disaster when incorrectly seasoned. '97


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Adapted from:

Adelma Grenier Simmons, Herb Gardening in Five Seasons, Middlesex, England, Penguin

Stendahl, Spicy Food, New York, Holt, Rinehart and Winston

James Edmond O'Brien, Nature's Healing Herbs, Boca Raton, Globe

Craig Claiborne, An Herb and Spice Cookbook, New York, Harper and Row

Madhur Jaffrey, Spice Kitchen, London, Pavilion Books

Norman Taylor, Herbs in the Garden, New York, Toronto, London, D. Van Nostrand Company, Inc.

M. Grieve Culinary Herbs and Condiments, New York, Dover Publications

John E. Brown & Coralie Castle, The Edible Ornamental Garden London, Pitman Publishing

Handbook on Herbs, New York, Brooklyn Botanic Garden Record

Joy Larkcom, The Salad Garden, New York, Viking Press

Woman's Day Encyclopedia of Cookery, New York, Fawcett Publications, Inc.