The World of Herbs & Spices
What is the difference between a spice and an herb?
Spices and herbs are aromatic natural products that are used to flavor food. Spices are the dried seeds, buds, fruit or flower parts, bark, or roots of plants, usually of tropical origin. Herbs are the leaves and sometimes the flowers of plants, usually grown in a climate similar to the Mediterranean.
How can I tell if my spices and herbs are fresh?
There are three things you should look at to know if your spices and herbs are still fresh:
Appearance – Make sure that their color has not faded. Loss of color is an indication of flavor loss.
Smell – A fragrant, intense aroma is an indication of freshness.
Taste – Try crushing the spices and herbs in your hand. If you do not smell the aroma, or if you taste them and the flavor is not apparent, it’s time to replace them.
What are the benefits of using herbs and spices, other than to add flavor and aroma?
Herbs and spices provide an added boost for our overall health. They have antioxidants at levels that are at par with those found in fruits and vegetables. These antioxidants are known to help prevent chronic disease, heart ailment and even cancer. So beyond just flavor and aroma, herbs and spices are loaded with health benefit.