Herbs 4x3

What is a herb?

In culinary terms the word “herb” refers to any green or leafy part of a plant used for seasoning and flavouring a dish, not necessarily for substance.

Spices 4x3

What is a spice?

Any other part of a plant used to flavour and season a dish during the cooking or preparation process. No consideration should be made to whether it’s dried or fresh.

Parts of a plant that could be a spice

  • Seed Coriander 1x1

    The coriander seed is a spice, while the coriander leaf is an herb.

  • Fruit Star Anis 4x3

    Black pepper is the berry of a vine and star anise is the fruit of a tree.

  • Bark Cinnamon 1x1

    Cinnamon is the inner bark of a tree.

  • Root Ginger 1x1

    Ginger and turmeric are good examples of rhizomes (mass of roots).

  • Bud Clove 1x1

    Clove is the unopened flower bud of a tropical tree.

  • Resin Tarmarind 1x1

    Tamarind is the sticky pulp found within a pod of a tree and referred to as a resin.

  • Aril Nutmeg 1x1

    Mace is the lacy covering of nutmeg.

Cinnamon Hero 4x3

Whole spices vs. ground spices

Whole spices and ground spices both have their own pros and cons. Generally speaking, whole spices bring more flavour, but they might require a slightly more skilled craftsperson when using them. Ground spices are more convenient and easier to use. However, they will lose their flavour quicker than their whole counterparts. At Paulig, we always buy whole spices if possible – to maximise the taste but also to keep control of the content.

Pepper Hero 4x3

The importance of essential oils

Essential oils are in effect the essence of a plant. They tend to oxidize and dissipate quickly, which is why the term volatile oil can be used. An essential oil is much lighter than say olive oil which is a fixed oil. The level of essential oil in an herb or a spice is usually an indication of quality and flavour content.

Basil 4x3

The many ways to dry spices

There are many ways of drying herbs and spices. Some are natural, some involve complex and modern machinery – from open air drying in sunlight to controlled temperature drying in heated chambers. As a business we always strive to use the best method of drying to preserve the quality, taste and appearance for each individual herb or spice.

Spices 4-3

Looking after your herbs and spices

When dried herbs and spices lose their flavour and colour it’s partly because of oxidation. This process is enhanced by exposure to oxygen, high temperature and light. That’s why you should keep herbs and spices in a cool and dark environment. Doing this will improve their shelf life and taste!

Dive deeper into the world of spices and herbs!