So, what is the difference between herbs and spices?
Spices are traditionally dried parts of a plant that are used in cooking.
Salt is not a spice because salt is a mineral.
Officially spices are dried parts of a root, flowers, seeds, bark or fruit of a plant. Spices are often stronger in taste than herbs and should be used in smaller amounts at a time.
Herbs are also from plants.
The word “herb” comes from the Latin word “herba” meaning grass or green plant. Some people will pronounce the h in herb; others prefer to keep the h silent.
When the green leaves in a plant are used either fresh or dry the plant is traditionally referred to as an herb.
Some plants may be used as both an herb and a spice, the leaves would be herbs and the seeds would be a spice.
Sometimes spices are put in the same category as herbs. In everyday speech the difference between herbs and spices seems somewhat vague. Often the plants used in cooking are simply referred to as herbs and spices, all put in one huge category. The two terms have a tendency to get mixed.
In our time and age we the demand for spices has exploded. We are more eager to include dishes from all parts of the world in our everyday cooking. As we travel more we become increasingly aware of the many new ways spices can be used to enhance our taste buds.
Spices certainly have made the art of cooking so much more fascinating. We all agree that using a little spice when cooking will take our dishes to extraordinary levels.
Spices obviously give great flavor to food and beverages when used correctly. Many spices also have amazing health benefits. Spices have been used has medicine since ancient times. Spices can be used in perfumes. Spices are also used in religious ceremonies as in incense and candles. Some spices have their own stories in folklore, superstition and myth. Welcome to the wonderful world of spices!