Herbs and Spices Glossary

Herbs and Spices


This nice little list will describe some of the necessary herbs and spices used in a variety of different dishes. Herbs and spices are an essential part of any recipe.

Fresh herbs are always best and are readily available at your grocers but of course home grown would be the best. Dried varieties also work well and are easily stored in your pantry.

I hope this herb and spice glossary will help you create some wonderful Italian dishes.

Allspice can be purchased whole or ground. The flavor tastes like a blend of cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg and is widely used in braised meats, pies and puddings.

Anise Seed can be whole or ground and has a nice licorice flavor. It is basically used in Italian sausage but can also be used in pastries, cookies and breads.

Basil can be fresh of dried. It’s an aromatic herb with a sweet smell and flavor. Basil is used in tomato dishes, pasta sauce and great with lamb chops, meat dishes and salads.

Bay Leaves are whole ground leaves with a pungent aroma used basically in soups, stews and braised meats.

Caraway Seed are whole and is a widely familiar flavor in rye breads but may also be used in sauerkraut, cheese spreads and pork.

Cardamom may be whole or ground. These tiny brown seeds are sweet and aromatic and may be used for pickling, pastries and curries.

Cayenne is ground and very hot. It can be used to spice up sauces, meat of fish,

Celery Seed can be whole or ground with a strong celery flavor and used in salads and salad dressings.

Chervil are crushed leaves similar in flavor to parsley or tarragon. Chervil can be used in soups, salads and sauces.

Chili Powder is a ground blended spice of cumin, chili peppers, garlic and oregano and mainly used in Mexican dishes.

Chives can be either fresh or dried herb with a slight onion flavor and used in a variety of fish, meat and vegetable dishes.

Cinnamon is an aromatic bark used in hams, sweet potatoes and hot beverages.

Cloves are either whole of ground with a pungent sweet flavor basically used in hams, marinades, stocks and braised meats.

Coriander is whole or ground with a slightly sweet musty flavor. it can be used for pickling, sausages, poek or curried dishes.

Cumin Seed is a small seed that looks like caraway and is used in chili powder, sausages and meats.

Dill Seed can be purchased whole or crushed and has a dill pickle flavor and is widely used for pickling, soups, salads and fish.

Fennel Seed has a distinct licorice flavor used in sausage, tomato sauces and fish.

Garlic is best fresh and has a strong aromatic flavor used in a wide variety of dishes.

Ginger can be whole or ground and used in baked goods, desserts and braised meats.

Marjoram are dried crushed leaves milder in flavor than oregano and used with sauces, poultry, lamb and meats.

Mint are aromatic leaves tasting like spearmint or peppermint and mainly used with lamb.

Mustard Seed is used either whole or ground and has a very strong pungent flavor. It’s used in meats, sauces and gravies.

Nutmeg is a whole or ground sweet aromatic spice used with soups, vegetables, desserts and pastries.

Oregano is used fresh or dried in many Italian dishes, tomato sauces and meat dishes.

Paprika is a ground sweet red pepper with a mild flavor. It’s normally used in braised meats and poultry.

Parsley is best used fresh and has a light sweet flavor used in a wide variety of foods.

Peppercorns are small black, white or green dried hard berries with a pungent flavor used in almost every recipe.

Rosemary is fresh or dried leaves used for lamb, poultry. soups and sauces.

Saffron is a very expensive spice with a mild and distinct flavor and used mainly in rice, poultry and seafood dishes.

Sage can be fresh or ground and has a pungent flavor mainly used with poultry, stuffing and pork.

Savory is a fragrant herb used with meat, poultry, fish and vegetable dishes.

Tarragon has a minty, licorice like flavor that is used with fish, chicken and salads.

Thyme can be fresh or crushed leaves used in soup stocks, sauces, meats and poultry.

Turmeric has a mild peppery flavor used in pickles, salads and relishes.

These are some of the greatest herbs and spices. Mangia Italiano!

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