What Are Spices and How To Use

Spices are aromatic or pungent plants or plant parts that are used to flavor or season food. They are usually obtained from the bark, root, stem, seed, fruit, or flower of a plant. Some of the most commonly used spices include black pepper, cinnamon, cumin, nutmeg, ginger, and turmeric. Spices can be used in many different forms such as whole, crushed, ground, or as an extract. They can be used in both sweet and savory dishes, and can also be used for medicinal purposes. Spices have been used for centuries in many cultures to add flavor and nutritional value to food and also have been long used for medicinal properties as well.

How To Use Spices

There are many ways to use spices in cooking, and the method you choose will depend on the dish you are making and the type of spice you are using. Some common ways to use spices include:

  1. Whole: Whole spices, such as cinnamon sticks and whole nutmeg, can be added to a dish and removed before serving, or can be added during cooking and left in the dish for added flavor.

  2. Crushed: Crushed spices, such as crushed red pepper flakes, can be added to a dish for a burst of flavor.

  3. Ground: Ground spices, such as ground cinnamon or ground black pepper, can be added to a dish for a more subtle flavor. They can also be added to rubs, marinades, and sauces.

  4. Infused oil or butter: Spices can be infused into oil or butter to create a flavorful base for cooking.

  5. Dry Roasting: Some spices can be dry roasted to release its essential oils, which bring out a rich aroma and deeper flavor.

  6. Blending/Mixing: Mixing 2 or more spices together can create a unique taste, example of the most known is garam masala.

It is important to note that different spices require different amounts of time to infuse a dish with flavor, and some should be added at the beginning of cooking while others should be added towards the end. It's also good practice to taste as you go and adjust the seasoning accordingly.

15 Spices that are a must have
  1. Black pepper
  2. Cayenne pepper
  3. Cumin
  4. Curry powder
  5. Paprika
  6. Garlic powder
  7. Turmeric
  8. Nutmeg
  9. Allspice
  10. Rosemary
  11. Thyme
  12. Oregano
  13. Basil
  14. Mustard seed
  15. Cardamom

Note that this list is not exhaustive and there are many other spices that can be used in cooking and seasoning.
The above spices are commonly used in a variety of dishes and cuisines, and are considered pantry staples by many cooks.

Not sure how to use spices.
Let's start easy by adding them to Black Tea

Black tea is a versatile tea that can be enjoyed on its own or with a variety of spices added to it.
Some popular spices that can be added to black tea include:

  1. Cinnamon: This spice imparts a warm, sweet flavor and aroma to black tea.

  2. Cloves: These small, dried flower buds add a sweet, warm and slightly pungent flavor to black tea.

  3. Ginger: Fresh or dried ginger root adds a warm, spicy flavor to black tea.

  4. Cardamom: Cardamom pods or ground cardamom can be added to black tea for a unique, sweet flavor and aroma.

  5. Star Anise: star anise is another spice that is known to give a licorice and sweet taste to the tea.

  6. Black Peppercorn: a small addition of black peppercorn can give a unique and subtle kick of spiciness.

  7. Nutmeg: a pinch of ground nutmeg can give a warm, sweet, and slightly nutty taste.

  8. Lemon: A slice of lemon can be added to black tea to give a refreshing citrus flavor and aroma.

It is important to keep in mind that the above list is not exhaustive and there are many other spices
that you can use to flavor black tea. It's also important to use good quality spices for the
best taste and to adjust the quantity based on personal preference.