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Basic Herbs and Spices Used for Cooking

Updated on August 29, 2014

Basic Herbs and Spices Used for Cooking

Basic Herbs and Spices Used for Cooking. If you want your food to have flavor and aroma, try different spices and herbs. People all over the world have different selections of herbs and spice that they put as ingredients when they cook. In fact, there are hundreds of herbs and spices used for cooking or for culinary purposes. Our ancestors incorporate spices and herbs in the ir cooking, -- that what makes it more flavorful, appetizing and really adding more excitement into it, of you know what I mean, well I am talking about the spice red chili pepper which I love to put in my meal.

In this hub I am going to discuss the different herbs and spices which are mostly used. I will discussed its characteristics and their use as ingredients for cooking. The herbs and spices that are discussed are not exhaustive, these are the ones I used. There are hundreds of herbs and spices to choose from depending on your taste.

Herbs are mainly the leaves of plants found in temperate regions of the world. it makes food tastes better and It gives flavor to food.

Spices are mainly seasonings which can be procured form bark, buds, fruit or parts of flowers, roots, seeds plus stems of different trees and plants.Same with herbs it makes the food more aromatic, flavorful and a nice kick on it.


Basil (Ocimum basilicum) also under the name mints are low growing herb and is used in mostly asian cuisisnes (South East Asian) Laos, Cambodia, Thai, Vietnam. It is characterized by pungent yet sweet smeeling herbs., and at times it is mistaken for anise.

Varieties are sweet, lemon and Thai basil.

Bay leaf

Bay leaf or laurel leaf

Bay leaf or bay leaves is the nice smelling leaf which is also called laurel. This comes ionto two forms dored and fresh. It is mainly desired for its fragrance and flavor.  According to wikipedia -- "The leaves are often used to flavor soups, stews, braises and pâtés in Mediterranean cuisine. The fresh leaves are very mild and do not develop their full flavor until several weeks after picking and drying."



Oregano is considered under the mint family of herbs and it was planted first in warm-temperate regions -- mostly Eurasia and Mediterranean. It is also considered a perennial hub growing up tp 80 cms long and is also term wild marjoram.

  • It is used in Arabic countries, Italian cuisine, Greek, Turkishand the Spain, Latin Americas and the Philippines. The dried leaves are more flavorful against the fresh ones.
  • It is also used in tomatoe sauce and at times mixedwith basil
  • It gives flavor, nice and spicy and remove the smell of some foods.



Allium sativum, which commonly known as garlic. It has medicinal uses as well as it is also used for culinary purposes. The garlic bulb is what people mostly used for cooking, the parts are divided into cloves. When you have hypertension problems this is also a good cure for it, just chew on it. Incorporating it with your food as ingredients doesn't hurt. It is used for flavoring, nice taste and for marinating. It can be eaten raw or cooke,d but of course i prefer it cooked, it has a pungent smell and flavor which is spicy, but it is sweet after it is cooked. the leaves and flowers of garlic are also used for cooking raw and cooked




Ginger when they are still young are juicy and has a nice taste, I used this one for my voice -- it soothes the vocal chords. aside form that it is also generally used for cooking to remove the smell of food and give some flavor to it. This is also beneficial to health It can be pickled using vinegar, it is mixed with food. I used it in some fish to remove the smell fo it. It can be used as preservatives as well.

They can also be put to boil to make ginger tea and when added to honey or with lemon or oranges is really good ot have the singing voice.The ginger roots is also used for cooking. It is used mostly in Asia -- Japan, China for seafoods, meat and for some vegetables.

Powdered ginger which are dried (roots) are used for flavoring -- in recipes such as cookies, gingerbread, cake, ginger ale and beers and crackers among others. You removed the cover or peelings before you eat them.It can be placed in dry place and keep refrigerated.

Red chili pepper which when you pulverized the seeds will produce paprika

paprika -- red chili pepper or bell pepper

Paprika is a spice made from pulverizing the dried fruits of bell pepper or red chili pepper. "The seasoning is used in many cuisines to add color and flavor to dishes. Paprika can range from sweet (mild, not hot) to spicy (hot). Flavors also vary from country to country". It gives flavor and smell to food plus you want to eat more and more of it, it is because it is chili hot. It is rich in nutrients plus it is good for slimming down -- needs further study on this.

It is put to various food like poultry, vegetables and meat.

Onion bulb


Onions are used all over the world because of its flavorful and aroma. It is used in fresh, foods, salads, spicy foods. Ir can be eaten fresh and can be chopped and slice. It is used in main dishes. It has spicy, pungent, sweet smelling and sharp taste.

It can be used in preservatives or with vinegar or fish and chips. It can be 'pickled onions" . It is used in Iran, India, Pakistan, UK, US, Asia and like I have said all oer the world. It is also mixed with sauce with vinegar and other sauces.

Onions are used along with celery, carrots to flavor stocks, stews, stocks.

Some Notes about Herbs and Spices

There are hundreds of other more spices and herbs which are not included in this list Some of the most famous are :

Dill Weed, Coriander,Cumin, Curry powder, Mustard, Nutmeg, Rosemary, Sage, Cumin,Curry powder, Tarragon, thyme, turmeric, vanilla extract peppercorns, nutmeg, arrowroot starch

How to store your herbs and spices

Some spices and herbs can stored in cool dry place, and usually the powdered ones have longer lives and can be used as long as you read the expiration date.

Some herbs can be mixed with other spices and herbs.

Where to buy herbs and Spices :

  • All herbs and spices are available in supermarkets, fresh markets, the most popular ones, but not all. I go to Asian store here in the US for some herbs and spice I used.
  • You can also check


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    • isle spice profile image

      isle spice 6 years ago from Newark,DE 19711 USA

      Loved the photos of Basil!

    • WillSteinmetz profile image

      WillSteinmetz 6 years ago

      SO natural. I love foods with herbs.

    • Cheeky Girl profile image

      Cassandra Mantis 7 years ago from UK and Nerujenia

      Maita, you food Hubs are rapidly becoming the Best food Hubs here - I love them and why is it I get Hungry reading these? Hehehe! Loved this hub! Full of herbs and spices and all things nices! Heh! Hope you are having a great day! take care, moi friend! :D

    • profile image

      Vaughan31 7 years ago

      I loved your hub, as a chef I know how important herbs are and how easily they can compliment a meal. Great hub!!