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Herbs & Spices

Updated on May 19, 2015

Anyone who loves spending time in the kitchen, making and creating cuisines and delicious food will understand the importance of herbs and spices in the kitchen pantry. Herbs and spices are the ultimate necessity to bring that magic in the food. The tantalizing aroma of the food is all possible due to the magical mixture of herbs and spices used in cooking.

Notable poets and writers, likes of Milton, Shakespeare and other major and minor poets have praised the virtues of herbs; “rosemary ….for remembrance” and rue, “the sour herb of grace', for ages wise women have tended herbs garden for making teas and appetizers. Now days herbs are not only used in cooking but have medicinal value for the alternative treatment for common ailment.

In ancient times spices from China and India were priced commodity. The ships of spices crossed to Mediterranean and Persian Gulf ports were sold in high prices. It is said that pepper actually was the ransom given to Rome to end the siege in 408. European powers were at competition to take over the spice market around the world. Such is the value of spices till today, it's not only used as taste enhancer but has properties to cure common ailments like cold, flue, sour throat and head aches.

Given below is the list of herbs and spices which should be part of your kitchen pantry:


1.Cardomom seeds and pods have a flavor kinship with coffee. They are picked up from a bush and have aromatic distinctive flavor. It may be used in cookies, pastries, coffee cake and pickles. In South Asia its used in gravies and rice to enhance the aroma. It can be chewed as a mouth freshener.

2. Cumin seed is strong flavored, dried seeds of a small plants, its an essential part of all oriental cooking, especially meat and rice dishes. It can be used to make a cup of tea for weight management and its also considered as appetite enhancer.

3. Coriander (dry as whole and green leaves) gives great flavor in meat, rice, pickling, lentils and in Spanish dishes. Green leaves are chopped and used to garnish the dish and dry seeds are used during the cooking as whole or powdered.

4. Mint is commonly used in teas, drinks, vegetable, meat stews and salads. It has medicinal value and can be used to help in relieving the constipation. Peppermint and Spearmint add a wonderful touch to most herbs tea.

5. Fennel seeds are both sweet and bitter in variety. The bitter is used in soups and fish sauces; the sweet is used in pickles. Fennel seeds can be used in baking to give distinctive flavor. It has medicinal value and is popular as a mouth freshener.



1. Allspice or Garam masala is the combination of cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg and cumin. It is grounded to powder and used in gravies of meat and rice to give strong, hot flavor to a dish. Its very popular in South Asian cuisine. Its also used as seasoning of pot roast and as a pickling spice.

2. Cayenne pepper is powdered red pepper, is a hot spice used in curry making and in meat dishes. It's also used in hot sauces.

3. Black pepper is milder than red pepper but is used as a seasoning of various dishes and salads. White pepper similar in properties of black pepper is a degree hotter and is used in Italian dishes.

4. Turmeric (orange colored) is the root of the ginger family. It is an important ingredient of a curry powder, it can be used as whole and grounded. It is also used as a substitute of saffron to color the dishes and baked products. It's also used in rice dishes and has distinctive medicinal properties of healing. It's good for topical treatment to heal cuts and can be taken with milk to have a relieve from aches and injuries.

5. Cinnamon, the bark of a tree, is very aromatic. Its popular in bakery products like, cakes, cookies, doughnuts and pies. It can also be added to milk and in herb teas


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    • Lubna Moeen profile imageAUTHOR

      Lubna Shahab 

      4 years ago from Karachi, Pakistan

      Indeed sister :)

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      very informative and a valuable reminder of how rich our menus are

    • Lubna Moeen profile imageAUTHOR

      Lubna Shahab 

      4 years ago from Karachi, Pakistan

      I use most of them in my cooking, cardamom (Elichi), zeera and coriander (hara dhania) are my favourite among others. without spices food taste is bland.

    • Dressage Husband profile image

      Stephen J Parkin 

      4 years ago from Pine Grove, Nova Scotia, Canada

      I love all of these spices and herbs and use them all on a fairly regular basis too.

    • ecogranny profile image

      Kathryn Grace 

      4 years ago from San Francisco

      Indeed, fresh spices make everything taste better. Garam masala is one I discovered only a few years ago and love to add to soups, sauces and stir frys. Delicious!


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