Herbs vs. Spices

Initially we wanted to write a blog post on just herbs, but as we started writing we couldn’t help but bring spices into the picture as they’re both so different, yet similar at the same time.

The terms ‘herbs’ and ‘spices’ are often used collectively and sometimes interchangeably, which can get confusing at times. Hence this post on herbs vs. spices.

Herbs are green parts of the plant—mainly leaves and sometimes stems. Herbs can be used fresh or dried—we have a selection of fresh herbs in our fruit and vegetable section as well as a wide range of dried herbs in our deli section at Simon’s Gourmet Gallery in Chapel Hill. We’ll chat about when to use fresh or dried herbs later in the article. Fresh herbs add a refreshing flavour to dishes and are often used as garnishes (Italian basil, parsley and dill are often popular garnish choices).

Spices come from the other parts of the plant such as bark, berries, stems and roots. Spices are always dried up, and sometimes grounded prior to use. Spices can honestly do wonders to a dish by adding a beautiful flavour, inviting aroma, and colour (certain spices only, such as turmeric).

 

Fresh herbs vs. dried herbs: uses and storage

When it comes to herbs, we’re often asked when to use fresh or dried herbs. As a general rule of thumb, one tablespoon of fresh herbs can be substituted with one teaspoon of dried herbs, as dried herbs are generally more potent than fresh herbs (with Tarragon as an exception as it loses flavour when dried). Use dried herbs when braising or simmering, as the herbs will be given more time to infuse the dish. As for fresh herbs, use them in quick dishes such as salads to make the most out of your fresh purchase. If you can’t finish your fresh herbs in time, fret not! Simply place them in a zip lock bag or in a durable and well-sealed plastic bag, and freeze them. The herbs will darken, but they can be stored for up to six months in the freezer. Dried herbs will lose their intensity and go stale overtime, so be sure to renew your packet or jar of dried herbs once a year.

Leanne, our Deli Manager, has brought in a wide range of Herbies herbs and spices to our store in Chapel Hill. The Herbies range at Simon’s Gourmet Gallery include:

  • All spice
  • Angelica
  • Annatto seeds
  • Aussie fish seasoning
  • Bay leaves
  • Black limes
  • Black peppercorns
  • Bouquet Gami infusion
  • Cajun spice mix
  • Cardamom pods green
  • Chermoula
  • Chilli birds eye – whole, dried
  • Hot chilli flakes
  • Chilli powder
  • Chinese stir-fry spices
  • Grounded cinnamon
  • Cinnamon quills
  • Cloves
  • Coriander seeds
  • Cumin seed whole black
  • Curry leaves
  • Curry mix with seeds
  • Dukkah
  • Whole fennel seeds
  • Garam masala
  • Harissa mix
  • Juniper berries
  • Kaffir lime leaves
  • Laksa spice mix
  • Grounded lemon myrtle leaf
  • Malay curry powder
  • Nigella seeds
  • Grounded nutmeg
  • Shelled nutmeg
  • Paella
  • Panch phora
  • Ras el Hanot
  • Smokey BBQ spice
  • Star anise
  • Sumac
  • Tagine blend
  • Tandoori spice
  • Toasted sesame
  • Zaatar Middle Eastern spice

Please note that Simon’s Gourmet Gallery in Chapel Hill does not carry the full range of Herbies spice and herbs all the time. To avoid disappointment, feel free to give us a call to check with one of our friendly staff.

p.s. Calling all adventurous spice seekers: if you’re keen to try…we have a range of spice creams (spice + ice-cream) by Spirit House in our freezer section.



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