Spices are the seeds, bark, buds, roots, fruit, flower parts, or pieces of tasty plants. The seeds make for added texture as well as the flavor. They can be made even more fragrant by toasting the seeds in a dry skillet. Usually you can use a good small coffee grinder, spice grinder, or a traditional mortar and pestle to crush and blend the spices. Spices season most any food and the flavors vary widely. For a guide to flavors and good uses for basic spices, this is the article for you.
Allspice is a sweet pungent spice that comes ground or whole. It’s good in cakes, fruits, jerk seasoning, poaching fish, and for stews.
Anise Seed has the flavor of licorice and comes as a whole seed. It is good in baked goods, candy, and sweetened warm milk
Cinnamon is a sweet, aromatic, pungent spice that comes as a stick or ground. It’s good in cakes, cappuccino, maple syrup, pies, puddings, and hot drinks.
Caraway seed has an intense and aromatic flavor. It comes as the whole seed and is good in cabbage, meats, bread, soups, and stews.
Cloves have a strong, aromatic, pungent, and sweet flavor and it comes whole or ground. It’s good in baked beans, desserts, fruits, meats, stews, tea, and some vegetables.
Cardamom has a pungent slightly menthol flavor and comes as the whole pod, as seeds, or ground. It is good in coffee, curry, custard, fruits, and sausages.
Paprika is slightly bitter and can be anything from sweet to hot. It comes ground from dried sweet red peppers. It is good in casseroles, eggs, meats, salads, soups, and vegetables.
Celery Seed has a concentrated celery flavor and is slightly bitter. It comes whole or ground and is good in meats, salads, soups, stuffings, and sauces.
Red Pepper is a very hot peppery spice that comes ground. It is good in barbeque, chili, corn bread, meats, fish, and eggs.
Coriander has a fragrant flavor similar to lemon and sage. It comes whole or ground and is good in curry powder, marinades, pastries, Mexican or Spanish dishes, seafood, or sausages.
Black Pepper is a pungent peppery spice that comes whole, ground, or cracked. It is good in meats and other savory foods.
Cumin has a savory pungent and slightly bitter flavor. It comes whole or ground and is good in cheese, chili, curry powder, pork or sauerkraut.
Saffron is a softly bitter and distinctive spice that cones in strands or in powder. It is good in poultry, rice, rolls, sauces, Spanish dishes, and in seafood.
Dill Seed has a tangy flavor much like Caraway. It comes whole or ground and is good in fish, meats, processed meats, and soups.
Turmeric is an aromatic and slightly bitter spice that comes ground. It is good in curry powder, eggs, pickling, and in rice.
Fennel Seed is a loves sweet, aromatic, anise-like seed that comes whole or ground. It is good in breads, eggs, sauces, Italian dishes, soups, and sweet pickles.
Garlic has a pungent aroma and taste. It comes minced and as a powder. It is good in meats, fish, salads, sauces, soups, and vegetables.
Mustard Seed is a hot pungent with a dry aftertaste and comes whole or ground. It is good in casseroles, meats, relishes, salads, and vegetables.
Ginger is pungent and spicy. It comes whole, ground, or as cracked bits. It is good in baked goods, fish, meats, sauces, soups, tea, and vegetables.
Poppy Seed has a crunchy nutty flavor and the seed comes whole. It is good in baked goods, noodles, vegetables, and salad dressings.
Nutmeg is a fragrant and sweet spice with spicy undertones. It comes whole or ground. It is good in beverages, cakes, cookies, puddings, sauces, and winter squash.
Sesame Seed has a slightly sweet and nutty flavor and comes whole seed. It is good in breads, dips, salad dressing, poultry, and in seafood.