Herbs & Spices

Most of these herbs and spices are available in the Co-op. Any that aren’t in stock can be special-ordered.

Name Description Form Use Substitute
Allspice Spice: reddish brown berry; pungent blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves whole seeds
Excellent for spicing desserts, relishes, preserves, tomatoes, sweet yellow vegetables, soups, meats and baked goods. cinnamon
Anise Aromatic Seed: small, grayish brown, oval shaped, licorice flavor whole seeds
Delicious in cookies, cakes, fruit dishes, coleslaw, cottage cheese, salad dressings, spicy meat mixtures, rye bread and apple pie. Sometimes used to give a licorice flavor and aroma to foods. fennel
Basil (sweet) Herb: bright green leaves when fresh; brownish olive when dried; sweetly pungent fresh
crushed leaves
Brings out the best in soups, marinades, salad dressings and cheese dishes. Its special affinity for tomatoes makes it indispensable in pizza, pasta sauces and other Italian dishes. Also used to flavor herb butters. marjoram
Bay leaf
Herb: long, green leaves; woody, menthol flavor (bitter if used too freely) dried whole leaves Add 2–3 leaves to tomato sauces, soups, stews and gravies. Remove leaves before serving. mint
Caraway Aromatic seed: small, brown, crescent-shaped seed, slight licorice taste whole, dried seed Used for centuries to flavor baked goods, pickles, cheeses, coleslaw, potatoes, cabbage, carrots, green beans, sausage and cucumber salads. anise
Cardamom Spice: small, dark-colored pods; gingery-lemon, aromatic flavor whole seeds
Sweet and aromatic, cardamom is used to flavor cakes, cookies, pastries, breads, curries, custards and punches. coriander
Spice: plump, sweet, scarlet fruit of tropical capsicum plant; very piquant ground Use sparingly for a pungent zing in Mexican dishes and sauces, meats, eggs, stews and curries. (On a heat scale of 1 to 10 for chili peppers, cayenne rates an 8). chili pepper
Chive Herb: long, green tubular leaves; delicate onion flavor fresh
Delicate onion flavor is delicious in eggs, cream sauces, fish, chicken, beef, lamb and vegetable dishes. Try 1–2 TB in cottage cheese, or in dips made with cream cheese, sour cream or yogurt. scallions
Cilantro Herb: short stemmed with thin, round, slightly fringed leaves; pungent and peppery smell and taste fresh This popular Mexican seasoning imparts a mild, delicate sweet flavor. A must for authentic salsas. In Chinese cuisine it is known as Chinese parsley. Italian parsley
Cinnamon Spice: reddish brown, rolled up quill-like sticks; sweet, mildly hot sticks
A favorite baking spice. Often used in combination with cloves, nutmeg and allspice to flavor breads, cakes, cookies and other desserts. Excellent with apples, it is essential with apple crisps and pies. ginger
Clove Spice: dried, unopened buds of a tropical evergreen; strong, sweet and pungent whole dry buds
A traditional flavoring in gingerbread, cookies and other baked goods. Also delicious in curries, chili and tomato sauces, beets, squash, stewed fruits, applesauce and sweet spiced syrups. cinnamon
Coriander Aromatic seed: dried, ripe berries of cilantro plant; almost round with straight and wavy ridges; flavor of lemon peel and sage whole seeds
Used to flavor a variety of foods including baked goods, dairy desserts, puddings, meats, curries, relishes, beverages and candies. The whole seeds are used in sweet pickles, punch and to flavor coffee. cardamom
Cumin Aromatic seed: long thin seed, yellow brown in color, dry earthy taste whole seeds
An essential ingredient in most chili powders and is used to flavor curries, stews, meats, tofu and vegetable dishes. turmeric
Dill Herb: small tan seeds or feathery light leaves (weed), tangy taste resembling caraway whole seeds
dried leaves
Dill seed is excellent in potato and carrot salads, sauerkraut, breads, soups, salad dressings, and egg, potato, cabbage and meat dishes. Dill weed is great in vegetable dishes, tofu and tempeh dishes, rice dishes, fish and cottage cheese. caraway
Fennel Herb: watermelon-shaped, chartreuse seeds or fresh, short, celery-like bulbs; licorice flavor whole seeds
ground fresh stalks
A must for authentic flavor in pizza and spaghetti sauce and Italian sausage. Excellent with fish and seafood sauces. It is also used in soups, stews and sweet potatoes. Wonderful in all Italian dishes. anise
Ginger Spice: gnarl shaped, light brown root; sweet, piquant, peppery whole roots
cracked roots
Traditionally used in gingerbread and ginger snaps. Mix with soy sauce and scallions or crushed garlic for an excellent dipping sauce for egg rolls or vegetables. cardamom
Marjoram Herb: gray green leaves; musky, slight oregano bouquet dried whole leaves
A member of the mint family that enhances vegetables, meats, soups, sauces, salads and some cheeses. It also makes a delicious herb butter. basil
Mint Herb: dark emerald leaves, cool, menthol flavor whole
crushed and ground leaves
Bean and fish soups, candies, chilled fruits, cold beverages, desserts, hot teas, jellies, lamb, peas. bay leaf
Mustard Spice: tiny, white, yellow, or brown seeds; spicy, mellow, nutty whole seeds
Popularly used as a pickling spice. Add ground mustard to sauces, dips, eggs, cheese dishes, tofu and salad dressings. Yellow mustard is milder than brown. prepared mustard
Nutmeg Spice: very hard, brown, ovular seed pods; spicy, mellow, nutty whole seeds
Popular for flavoring cookies, pies, and other baked goods, especially in combination with other sweet spices like cinnamon, cloves and allspice. Add a dash to applesauce or cheese dishes. mace
Oregano Herb: grayish green leaves; strong, aromatic, slightly menthol dried whole leaves
Indispensable in Italian cooking. It has a special affinity for basil, and the two often appear together in vegetable, cheese, tomato and pasta dishes. Good in soups and stews also. basil
(mild capsicum)
Spice: scarlet pods, mild, slightly piquant ground Store carefully, away from heat or light, to preserve its color and freshness. Use in Hungarian goulash, eggs, sauces, cheese, tomato and pasta. cayenne pepper
Parsley Herb: curly small or flat green leaves; herbal, sweet flavor flakes
dried leaves
Popular as a garnish, it is also used to flavor soups, vegetables, sauces, dressings and potato dishes. Add 1–2 TB directly to your favorite dishes or reconstitute by soaking in ice water for 5 to 10 minutes. basil
Pepper Spice: round, shriveled berries; hot, biting, pungent taste. Black, white, pink and green available. whole, dried
Provides a burst of hot peppery flavor to salads and pasta. cayenne or red pepper
Rosemary Herb: grey green, curved pine needle leaves; sweet, bittersweet taste whole dried leaves
Use in soups and stews and with fish or poultry dishes. sage
Sage Herb: silver tipped, grey green leaves; strong, astringent, slightly bitter flavor whole leaves
Excellent with pork, sausage and poultry, and often found in stuffings, omelets, chowder and cheese dishes. rosemary
Savory Herb: dried, brownish green leaves, aromatic, piquant whole leaves
Commonly found in bread stuffings and dressings. Good cooked with beans and peas. sage
Tarragon Herb: long, thin, green leaves,; sweet, slight licorice taste whole dried leaves
A natural complement to fish and chicken and often found in specialty vinegars and salad dressings. Try it on salads and sauces. chervil
Thyme Herb: grey-green, curly leaves, warm, pungent slight lemony flavor whole dried leaves
Highly aromatic herb used to flavor soups, stews, sauces, cheese, stuffings, salad dressings and vegetables. basil
Turmeric Spice: yellow orange root; similar to ginger root in shape; musky, slightly bitter ground Indispensable in curry powders and Indian cooking. Good in salad dressings, eggs and rice dishes. cumin
Vanilla bean Aromatic seed capsule: very dark, long, slender seed pods; sweet, pleasantly perfumy flavor whole beans
pure extract
A classic flavoring used in sweet foods such as cakes, cookies, custards, eggnog, frostings, ice cream, milk, pastries, puddings, rice, smoothies, sweet sauces.

Herb & Spice Blends

These are a few of the herb and spice blends that are considered classics and are handy to keep available in your kitchen. When purchasing a commercial blend make sure it does not contain MSG or excessive amounts of salt.

Spice Blend Description
Apple Pie Spice A fragrant blend of cinnamon, fenugreek, lemon peel, ginger, cloves and nutmeg (or variations), perfect for any apple or fruit dish. Use it in your favorite apple pie recipe, or add 1/2 to 1 tsp. to custards, cookies, cobblers and fruit crisps or oatmeal.
Curry Powder A fine blend of turmeric, paprika, fenugreek, coriander, black pepper, cumin, ginger, celery seed, cloves, caraway and cayenne. Gives the characteristic flavors of Indian cookery to rice, vegetables, meats, sauces, eggs, soups and dips.
Chinese Five Spice Slightly sweet, but very pungent and aromatic blend of cinnamon, fennel, cloves, star anise and white pepper. Use sparingly in Oriental dishes and to season beans, poultry, meats and fruit.
Garam Masala A spicy blend of cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, cumin, black pepper and coriander for use in soups, salads, seafood and vegetable dishes.
Italian Seasoning A blend of popular Italian herbs: oregano, marjoram, thyme, rosemary, basil and sage. Adds authentic flavor to tomato sauces, pasta, cheese dishes, pizza and salad dressings.
Mexican Seasoning This blend of chili peppers, dehydrated garlic, dehydrated onion, paprika, cumin, celery seed, oregano, red pepper and bay leaf is a natural for flavoring enchiladas and tacos. It also spices up cheese dishes, sauces, potatoes and tofu.


Fresh herbs should be stored in the refrigerator with the same care that you give other leafy green vegetables. Wash fresh herbs gently and pat them dry with paper towels or dry in a salad spinner. Be sure they are as dry as possible before refrigeration as moisture invites mold growth. Then wrap the herbs in a cloth or paper towel, and wrap loosely in a plastic bag. They should keep for 3–4 days.

If you have an overabundance of fresh herbs and want to store them, snip the leaves from their stems after you have rinsed and drained them. Place the leaves, chopped or whole, in small plastic bags and store them in your freezer. They can be used directly from the freezer for cooking.

To dry fresh herbs either hang them in a dry airy room for several days until they crumble easily or heat them in a shallow baking pan in a 200°F oven until completely dried (15 minutes to an hour depending on the herb). Test the leaves often for dryness.

Dried herbs can be stored considerably longer than fresh herbs, although their flavor does diminish over time. Purchase small amounts and store them immediately in small jars or bottles with tight fitting lids. Label and date the bottles and keep them in a cool dry place away from direct sunlight. Do not keep dried herbs for more than a year.