Basic Guide To Spices

How to use and identify popular kitchen spices 

Basic Guide To Spices

A basic guide to commonly used spices. Image: iStock 

Most spices are plant derivatives and can be used whole or finely ground to season or preserve food. 

Spices are best kept in airtight, glass containers in a cool, dry spot away from direct heat and sunlight. 

Store any members of the pepper family, including paprika and chilli powder, in the fridge, to retain their colour and flavour.

Allspice 

all spice, handyman magazine,

Also called pimento, this Jamaican pepper incorporates flavours of cloves, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and pepper
 

Cardamom

cardamom, handyman magazine,

Part of the ginger family, it grows in southern India. It’s used in chai and is popular in rice and meat dishes
 

 

Cinnamon 

cinammon, handyman magazine,

The outer bark of the cinnamon tree, which grows in Sri Lanka, is dried and used to flavour sweet and savoury foods, and chai
 

Cloves

cloves, handyman magazine,

The dried, unopened flower buds of an evergreen tree, believed to be native to Indonesia, complement both sweet and savoury dishes

Cumin

cumin, handyman magazine,

This popular spice has a distinctive aroma and flavour, and is one of the main ingredients in curry powder
 

Nutmeg 

nutmeg, handyman magazine,

This seed of the nutmeg tree is encased in a hard shell with a red covering of mace. Both spices are used in ground or grated form

Paprika 

paprika, handyman magazine,
Made from ground dried capsicum, this 
popular Mexican and Spanish flavouring comes smoked, sweet or hot, and has a vibrant deep-red colour

Peppercorns 

peppercorn, handyman magazine,

Black, green and white peppercorns are all berries from the pepper plant in various stages of development. The black variety is the strongest
 

Saffron

saffron, handyman magazine,

The dried and ground stigmas of the saffron crocus flower make this an expensive spice. It is often used in Asian and Mediterranean dishes
 

Star-Anise 

star-anise , handyman magazine,

This star-shaped fruit is harvested prior to ripening, then dried to make the aromatic spice traditionally used in Chinese five-spice seasoning. 

Vanilla 

vanilla, handyman magazine,

Pods are harvested from the vanilla orchid. Popular in desserts, the flavouring comes as a liquid extract, powder or in whole-pod form

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Basic Guide To Spices

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