Spices & Herbs: Is There a Difference?

Herbs vs. Spices: Do You Know The Difference?

While herbs are not necessarily strong or overpowering, and spices do not necessarily mean hot & spicy, both add texture, flavor, aroma and color to a dish.  Herbs add subtle flavor to a dish while spices are packed with flavor.  With spices, a little goes a long way.

An herb is a plant or part of a plant that is used as medicine as well as to add flavor to our favorite foods. They are small, seed bearing plants with fleshy, rather than woody parts.  Herbs can be used fresh or dried.

Spices come from the root, stem, seed, fruit, flower or bark of the plant or tree and are almost always dried, not fresh.

Herbs are easy to grow in your backyard garden, in containers or as indoor plants.  The same cannot be said about most spices.

Some plants can be both herb and spice.  For example, cilantro and coriander are from the same plant — cilantro is the leaf of the plant and coriander is the seed.  Dill is another example of a plant that produces seeds used as a spice and leaves used as an herb.

Typically, rhizomes such as ginger, and bulbs such as garlic, are considered spices, especially in their dried powder forms.

Many herbs and spices have long been celebrated for their medicinal properties.  Modern science has now shown that some also bring us powerful health benefits.

 

Next month: Cinnamon

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