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Our Herb & Spice Guide

January 3, 2019

 

 

We hope you all had a great start to 2019!  We know we did!!  One of our goals for the year is to bring you new informative, educational content that will help you in your culinary adventures everyday.  We're starting off with the beginning of our Herb & Spice Guide.  This is a working document for us that we will be updating each time we teach a spice class.  That way you will always have a handy reference to follow when you see new herbs and spices in our recipes that you may not be familiar with.  We hope you find this as a useful tool and we'll also be updating and improving it as we go along. Don't forget to read to the bottom for some great spice blends that you can make right at home.  Happy New Year!!

 

Herb & Spice Guide

 

Allspice (Pimenta): Nope, it’s not all the spiced mixed together! Allspice is the dried, unripe fruit of the Pimenta tree.  It’s commonly called allspice because the flavor tastes of cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg.  The Spanish deemed it pimenta because they often confused it with peppercorns.

Amchur (Dried Mango Powder):  Made of dried, green mangoes, amchur adds a citrusy, tart flavor with no sweetness.  It is commonly used in Indian cooking to add flavor to curry, chutney, soups and marinades.

Chili Powder, Ancho:  Made from dried ancho chiles, this chili powder is moderately spicy and fruity.  This is a pure ground pepper and not chili powder. 

Chili Powder, Chipotle:  This chili powder is made of dried, smoked jalapenos.  It is spicy with a smoky, sweet flavor.  This is a pure ground pepper and not chili powder. 

Cardamom:  Cardamom is the 2nd most expensive spice in the world.  Made from a seed pod, it is pungent and aromatic.  Over-used it can have a mouth numbing effect.  We consider it a warm spice and commonly use it in Indian cooking and Scandinavian baked goods.

Cassia:  Cinnamon’s cousin, cassia is often called Chinese Cinnamon.  It comes from the bark of an evergreen tree grown in Asia where the bark is often used in place of cinnamon.  It has a very similar, but milder flavor as cinnamon.

Chili de Arbol:  The Chile de árbol is a small and potent Mexican chili pepper also known as bird's beak chile and rat's tail chile. Their heat index is between 15,000 - 30,000 Scoville units, making them a “hot” pepper. The peppers start out green and turn a bright red color as they mature.

Cinnamon: Cinnamon is the inner bark found in several different tree species.  It is removed and used whole or ground as a flavoring in the warm spice category.  Many prefer using Vietnamese Cinnamon due to it’s innate sweetness and high oil content.

Cloves:  Cloves are a dried flower bud or an evergreen, native to Indonesia.  Another one of our warm spices, it is often used in baking.  However, it also has many savory applications in cooking in Asia, Africa and the Middle-East.  This spice can be used either ground or whole (remove if left whole).

Coriander: Coriander is the seed pod of the Cilantro plant.  It has a lemony flavor also often referred to as warm, nutty & spicy.

Crushed Red Pepper:  Commonly made of cayenne pepper, crushed red pepper is a ubiquitous spice.  It is made of dried and crushed peppers with the seeds left in.  The variation in peppers across brands and bottles will impact the overall spice level of the pepper.

Cumin:  Cumin seeds are the seed of a flowering plant in the parsley family.  Commonly used around the world, we see it here often in Southwestern and Mexican recipes.  Cumin has a very distinctive flavor with an earthy, nutty, spicy taste with somewhat bitter undertones and a warm, penetrating aroma with hints of lemon.

Cumin, Black:  Black caraway or black cumin is also called kalonji or nigella, and more common in the Far East, Mideast, Bangladesh, India and Africa.  The flavor profile differs from cumin with an almost perfumey floral flavor.

Fenugreek Seeds (Methi):  Fenugreek seeds come from the fenugreek plant.  Both seeds and dried leaves are commonly used in cooking.  It has a slightly sweet and nutty flavor with hints of maple and celery.

Garlic Powder:  Made of dried and ground garlic, garlic powder is best used in applications where you are making a shelf stable dry spice or want to avoid the texture of garlic in your dish.

Ginger, Dry:  Made from the dried root of a ginger plant.  Ginger is a rhizome that has many health benefits.  Spicy, sweet and fresh.  This root is great in both baking and savory application.  Dry Ginger is best used in applications where you are making a shelf stable dry spice or want to avoid the texture of garlic in your dish

Gojujaru:  A Korean pepper that brings the base flavor of pepper without heat, this spice is wonderful for adding deep and rich flavors to any dish, not just Korean food. 

Grains of Paradise:  A species in the ginger family, grains of paradise are closely related to cardamom. It’s seeds are used as a spice (ground or whole), and commonly known as grains of paradise, melegueta pepper, alligator pepper, Guinea grains, ossame, or fom wisa; it imparts a pungent, black-pepper-like flavor with hints of citrus.

Oregano:  Dried leaves of the oregano plant, this is considered an herb and in common in cooking around the world.  It comes from a flowering plant in the mint family and has a aromatic, musty, pungent flavor.

Paprika, Smoked:  Paprika is made from a dried sweet or bell pepper.  Having no heat, this pepper powder brings a base layer of flavor to almost any dish.  It can be found in many forms such as sweet, Hungarian and smoked.

Peppercorns, Black:  The fruit of a flowering vine, peppercorns bring spice, heat and a pungent flavor used in all cooking, most commonly paired together with salt.

Sesame Seed:  The seed of a flowering plant, sesame is the one of the oldest oilseed plants known to man.  It has a rich, nutty flavor and high oil content.

Sumac:  Sumac comes from the fruit of a tree and has a lemony, citrusy flavor.  Very common in African and Middle-Eastern cooking, sumac was also often used by Native Americans.  The red sumac can be eaten, while the white sumac is poisionous.

Thyme:  An herb from a flowering plant, thyme is best associated with French cooking, but has been used around the world for thousands of years.  It has a very herbaceous flavor with a hint of mint.

Turmeric: Turmeric is best known for it’s use as a coloring agent.  It’s bright yellow hue is often used to color cheese, dry fabrics and it’s even used in folk medicine.  This rhizome is slightly bitter with a black-pepper flavor.  It can be bitter if overused, but is a great anti-inflammatory as well as a natural anti-biotic.

 

Gather Spice Blend Recipes (Click to see the recipe!):

 

Taco Seasoning

Curry Powder

Berbere

Dry Ranch Seasoning

 

 

 

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