Food Fun and Facts - Herb and Spice Information -Cooking with Herbs and Spices

How to Use Herbs and Spices

Herbs should be used with discretion. More is never better!

A good rule of thumb is to use 1/4 teaspoon of a dried herb for a recipe that serves 4.

You can then increase this amount according to your taste.

Sea Salt
I switched to sea salt about 2 years ago and have used nothing other since.

You need to be aware, however, that some sea salt does not contain iodine. Once you try sea salt, you will never go back!

HAINS seal salt has 590MGs of sodium in a 1/4 teaspoon of salt. It is also Iodized.

You can get sea salt in a health food store or in the regular grocery store.
There are different brands of sea salt. Some are expensive, some are not.
About the only thing I use regular
salt now is for melting ice on the walk and using it for cleaning my cast iron pans!

Try to use fresh herbs whenever possible.

They are loaded with antioxidants!
Dried Herbs are good, but fresh is better!

Recipe for Fresh Mint Jelly

Bay LeavesFlavor particularly good in practically all meat cooking; also in vegetable and meat soups and sauces.

Mint- May be used fresh in salads, fruit beverages, jellies, conserves, ices, iced tea, sauces for meats, and added minced to carrots and peas. Good with apple combinations.

Parsley- One of the most popular herbs, which may be used in many ways. A favorite garnish. May be used in fruit and vegetable salads, in sandwiches, in all soups and gravies, in meat sauces, minced and added just before serving to practically all vegetables, minced and added to white sauce.

Sage- Used fresh and dried. May be used in poultry and meat stuffing; in sausage and practically all meat combinations; also in cheese and vegetable combinations, vegetable loaf, patties, etc. The flowers are sometimes used in salads.

Savory (Summer)- Agreeable flavor, blends well with other flavors; may be used in stuffing for meat, in vegetable soups, in sausage, with meats and with horseradish.

Savory (Winter)- May be used in the same way as Summer savory.

Tarragon- Leaves have a hot, pungent taste. Valuable to use in all salads and sauces. Excellent in Tartar Sauce. Leaves are pickled with gherkins. Used to flavor vinegar.

Thyme- Leaves, green or dried, valuable for use in stuffing, sauces, soups and meat.Did you know that thyme is pronounced like time?

More How to Use Spices

Allspice- Sold whole or ground. Strong flavor-therefore better combined with other spices
in fruit, cakes, pies, pickles, etc.

Caraway- Seeds have a spicy smell and aromatic taste. Used in baked fruit, cakes, breads, soups, cheese and sauerkraut.

Cardamom- Flavor especially good in honey combination. Use for some baked goods.

Cayenne Pepper- Usually obtained from small fruited varieties of capsicum. It should be of dull red color.
May be used in very small amounts in vegetables and in some salad dressing and in cheese dishes.
It must be used with care, however, and paprika, a milder form of red pepper, is successfully substituted.

Cloves- Should be dark brown in color. Usually used in combination with other spices, which gives a better flavor
when used alone. Too much gives an undesirable color as well as a bitter flavor.

Curry Powder- A number of spices combined in proper proportion to give a distinct flavor to such
savory dishes as meat, poultry, fish and vegetables.

Mace- The inner envelope of nutmegs. May be used in "blade" or ground.

Mustard- Sold whole or ground. Gives good flavor; used alone in small amount in various soups, meat dishes,
pastry and in such dough mixtures as fancy breads, dumplings and in some puddings. Also in combination with other spices for pickles.

Nutmeg- Is useful in many dishes and adds a nice touch to: Eggnog, Apple Pie, green beans, creamed onions,
sweet potatoes, creamed fish and chicken dishes, pork chops, and in stuffing.
You can also use in fruit compote, custards and ice creams! Try buying your nutmegs who and using
a nutmeg grater for the best flavor!

Paprika- A Hungarian sweet pepper. Bright red in color. May be used in all meat and vegetable salads.
In soups, both cream and stock. As a garnish for potatoes, cream cheese, fruit salads and eggs.

Pepper (Black)- Reduced to proper fineness by grinding and sifting.
Used in all meat and vegetable dishes where the color does not affect the product.

Peppercorn- The whole berry of the pepper plant.

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Various Fresh Herbs

Harvest Smiles with Thanksgiving-Inspired Treats

Recipe for Autumn Spice Stencil Cake

(Family Features) With autumn comes cooler temperatures, colorful leaves and the beginning of the holiday season. The food crafting experts at Wilton Enterprises have festive ideas to transform typical Thanksgiving desserts into unique creations.

Start by adding a special touch to a basic spice cake using Autumn Cupcake and Cookie Stencils. Simply place the stencil - choose from turkeys, pilgrim hats, pumpkins and more - over your iced cake and sprinkle with colored sugars. The stencils are easy to use and will make your baked goods a feast for the eyes.

Try substituting Harvest Whoopie Pies for pumpkin pie - cream cheese icing sandwiched between bite-sized cakes will definitely have guests giving thanks. Or, make Festive Fall Leaf Cookies to resemble the vibrant leaves of the season. Prepare dough and tint portions green, red, orange and yellow. When the dough is lightly kneaded together, it creates color-splashed cookies sure to be a favorite of hungry pilgrims around your table. Plus, this treat can be made in advance, allowing more time for day-of preparations and activities. 

Remember to save room, and pair goodies with seasonal beverages like warm apple cider, pumpkin spice lattes or hot cocoa.
Clear plastic shaped goody bags with cute autumn cover design. Give your homemade holiday goodies in these festive bags. Perfect for cookies candies and other bite sized treats.
For a fun take home, wrap Fall Popcorn Balls in Pumpkin Patch Party Bags - guests will be joy-FULL and thank-FULL.
Wilton Pumpkin Patch Party Bags

For more Thanksgiving decorating ideas and recipes, or to purchase bakeware and other products, visit

Autumn Spice Stencil Cake Recipe


  • Favorite spice cake recipe
  • 4 cups Buttercream Icing (recipe available on
  • Ivory and Golden Yellow Icing Colors
  • Autumn Cupcake and Cookie Stencils
  • Red, Orange, Black and Green Colored Sugars
  • Brown Color Dust
    Color Dust Chocolate Brown
  • Colorful Leaves Sprinkle Mix
    Wilton Autumn Micro Leaves Sprinkles


    Spray 9 in. x 13 in. baking pan with vegetable pan spray.

    Bake spice cake in prepared pan following recipe instructions.
    Cool completely.

  • Tint about 1 cup icing yellow; tint remainder ivory. Using a spatula, smooth ice the cake with ivory buttercream. Pipe tip #21 yellow buttercream shell bottom border; pipe tip #14 shells in straight lines on top of the cake. Use decorating stencils, sugars and Color Dust to create Thanksgiving images in each square following instructions on the package. Gently press leaf sprinkles onto sides of cake.
    SOURCE: Wilton Products

Old Fashioned Herbal Tonics
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Recipe for Herb Crusted Pork
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Recipe for Spiced Cranberries
Cranberries spiced with cloves and cinnamon

Everything you need to know about growing your favorite herbs using safe, natural, all-organic methods!

Practical tips and advice on all aspects of successful herb growing.

A wealth of great ideas and helpful how-to on using herbs in cooking, crafts, cosmetics, health care, insect repellents, and more.

Illustrated herb directory featuring all the most popular herbs-- from aloe to yarrow-- each with complete information on growing, care, harvesting, and uses.
Your Backyard Herb Garden: A Gardener's Guide to Growing Over 50 Herbs Plus How to Use Them in Cooking, Crafts, Companion Planting and More

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More Herbs and Spices
Spice and Herb Information and how to use them in cooking

Simply Organic Turmeric Root Ground Certified Organic comes in 2.38 ounce containers.

What is Turmeric?

Also known as Indian saffron and yellow root, this bright yellow powder is the dried and ground rhizome of the Curcuma longa root, which is a member of the ginger (Zingiberacea) family.

Turmeric's warm aroma, bright color, and gingery/peppery taste are relied upon in cooking throughout Asia.

It's best known as the spice that gives curry powder its distinctive color.
Simply Organic Turmeric Root Ground Certified Organic, 2.38-Ounce Containers (Pack of 6)

Gardening with Charlie - Growing Food Indoors

(Family Features) - While it might be cold and blustery outside, there are a number of edible plants you can grow indoors. Some of my favorites are herbs. Growing herbs indoors successfully is all about selecting the right varieties and having the right conditions to grow them.

Here are some tips for growing herbs inside in winter.

Bringing Herbs Indoors
Window boxes filled with rosemary and parsley can be moved inside before freezing weather. Some of my favorites to grow this way are parsley, rosemary, and chives. There are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Don't worry about a few dropped leaves. Light levels in a house, even in a sunny window, are much lower than outside. Older, larger leaves will drop off and smaller, low-light-efficient leaves should form in their place.

  • Cut back on watering and fertilizing mature plants. They don't need as much moisture or nutrients inside as they do outdoors.

    Indoor herbs can be decorative as well as functional. Why not train a rosemary plant on a topiary frame for a whimsical look?

    Starting New Herbs

    Although a sunny window looks bright in winter, the available light can be only 1/10th of what's needed for plants to grow properly. That's why it's best to grow herbs under grow lights. Select full-spectrum lights and leave them on for 12 to 14 hours a day. Keep the tops of the herbs close to the bulbs and the plants should thrive.

    Grow seedlings in 3- to 4-inch-diameter pots and use only sterilized potting soil mixes that are light and airy. Many culinary herbs require well-draining soils, so the lighter the soil the better.

    Supplement the potting soil with a liquid fertilizer when watering. Use a half-strength formulation to encourage new growth. Water plants less often but more thoroughly, and only when the soil is actually dry to the touch. Add water until it drains from the bottom of the pot. Keep the air temperature on the cool side (60° to 65° F) for the best growth.

    Varieties to Try
    These herb varieties have compact growing habits and pack a flavorful punch.

    English mint (Mentha spicata) - Perhaps the best-behaved spearmint variety.

    Spicy Globe basil (Ocimum basilicum minimum) - Dense, compact form of basil, 8- to 10-inches tall. The leaves are smaller than regular basil, but taste and smell great.

    Blue Boy rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) - More compact and diminutive than standard rosemary, reaching a height of just 24 inches. Flowers freely and has excellent flavor.

    Dwarf Garden sage (Salvia officinalis 'Compacta') - Smaller leaves and more compact than regular sage, growing only 10 inches high.

    For more tips and garden information visit

    Charlie Nardozzi, a nationally recognized garden writer, book author, speaker and radio and television personality, has appeared on HGTV, PBS and Discovery Channel television networks. He teaches and inspires home gardeners to grow the best vegetables, fruits, flowers, trees and shrubs in their yards.

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    Explore the mysterious world of herbs with this magical, herbal workbook:
    Make your own healing potions, secret remedies, magical salves, enchanted syrups and special healing remedies.

    Recipes, projects, delightful stories, chant herbal songs, color in pictures, activities, grow your own garden, create healing herbal preparations!

    A Kid's Herb Book makes learning about herbs and plants fun and educational for children. They follow the friendly elf, Mr. Greenleaf, through the plant "kin-dom."

    They learn to make products from herbs, such as natural toothbrushes and homemade cough medicine. They learn about the healing properties of specific herbs. And they learn enchanting stories that can be read aloud and that awaken the imagination.

    Kid's Herb Book, A: For Children of All Ages