Ottaviana's Kitchen Logo

Herbs & Spices Glossary

Allspice Whole, Ground Small brown berry; flavor resembles blend of cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg Sausages and braised meats, poached fish, stewed fruits, pies, puddings
Anise Seed Whole, ground Small seed; licorice flavor Cookies, pastries, breads, Italian sausage
Basil Crushed leaves Aromatic leaf; member of mint family Tomatoes and tomato dishes, egg dishes, lamb chops, eggplant, peas, squash, pesto
Bay Leaves Whole Stiff, dark green, oblong leaves; pungent aroma stocks, sauces, stews, braised meats
Caraway seed Whole Dark brown, curved seed; familiar rye bread seasoning Rye bread, cabbage, sauerkraut, pork, cheese spreads, eastern European dishes
Cardamon Whole pod, ground seed Tiny brown seeds inside white or green pod; sweet and aromatic; expensive Pickling, Danish pastries, curries
Cayenne (red pepper) Ground Ground form of hot red pepper; looks like paprika, but is extremely hot sauces, soups, meat, fish, egg, and cheese dishes
Celery seed Whole, ground, ground mixed with salt (celery salt) Tiny brown seeds with strong celery flavor Salads, cole slaw, salad dressings, tomato products
Chervil Crushed leaves Herb with mild flavor of parsley and tarragon Soups, salads, sauces, egg and cheese dishes
Chili Powder Ground blend Blend of spices including cumin, chili peppers, oregano, garlic Chili and Mexican dishes, egg dishes, appetizers, ground meat
Chives Fresh, dried, frozen Grass like herb with onion flavor Salads, egg and cheese dishes, fish soups, quiches
Cinnamon Sticks, ground Aromatic bark of cinnamon or cassia trees Pastries, breads, desserts, cooked fruits, ham, sweet potatoes, hot beverages, cereals
Cloves Whole, ground Dried flower buds of a tropical tree; pungent, sweet flavor Whole: marinades, stocks, sauces, braised meats, ham, pickling; Ground: cakes, breads, pastries, fruits
Coriander Whole, ground Round, light brown, hollow seed; slightly sweet, musty flavor Pickling, sausage, pork, curried dishes, gingerbread
Cumin seed Whole, ground Small seed resembling caraway, but lighter in color Ingredient of curry and chili powders; sausages and meats; egg and cheese dishes
Curry powder Ground blend A mixture of 16 to 20 spices, including red pepper, tumeric, cumin, coriander, ginger, cloves, cinnamon, black pepper; different brands vary greatly in flavor and hotness Curried dishes, eggs, vegetables, fish, soups, rice
Dill Crushed leaves (known as dill weed"), whole seed Herb and seed with familiar "dill pickle" flavor; seed is more pungent than the herb Seed: pickling, sauerkraut, soups; Herb: salads, cheese dishes, fish and shellfish, some vegetables
Fennel Whole seed Greenish-brown seeds similar in flavor to anise, but larger size Italian sausage, tomato sauce, fish
Garlic Fresh: whole bulbs; Dried: granulated, powder, and mixed with salt Strong, aromatic member of onion family; fresh bulbs composed of many small cloves Wide variety of foods
Ginger Whole, ground (also fresh and candied or crystallized) Light brown, knobby root of ginger plant Baked goods and desserts, fruits, curried dishes, braised meats; Fresh: in Chinese and other oriental dishes
Juniper berries Whole Slightly soft, purple berries with "piney" flavor; principal flavoring of gin Marinades, game dishes, sauerkraut
Mace Whole ("blade"), ground Orange outer covering of nutmeg; similar flavor, but milder Baked goods, desserts, fruits, sausages, pork, fish, spinach, squash, other vegetables
Marjoram Crushed leaves Grey-green herb with pleasant aroma and slightly minty flavor, similar to oregano but much milder Pates and ground meats, braised meats, sauces, roast lamb, poultry and poultry stuffing
Mint Leaves Aromatic herb with familiar cool flavor; two varieties: spearmint and peppermint Lamb, fruits, tea and fruit beverages, peas, carrots, potatoes
Mustard seed Whole, ground (also prepared mustard) Very pungent seed in two varieties: white or yellow, and brown. Brown is stronger. Cheese and egg dishes, pickling, meats, sauces and gravies
Nutmeg Whole, ground Sweet, aromatic kernel of nutmeg fruit Soups, cream sauces, chicken, veal, many vegetables (spinach, mushrooms, squash, potatoes), desserts, custards, breads, pastries
Oregano Leaves, ground Pungent herb, known as "pizza herb" Italian dishes, tomato sauces, meats, a wide variety of dishes
Paprika Ground Ground form of a dried, sweet red pepper. Spanish variety is brighter in color, mild in flavor; Hungarian is darker and more pungent. Spanish: used (or overused) primarily as garnish on light colored foods; Hungarian: goulash, braised meats and poultry, sauces
Parsley Fresh: whole sprigs in bunches; Dried: in flakes Most widely used herb. Dark green curly or flat leaves with delicate, sweet flavor. A wide variety of foods.
Pepper, black , red or white Whole (peppercorns); ground fine, medium or coarse Small black or creamy white, or red hard berry. Pungent flavor and aroma Most widely used spice
Poppy seed Whole Tiny blue-black seeds with faint but distinctive flavor Garnish for breads and rolls, buttered noodles; Ground: in pastry filling
Rosemary Whole Light green leaves resembling pine needles Lamb, braised meats and poultry, soups, tomato and meat sauces
Saffron Whole (threads) Red stigma of saffron crocus. Gives bright yellow color to foods. Mild, distinctive flavor. Very expensive. Should be steeped in hot liquid before use. Rice dishes, poultry and seafood, bouillabaisse, baked goods.
Sage Whole, rubbed (finer consistency than whole leaves), ground Pungent gray-green herb with fuzzy leaves Pork, poultry, stuffing's, sausage, beans, tomatoes
Savory Crushed leaves Fragrant herb of mint family; summer savory is preferred to winter Many meat, poultry, fish, egg, and vegetable dishes
Sesame Seeds Whole (hulled or unhulled) Small yellowish seed with nutlike taste. Familiar hamburger bun garnish. High oil content. Bread and roll garnish.
Tarragon Crushed leaves Delicate green herb with a flavor that is both minty and licorice like Tarragon vinegar, chicken, fish, salads and dressings, eggs
Thyme Crushed leaves, ground Tiny brownish-green leaves; very aromatic Stocks, soups, sauces, meats, poultry, tomatoes
Tumeric Ground Intense yellow root of ginger family; mild but distinctive peppery flavor A basic ingredient of curry powder; pickles, relishes, salads, eggs, rice