In cooking, the terms “herbs” and “spices” are commonly used interchangeably.
But, is there a difference? If so, what makes an herb an herb, and a spice a spice?
Special Note: Salt is not an herb or a spice, it is a mineral.
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Blends and Rubs
Many herb and spice blends originate in certain parts of the world:
- herbs de provence (basil, fennel, lavender, marjoram, rosemary, sage, savory and thyme) is commonly used in Southern France
- Moroccan Blend (cumin, ginger, salt, pepper, cinnamon, coriander, cayenne, allspice and cloves)
- Garam Masala (peppercorn, cloves, bay leaves, cumin, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, star anise and coriander seeds) is used in India
- Jerk Spice (mainly uses allspice and scotch bonnet peppers, but can include other spices) is commonly used in Jamaica
- Barbecue Rub (pepper, salt, oregano, garlic, cumin, paprika, cayenne) is used worldwide
- Dried herbs and spices should be kept in a cool and dry location. Exposure to heat, light or high humidity destroys their flavour
- Dried herbs and spices can last up to six months. After that they loose flavour quite quickly
- Fresh herbs should be kept in a glass with a small amount of water. They can also be wrapped in a damp towel or paper towel and stored in the refrigerator
- Exception! Basil hates the cold. Store fresh basil at room temperature in a glass with water in the base