Ingredient Guide: Spices
Stock your cabinet with these common spices and you'll be prepared for most any recipe. For best results, be sure to store them in a cool, dark place for no longer than 6 months.
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Indigenous to South America and the West Indies, these berries taste like a combination of nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves and are sold either ground or whole.
This pod, native to Asia and South America, is a member of the ginger family and has a sweet and spicy flavor. It can be purchased in ground or in pod form.
This pungent spice is the seed of the wild celery plant, called lovage. It should be used in small quantities and is most often found in potato salad and other salad recipes as well as soup and meat recipes.
This combination of ground spices includes ground chiles, cloves, coriander, garlic, cumin, and oregano.
The inner bark of a tropical evergreen tree is what we have come to know as cinnamon. There are two varieties: Ceylon and cassia. Ceylon cinnamon is lighter in color and has a mild, sweet flavor. Cassia cinnamon is the most common type sold in the U.S. and has a darker color and slight bittersweet flavor.
This spice can be bought whole, as shown here, or ground and is used in a variety of dishes from savory to sweet. Whole cloves are the uopened bud of the clove tree.
This aromatic dried seed has a nutty flavor and is available ground or unground.
This blend of up to 20 spices includes ground cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, cumin, fennel, nutmeg, pepper, and turmeric. It is commonly used in Indian cooking.
This dried ground form of the gingerroot has a peppery-sweet flavor. While it is not a good substitute for fresh ginger, it is great when used for gingerbread, curries, and other savory dishes.
This potent spice is made from finely ground mustard seeds. The two major types of mustard seeds are white (or yellow) and brown. Brown seeds are smaller and more pungent than white seeds.
This spice is the red membrane that covers the nutmeg seed but is stronger in flavor than nutmeg. Once the membrane is removed and dried, it is ground into bright yellow powder.
This ancient seed is native to the Spice Islands. It is sold whole or ground, but whole is preferred for freshness. Nutmeg graters or metal rasps work well for grating.
This vibrant red spice is made from several grindings of sweet red pepper pods. Most common commercial varieties come from Spain, Hungary, South America, and California. From mild to hot, this spice can be used as a garnish or as a seasoning.
This hot spice is the berry of the pepper plant. Black peppercorns come whole, cracked, and ground.
This mixture of spices is used for pickling cucumbers and other canned vegetables. It typically contains a mix of whole allspice, crushed by leaf, coriander seeds, mustard seeds, peppercorns, and cloves.
A general name given to a variety of hot red chile peppers, red peppers are usually dried and are available whole, flaked, or ground. Cayenne pepper, a powder made from the various ground dried hot chiles, has a bright orange-red color and is often referred to as ground red pepper.
Luckily, a little bit of this pricey spice goes a long way. It is the stigma from a crocus plant, hand-picked, dried, and used to flavor dishes such as paella and bouillabaisse.
This star-shaped pod is native to China and has a slightly bitter licorice flavor. It is commonly used in Asian cuisines and is one of the spices used in Chinese five-spice powder.
This bright yellow spice is what gives curry powder and prepared mustard their vibrant color. It is used to pump up flavor and color in a variety of dishes.
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