Seasonings such as herbs and spices have been used since ancient times. However, they are playing a new and important role in modern food preparation. They not only add unique flavors to foods, but contribute color and variety as well.
Technically, herbs are the leaves of the plant, while spices come from the roots, bark, and seeds. When it comes to seasoning food, herbs and spices often go hand-in-hand.
Common herbs and spices used in the Mediterranean cuisine include basil, bay leaf, black pepper, cloves, coriander, cumin, dill, fennel, garlic, lavender, marjoram, mint, oregano, parsley, paprika, rosemary, saﬀron, sage, savory, sumac, tarragon, thyme and turmeric.
Certain herbs and spices used alone, or in blends (herbes de Provence) can replace or reduce salt and sugar in foods.
For example, I use organic savory herbs (dried & fresh) such as marjoram, rosemary, thyme and oregano in place of salt to flavor foods; and organic culinary lavender and cardamom in place of sugar to sweeten tart, galette, compote, marmalade and syrup.
1. Herbs and spices are best kept in glass jars tightly covered and stored in a cool, dry place and not above the stove.
2. Whole spices stay fresh for up to 6-month while ground spices have a 3-month shelf life.
3. Store red spices, such as paprika and red pepper, in the refrigerator. They will hold their color and keep their flavor longer.
4. Best to purchase small quantity of organic herbs and spices from the bulk section of grocery stores, use them up and then get some fresh ones.
Mediterranean herbs and spices add deep flavors and marry together different ingredients to create balanced and flavorsome food, enjoy them often!
Happy Cooking & Baking!
Chef Ellie Lavender
Vegan Mediterranean Personal Chef
Culinary & Wine Pairing Instructor
Lavender Design + Cuisine
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