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Flashcards in Herbs and Spices Deck (82):
1

What is the basic difference between herbs and spices?

the main difference between an herb and a spice lies in where it was obtained on the plant, and where that plant is naturally found

  • both are frequently confused
  • both are used to flavor foods
  • both were once considered luxuries

2

What are herbs?

herbs come from the leafy part of a plant

  • can be used fresh or dried, and can be extracted for oils
  • can be grown in many places around the world, including more temperate climates
  • considered to have more uses than spices: useful in cosmetics and food preservation, as well as in medicine

3

What are spices?

spices can be obtained from roots, bark, seeds, stems, fruit, or some other vegetative substance

  • most commonly found in tropical and subtropical regions of the world
  • not necessarily as fresh as some herbs can be
  • used less frequently for medicinal purposes

4

Why are herbs and spices used?

  • to augment flavor and aroma
  • to make a dish more ornate
  • to enhance color
  • medicinal and health reasons

5

basil

  • large green leaves that are very tender
  • powerful yet pleasant aromas make it very popular in many cuisines
  • goes well with tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and olive oil
  • must be used quickly after harvesting as it decays quickly

6

bay leaves

  • strong, durable green leaves that do not disintegrate while cooking
  • commonly used when braising or making soups, stocks, and stews
  • subtle flavors and aromas that become stronger when dried

7

caraway seed

  • spice used traditionally in sauerkraut, stews, coleslaw, and breads
  • popular in Nordic cuisines
  • very high concentration of oil that has many health benefits

8

cardamom

  • green or black pod-shaped spice -- each with a substantially different flavor and aroma
  • very complex flavors -- reminiscent of eucalyptus with some nutmeg/clove/sage undertones
  • used in both savory and sweet applications, but most commonly in curries

9

cayenne pepper

  • very spicy, red spice
  • usually ground for use
  • the basis for many hot sauces and spice blends such as chili powder

10

chervil

  • mild and delicate green-leafed herb
  • little to no flavor, but adds a sense of visual freshness to dishes
  • popular in French cuisine
  • best added in the last stages of cooking as a garnish
  • should only be used fresh

11

chives

  • long (6-8 in.), green grass-like herb
  • delicate onion flavor
  • popular in French cuisine
  • commonly minced and used as a garnish

12

cilantro

  • tender, green leaves from the coriander plant
  • popular in Latin American, Middle Eastern, and Asian cuisines
  • pungent yet refreshing flavor and aroma that go well with lime juice and garlic

13

cinnamon

  • bark of the evergreen bush native to the Middle Eastern sub-continent
  • used in America and Europe in sweet recipes
  • used in savory recipes like stews and curries in the rest of the world
  • can become very spicy when used in large amounts

14

cloves

  • dried flower buds from the clove tree
  • very aromatic with powerful flavors that can dominate dishes if overused
  • commonly used in brines, mulled wines, and spice mixtures such as garam masala

15

coriander

  • seeds from the coriander plant, the leaves of which produce cilantro
  • popular in Latin American, Middle Eastern, and Asian (especially Southeast Asian) cuisines
  • goes especially well with fennel seeds and citrus

16

cumin

  • small seed-like spice 
  • popular in Latin American, Middle Eastern, and Asian (especially Indian) cuisines
  • used in brines, marinades, curries, stews, and as a dry seasoning
  • can be toasted and then ground for a more intense, nutty flavor

17

dill

  • herb used popularly in Greek, Turkish, and Nordic cuisines
  • often used as a last-minute garnish or in marinades
  • fresh aroma that goes especially well with smoked salmon

18

fennel seed

  • seeds from the fennel plant
  • hints of licorice
  • goes well in combination with coriander seeds and citrus
  • great for brines and marinades
  • also infused with teas and liquors

19

fenugreek

  • its leaves are considered an herb; while its seeds are considered a spice
  • used in curries and chutneys
  • bittersweet
  • popular in Indian and Southeast Asian cuisines

20

ginger

  • spice used in both savory and sweet dishes
  • spicy-sweet flavor
  • pairs well with garlic and beef
  • was once considered the rarest and most exclusive spice
  • popular in Southeast Asian cuisines

21

habañero pepper

  • medium-sized, round chili pepper with very intense heat
  • popular in Mexican cuisine
  • typically used fresh in salsas or marinades
  • goes well with lime, cilantro, and pork

22

kaffir lime

  • large, leafed herb used in many popular Indian and Thai dishes
  • member of the citrus family
  • lemon-lime flavor
  • used in similarity to bay leaves

23

marjoram

  • small, tender green leaves similar to oregano
  • commonly used in Cajun cuisine
  • popular in terrines and pates
  • goes well with veal and lamb dishes
  • popular in aromatherapy and common in massage oils

24

mint

  • medium-sized, tender green leaf
  • refreshing aroma and flavor
  • most commonly used as a garnish for sweet dishes and cocktails, but also goes well with lamb

25

mustard seed

  • very small seed that is best when slightly toasted
  • popular spice used for pickling
  • made into mustard by soaking in beer or wine then pureeing with water, vinegar, and a touch of honey or maple syrup

26

nutmeg

  • a spice used in baked goods as well as savory dishes
  • popular in Middle Eastern and Greek cuisines
  • comes from the dried seed of the fruits of evergreens
  • very potent and can overpower entire dishes

27

oregano

  • green-leafed herb that looks similar to marjoram
  • strong flavor and aroma that pair well with tomatoes and olive oil
  • popular in Italian American cuisine
  • best used when fresh and not dried

28

paprika

  • ground red spice
  • made with sweet (not spicy) chilies
  • popular in Eastern European cuisines
  • often used for "deviled" dishes such as deviled eggs

29

parsley

  • green, mild-flavored leafed herb
  • used in cuisines around the world
  • used as garnish for stews, salads, and sauces
  • adds fresh look and taste to almost any dish
  • best when used fresh, not dried

30

peppercorns

  • small round seeds that come in various colors and varieties
  • common types include black, green, pink, and white
  • mild spice flavors that lend well to almost any dish, particularly red meats and green vegetables
  • best when purchased whole and ground in small amounts

31

poppy seed

  • very tiny black seed
  • adds a pleasant crunchy texture to dishes
  • common in Eastern European and Indian cuisines
  • often used in breads, rolls, pastries, and fillings

32

rosemary

  • leafed herb resembling pine needles
  • pronounced pine/mint flavor and aroma
  • pairs well with veal and lamb
  • can overpower a dish very easily; use sparingly

33

saffron

  • deep golden orange, string-like stigmas of a flowering plant
  • intoxicating aroma similar to a perfume
  • native to Turkey, mostly coming from Spain nowadays
  • must be handpicked, explaining its high price; was once more expensive than gold
  • used in Spanish (paella), Middle Eastern, and North African cuisines
  • will change the color of any dish to a sunburst yellow

34

sage

  • pungent, soft-leaved herb
  • smells and tastes like a cross between rosemary and peppermint
  • goes well with autumnal dishes such as stuffing, butternut squash, duck, pork, and brown butter
  • can be fried until crispy and used as a garnish

35

sassafras

  • large green-leafed herb native to California
  • used for respiratory, medicinal purposes
  • can be used in place of bay leaves, lending a more pronounced and bold flavor
  • popular in Creole and Cajun cuisines

36

sesame seeds

  • small white or black seeds
  • most often used as a garnish to give texture and flavor
  • popular in breads and Asian dishes
  • can be toasted to intensify flavors
  • also makes a good oil

37

star anise

  • fruit of a small evergreen tree
  • used in both savory and sweet recipes
  • added to coffee and teas to enhance flavor
  • its oils are used in liquors and even toothpaste
  • stimulates appetite and calms digestive system

38

sumac

  • ground, red spice from sumac berries
  • surprisingly sour flavor
  • popular in Middle Eastern cuisines, especially Lebanese
  • goes well with hummus and grilled vegetables

39

Szechuan pepper

  • red, flowering chili pepper native to China
  • mild in heat
  • can be dried and ground; similar to the use of black peppercorns

40

tarragon

  • tender, green-leafed herb
  • pronounced but subtle flavor and aroma
  • popular in French cuisine
  • great when infused with vinegars and/or used for emulsified sauces such as vinaigrettes, béarnaise, and hollandaise

41

thyme

  • leafed herb
  • strong but subtle flavors and aromas that add foundational flavors to dishes
  • popular in French cuisine
  • can be used in brines, soups, sauces, and vinaigrettes
  • best when used fresh, yet can dry nicely as well

42

turmeric root

  • a yellow ground spice
  • peppery (not spicy) with bitter undertones
  • most popular in Indian cuisine
  • added to many dishes to give them a yellow color

43

vanilla

  • brown, string bean-like spice
  • its tiny seeds are commonly used but it can be used whole as well
  • aromas reminiscent of bourbon and oak
  • flavor can be infused into almost anything, providing subtle and sweet undertones

44

  • large green leaves that are very tender
  • powerful yet pleasant aromas make it very popular in many cuisines
  • goes well with tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and olive oil
  • must be used quickly after harvesting as it decays quickly

basil

45

  • strong, durable green leaves that do not disintegrate while cooking
  • commonly used when braising or making soups, stocks, and stews
  • subtle flavors and aromas that become stronger when dried

bay leaves

46

  • spice used traditionally in sauerkraut, stews, coleslaw, and breads
  • popular in Nordic cuisines
  • very high concentration of oil that has many health benefits

caraway seed

47

  • green or black pod-shaped spice -- each with a substantially different flavor and aroma
  • very complex flavors -- reminiscent of eucalyptus with some nutmeg/clove/sage undertones
  • used in both savory and sweet applications, but most commonly in curries

cardamom

48

  • very spicy, red spice
  • usually ground for use
  • the basis for many hot sauces and spice blends such as chili powder

cayenne pepper

49

  • mild and delicate green-leafed herb
  • little to no flavor, but adds a sense of visual freshness to dishes
  • popular in French cuisine
  • best added in the last stages of cooking as a garnish
  • should only be used fresh

chervil

50

  • long (6-8 in.), green grass-like herb
  • delicate onion flavor
  • popular in French cuisine
  • commonly minced and used as a garnish

chives

51

  • tender, green leaves from the coriander plant
  • popular in Latin American, Middle Eastern, and Asian cuisines
  • pungent yet refreshing flavor and aroma that go well with lime juice and garlic

cilantro

52

  • bark of the evergreen bush native to the Middle Eastern sub-continent
  • used in America and Europe in sweet recipes
  • used in savory recipes like stews and curries in the rest of the world
  • can become very spicy when used in large amounts

cinnamon

53

  • dried flower buds from the clove tree
  • very aromatic with powerful flavors that can dominate dishes if overused
  • commonly used in brines, mulled wines, and spice mixtures such as garam masala

cloves

54

  • seeds from the coriander plant, the leaves of which produce cilantro
  • popular in Latin American, Middle Eastern, and Asian (especially Southeast Asian) cuisines
  • goes especially well with fennel seeds and citrus

coriander

55

  • small seed-like spice 
  • popular in Latin American, Middle Eastern, and Asian (especially Indian) cuisines
  • used in brines, marinades, curries, stews, and as a dry seasoning
  • can be toasted and then ground for a more intense, nutty flavor

cumin

56

  • herb used popularly in Greek, Turkish, and Nordic cuisines
  • often used as a last-minute garnish or in marinades
  • fresh aroma that goes especially well with smoked salmon

dill

57

  • seeds from the fennel plant
  • hints of licorice
  • goes well in combination with coriander seeds and citrus
  • great for brines and marinades
  • also infused with teas and liquors

fennel seed

58

  • its leaves are considered an herb; while its seeds are considered a spice
  • used in curries and chutneys
  • bittersweet
  • popular in Indian and Southeast Asian cuisines

fenugreek

59

  • spice used in both savory and sweet dishes
  • spicy-sweet flavor
  • pairs well with garlic and beef
  • was once considered the rarest and most exclusive spice
  • popular in Southeast Asian cuisines

ginger

60

  • medium-sized, round chili pepper with very intense heat
  • popular in Mexican cuisine
  • typically used fresh in salsas or marinades
  • goes well with lime, cilantro, and pork

habañero pepper

61

  • large, leafed herb used in many popular Indian and Thai dishes
  • member of the citrus family
  • lemon-lime flavor
  • used in similarity to bay leaves

kaffir lime

62

  • small, tender green leaves similar to oregano
  • commonly used in Cajun cuisine
  • popular in terrines and pates
  • goes well with veal and lamb dishes
  • popular in aromatherapy and common in massage oils

marjoram

63

  • medium-sized, tender green leaf
  • refreshing aroma and flavor
  • most commonly used as a garnish for sweet dishes and cocktails, but also goes well with lamb

mint

64

  • very small seed that is best when slightly toasted
  • popular spice used for pickling
  • made into mustard by soaking in beer or wine then pureeing with water, vinegar, and a touch of honey or maple syrup

mustard seed

65

  • a spice used in baked goods as well as savory dishes
  • popular in Middle Eastern and Greek cuisines
  • comes from the dried seed of the fruits of evergreens
  • very potent and can overpower entire dishes

nutmeg

66

  • green-leafed herb that looks similar to marjoram
  • strong flavor and aroma that pair well with tomatoes and olive oil
  • popular in Italian American cuisine
  • best used when fresh and not dried

oregano

67

  • ground red spice
  • made with sweet (not spicy) chilies
  • popular in Eastern European cuisines
  • often used for "deviled" dishes such as deviled eggs

paprika

68

  • green, mild-flavored leafed herb
  • used in cuisines around the world
  • used as garnish for stews, salads, and sauces
  • adds fresh look and taste to almost any dish
  • best when used fresh, not dried

parsley

69

  • small round seeds that come in various colors and varieties
  • common types include black, green, pink, and white
  • mild spice flavors that lend well to almost any dish, particularly red meats and green vegetables
  • best when purchased whole and ground in small amounts

peppercorns

70

  • very tiny black seed
  • adds a pleasant crunchy texture to dishes
  • common in Eastern European and Indian cuisines
  • often used in breads, rolls, pastries, and fillings

poppy seed

71

  • leafed herb resembling pine needles
  • pronounced pine/mint flavor and aroma
  • pairs well with veal and lamb
  • can overpower a dish very easily; use sparingly

rosemary

72

  • deep golden orange, string-like stigmas of a flowering plant
  • intoxicating aroma similar to a perfume
  • native to Turkey, mostly coming from Spain nowadays
  • must be handpicked, explaining its high price; was once more expensive than gold
  • used in Spanish (paella), Middle Eastern, and North African cuisines
  • will change the color of any dish to a sunburst yellow

saffron

73

  • pungent, soft-leaved herb
  • smells and tastes like a cross between rosemary and peppermint
  • goes well with autumnal dishes such as stuffing, butternut squash, duck, pork, and brown butter
  • can be fried until crispy and used as a garnish

sage

74

  • large green-leafed herb native to California
  • used for respiratory, medicinal purposes
  • can be used in place of bay leaves, lending a more pronounced and bold flavor
  • popular in Creole and Cajun cuisines

sassafras

75

  • small white or black seeds
  • most often used as a garnish to give texture and flavor
  • popular in breads and Asian dishes
  • can be toasted to intensify flavors
  • also makes a good oil

sesame seeds

76

  • fruit of a small evergreen tree
  • used in both savory and sweet recipes
  • added to coffee and teas to enhance flavor
  • its oils are used in liquors and even toothpaste
  • stimulates appetite and calms digestive system

star anise

77

  • ground, red spice from sumac berries
  • surprisingly sour flavor
  • popular in Middle Eastern cuisines, especially Lebanese
  • goes well with hummus and grilled vegetables

sumac

78

  • red, flowering chili pepper native to China
  • mild in heat
  • can be dried and ground; similar to the use of black peppercorns

Szechuan pepper

79

  • tender, green-leafed herb
  • pronounced but subtle flavor and aroma
  • popular in French cuisine
  • great when infused with vinegars and/or used for emulsified sauces such as vinaigrettes, béarnaise, and hollandaise

tarragon

80

  • leafed herb
  • strong but subtle flavors and aromas that add foundational flavors to dishes
  • popular in French cuisine
  • can be used in brines, soups, sauces, and vinaigrettes
  • best when used fresh, yet can dry nicely as well

thyme

81

  • a yellow ground spice
  • peppery (not spicy) with bitter undertones
  • most popular in Indian cuisine
  • added to many dishes to give them a yellow color

turmeric root

82

  • brown, string bean-like spice
  • its tiny seeds are commonly used but it can be used whole as well
  • aromas reminiscent of bourbon and oak
  • flavor can be infused into almost anything, providing subtle and sweet undertones

vanilla

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