Spice it Up! A short guide to using herbs and spices for cooking!

Add some unexpected flavors to your everyday dishes with just a sprinkle of fresh spices and herbs! Spices and herbs have the power to transform your dish from a dull, boring experience to something truly brilliant. Just remember not to overdo it.

Herbs and spices should be used to enhance the natural flavour of food, not to diguise or obscure it. So be selective in whatever spice and herb combinations you choose and avoid using too much at one time.

So what is the definition of a herb? Herbs are plants that don’t have a woody stem and die at the end of each growing season. Struggling for examples? Think of parsley, thyme, basil, dill, oregano, rosemary, chives, marjoram, sage and so on…

Herbs can be used fresh or dried. As dried herbs are generally more concentrated then fresh you will need to use less. Typically 1/3 of the amount of fresh (1 tablespoon for 1 teaspoon) is sufficient.

“A herb is the friend of physicians and the praise of the cooks.” –Charlemagne

Spice it Up! A short guide to using herbs and spices for cooking!
Spice it Up! A short guide to using herbs and spices for cooking!

Did you know? The reason for Columbus voyage in 1942 was to seek a more direct passage to the rich spices of the Orient.

What about spices? Spices usually originate from the aromatic part of a tropical plant, be that the bark, root, buds, seeds, berry or the fruit itself.

Did you know? Spices help to reduce sodium in cooking as they enhance the flavor of the food.

Flavorful food combinations

We have compiled a list of our most favorite spice combinations to get you started. Remember this is only a guide and always experiment to discover new flavors that would perfectly complement your ideal dish!

  • Chicken: Oregano, paprika, curry powder, rosemary, sage, ginger, manjoram, thyme
  • Beef: Onion, bay leaf, nutmeg, thyme, tarragon, pepper
  • Pork: Garlic, onion, sage, oregano, pepper, rosemary
  • Lamb: Cumin, curry, rosemary, garlic, mint
  • Veal: Bay leaf, oregano, thyme, cloves, peppercorns
  • Fish: Dill, curry powder, marjoram, dry mustard, pepper

And don’t forget: Add the more delicate fresh herbs, like basil, parsley, dill and mint at the end as prolonged exposure to heat can cause the to loose their flavor.

As a rule of thumb, store herbs and ground spices for at most for one year with whole spices for up to 2 years. To maintain maximum quality for your herbs and spices store them in airtight containers in a dark place. A  drawer or a cupboard are ideal!  And remember to avoid moisture and heat!

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  1. pierre rouillard

    umm in our house we always used tarragon on chicken on top under the skin…in the cavity. in a sauce for chicken…always good!

  2. What a great pointer for experimentation!
    The herb definition is a bit iffy though – it excludes half of the examples given 🙂

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