If the cook is the artist, then spices are the canvas! They encourage creativity and adventure. In your very own kitchen, you can visit anywhere in the world, just with a few spices. Want to visit Morrocco? Add some ras el hanout. France today? Use Herbes de Provence.
How about Jamaica? Some jerk spice will change the day. Spices are a great way to avoid ingredient fatigue – you know that feeling of... “we’re having chicken again?” It may require you to venture out to a flavor that you’ve never tried before. Be bold and brave!
But what exactly is a spice? Spices come from the dried roots, rhizomes, seeds, bar, or fruit of a plant. Herbs, on the other hand, are the green, leafy parts of the plant that are eaten fresh or dried. For example, did you know that coriander and cilantro come from the same plant? Coriander is seed, which is ground into coriander spice and cilantro is the leaf and is classified as an herb.
Spices must come from high-quality sources if you want to know that you are getting what you paid for. Just like with coffee, big label grocery store brands are not the epitome of quality, freshness, and taste in spices. Aroma is the best key to the quality of spices. Companies can fake the color of spices with artificial dyes, but you can’t fake that wonderful smell.