Herbs & Spices Focus on Foods
Herbs & Spices • The FDA groups herbs and spices together and considers them both to be spices.
Herbs • Have been described as “a friend of the physician and the praise of the cooks” • Herbs are well known for their seasoning capabilities in food prepaation.
Do you know • What are some common seasoning herbs?
Common Herbs • Basil • Sage • Thyme • Oregano • Bay Leaves
Spices • Spices are distinguished from herbs, which are derived from leaves, by the other parts of the plant from which they are derived.
History • History records a time when spices were greater in value than gold. • A Goth leader once demanded 3,000 pounds of pepper as a partial ransom for calling off his siege of Rome. • Their value now rests in their ability to add flavorful difference to dishes.
Do you know • What are some common Spices?
Examples • All Spice (from a fruit) • Saffron (flower) • Cinnamon (bark)
Examples • Anise, caraway, celery, cumin, fennel, mustard, poppy, and sesame (Seeds) • Ginger and Turmeric (rhizomes)
Although garlic, onions and shallots can serve as a spice, they are officially recognized as vegetables.
Spices Used in Different Cuisines • Thai food relies heavily on hot peppers • Central American dishes are distinguished by their use of chili peppers or powder.
Spices Used in Different Cuisines • Mexican meals often incorporate cumin, coriander, paprika, pepper, and cilantro. • Indian dishes are enhanced with curry mixtures.
Purchasing Herbs and Spices • Can be purchased in whole, crushed, or ground.
Purchasing Herbs and Spices • Whole herbs retain their freshness longer than crushed, which in turn keep longer than ground. • Whole seeds and leaves provide a visual and textural appeal. • The flavor can be slow • Ground spices provide a quick infusion of flavor.
Storing Herbs and Spices • According to the American Spice Trade Association dried spices and herbs should be kept below 60 degrees F, and replaced every 12 months. • They keep best in air tight, opaque containers stored in a cool, dry place.
MSG • Monosodium Glutamate • Influences flavor without contributing any flavor of its own. • A compound was isolated from seaweed, which is today MSG.