Back to Basics: Spices

Spices come from the root, bark, or seeds of a plant. Unlike herbs, herbs are the leaves of the plant. I always try to limit my usage of salt and add more spices because it elevates the dish and makes it more exciting. Here’s a list of spices that I use. Be aware that this is some of the thousands of spices out there so doing your research is essential. 

  • Cardamom: the “Queen of spices” in India has its name for a good reason. Its strong, punnet flavor with subtle hints of mint and lemon makes it a very versatile spice for both sweet and savory dishes
  • Clove: One of my personal spices because it brings back to my childhood. It has a warm sweet taste that holds dear in my heart
  • Black pepper: the “King of spices”. One of, if not the most popular spices in the world. Used for basic seasoning and adds a spicy kick. 
  • Celery seed: A concentrated taste of celery. This spice is usually ground up into salt, giving an earthy taste
  • Cumin: One of the most popular spices from Europe, Asia, and Africa. It’s known for its earthy flavor with a subtle kick of lemon
  • Curry powder: Is a primary ingredient in curry dishes (dead giveaway). In addition, it can be also used to elevate flavors in stews, meats, and marinades
  • Nutmeg: Combing this and cinnamon makes a perfect duo in baking and beverages. It also makes an excellent addition to hearty dishes
  • Garlic: Probably one of the most popular spices used in any cuisine. It’s basically ground dehydrated garlic. In soups, stews, and rice dishes, you can’t really go wrong adding this
  • Ginger: A bold, pungent, spicy root that contains many antioxidants to aid digestion and treating any kind of cold, flu, or cough (too bad I can’t eat ginger). 
  • Turmeric: A famous Indian spice that my family is addicted to right now. Why do you ask? Its warm, mellow taste with loads of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties can prevent certain types of cancers. 
  • Saffron: Hands down one of the most expensive spices in the world. Saffron stands out because of its distinctive taste with a golden color. Saffron is a stigma of crocus flowers that are picked by hand. Its rich dark red color gives an incredible floral, honey-like fragrance that is good in any dish. Be extra careful because its intense spice should be used in small quantities 
  • Cayenne: This bad boy adds a spicy kick to all your soups, stews, and meats. This popular spice was made from dried cayenne peppers that are turned into ground powder.
  • Paprika: This spice adds heat to your dishes but is not as powerful as cayenne. Even though paprika isn’t that spicy compared to cayenne, its smoky taste makes up for it
  • Cinnamon: Probably one of the oldest spices out there. Its mid-brown color brings out a warm, sweet taste to any dish. Rice, meats, pasta, stews, and even smoothies. The list goes on and on.

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