Herbs, Spices And Flavorings – A Guide To Simplifying Seasonings

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Great food should be judged by the company it keeps! When I read this quote I knew it would be appropriate for a future blog and here we are…Food Blog #27-Herbs, Spices and Flavorings. I cannot recall a time in my life as to when food has been such a HOT commodity as now. There are recipes on social media and magazines, cooking shows of every facet, cooking competitions, and, travel shows that feature ‘must try’ restaurants. FUN FACT…In 1970 the average grocery store carried 150 types of produce. TODAY, the average grocery store carries over 400 because of demand from consumers for variety.

Are you a cook that has a dedicated place on your counter for your mortar & pestle, or do I ‘scents’ an aromatic herb garden of your own, or, a farmers’ market fan with 10 recycled bags on your arm? Could you be you’re at the opposite end of the herb and spice spectrum and you are troubled by too many options and choices? Keeping meal time interesting on a daily basis takes dedication, patience and flavoring for the palette to be satisfied. Another FUN FACT… Actor, Dwayne Johnson, also known as The Rock is said to have eaten the same meal for an extended period of time in order to achieve the physique required for his latest film, Hercules. This leads me to wonder how these meals were prepared in order to keep Mr. Johnson content with such repetition.

I am not hesitant to add herbs, spices and flavorings, but there isn’t a rhyme or reason to my experimentation which amounts to “oh, let’s try this!” As my cooking skills have progressed I’m more interested in maximizing the best flavor in what I’m preparing. Recently, inside a box of chicken breast from Schwan’s was included a chart on how to ‘Spice Up Your Meals.’ Here’s a handy chart to easily refer to that I will now share with you.

So, what are we waiting for…let’s chop, dice, splash and marinade it up.

• Herbs! They are, fresh or dried fragrant leaves of plants

·      Basil – use on chicken and pork

·      Chives – use on chicken and fish

·      Dill – use on fish

·      Marjoram – use on beef and pork

·      Parsley – chicken and fish

·      Rosemary – use on chicken, beef and pork

·      Sage – use on chicken and pork

·      Tarragon – use on chicken, pork and fish

·      Thyme – use on chicken, beef, pork and fish

·      Coarse Salt & Pepper – use on chicken, beef, pork and fish


• Spices! They are, the seeds and roots of a plant

·      Asian Fusion – garlic, ginger, soy sauce, sesame, chili pepper, coriander and lemon grass

·      Caribbean Jerk – allspice, chives, garlic, ginger, cayenne pepper, paprika, coriander, cinnamon, nutmeg and sugar

·      Southwest Fiesta – cilantro, cayenne pepper, chili pepper, cumin, garlic and onion powder

·      Indian Essence – curry, coriander, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, cumin, chili pepper, garlic, ginger, mustard seed and turmeric

·      Mediterranean – garlic, basil, allspice, oregano, marjoram, thyme, cumin, sesame seed, cinnamon and turmeric

·      Italian – basil, parsley, rosemary, thyme, garlic, oregano, marjoram, crushed red pepper


• Flavorings! They are:

Sweet – lightly browned onions, garlic, sugar, brown sugar, honey, marmalades, molasses, BBQ, ginger

Sour – lemon, lime, vinegar (balsamic, rice, white, cider), red or white wine

Salty – coarse salt, capers, marinated artichokes, anchovies, Parmesan cheese, Bleu cheese, soy sauce

Peppery & Bitter – ginger, mustard, horseradish, paprika

Fruity – apples, apricots, mango, oranges, mandarin oranges, peaches, pineapples

Rich & Creamy – butter, olive oil, sour cream, cream, canned soup, milk, broth

Nutty – almonds, flax, pecans, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds

Extra heat – hot sauces, fresh chili peppers, red pepper flakes, chipotle chilies


Herb, Spice, Flavoring Guide courtesy of Schwan’s