Some might say that if you’re not cooking with herbs and spices then you’re not really cooking at all. Whether you’re a beginner chef and not quite sure where to start with seasonings, or you’re already a “seasoned chef” looking to get your herb and spice cabinet in order, we’ve got you sorted. In this article you’ll find a list of essential herbs and spices for every kitchen, as well as ideas on getting your herb and spice cabinet nicely organised so you can easily access these delicious seasonings and make your food delicious.
Essential herbs and spices
Allspice is not too dissimilar to the flavours and aromas you get from cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Use this delicious spice in marinades, stews, baking, and more!
This is an international favourite, and a must-have for Italian cuisine. Use basil with pasta dishes, potato dishes, and rice. Fresh basil is always preferable, but it’s a good idea to keep some dried leaves handy.
- Bay leaves
Deliciously aromatic and flavoursome, bay leaves are a great way to flavour soups, stews, and marinades. Just don’t forget to take it out afterwards!
- Cayenne pepper
Add some spice to your dishes! Cayenne is used in Cajun and Southern Style dishes as well as a lot of Indian meals. Delicious.
- Ground cinnamon
Who doesn’t love cinnamon? Aromatic and warming, use cinnamon in drinks and baking as well as curries, chilies, and stews.
Incredibly aromatic, cloves are commonly used in Asian and Middle Eastern foods. Add more flavour to your curries and baking, and to your chai!
Delicious cumin is a warm spice that’s used everywhere from India to the Mediterranean. Super versatile, use cumin in everything from stews and soups to curries, gravies, hommus, and pickles.
- Curry powder
We can’t all blend our own curries! Curry powder is typically made from coriander, turmeric, fenugreek, cumin, and other spices. An easy way to flavour curries, you can also use the powder with chicken, eggs, and more.
Spicy and reaping plenty of health benefits, ginger is typically used in Chinese, Japanese, Indian, and other South Asian cuisines. A versatile spice that can be used in everything from baking and cooking to making tea.
With a slightly sweet flavour, nutmeg can be used in soups, savoury dishes, marinades, potato dishes, baking, and to flavour drinks like mulled wine. Yum!
Another Italian classic, you can use oregano to flavour everything from pizzas and pastas to veggies, salads, meat, and fish.
Paprika comes in all sorts of types, from sweet to smoked to spicy. Use paprika to season meat and seafood, add flavour to veggies, stews, soups, and rice.
A deliciously aromatic herb, rosemary is used to flavour everything from soups to vegetables to meat. Mix it with garlic and olive oil and you’ve got a delicious marinade.
A slightly peppery herb, sage can be used in several European dishes in everything from stuffing to casseroles.
Usually found in French dishes, tarragon is slightly peppery and tastes great with fish, chicken, and eggs.
Thyme is a slightly woody herb that’s often used in Mediterranean and Cajun/Creole dishes. You can use this delicious herb to flavour veggies, meat, and chicken.
Another wonderful healing herb, turmeric is packed with great benefits and can be used to flavour curries and turn food yellow!
Building the ideal cabinet
With all these herbs and spices, you want to keep everything within easy reach and in sight so you can easily access things when you want them. You don’t want to spend half an hour looking for the spice you need!
Many techniques have been tried and true, and the reigning champion of herb and spice cabinets tends to be the lazy susan. A rotating herb and spice cabinet that allows you to simultaneously view all your seasonings, a lazy susan doesn’t take up much space and lets you quickly flick through to find what you need.
Now as useful as a lazy susan is, it’s not much use without labels, unless you’re happy to spend some time opening your spice jars and having a sniff to determine whether that’s the cinnamon or the nutmeg! Keep your herb and spice jars appropriately labelled and your cooking process will be smooth and easy.
So go on then, experiment with these delicious herbs and spices and cook up some delicious meals!