Updated: Jan 20

Ask the first three persons next to you if they use spices or herbs of any kind in their diet. You’ll agree spices and herbs are here to stay.

The link between spices and health dates back to ancient times. With the help of research, spices and herbs usage signify health and wellness.

Today in Nigeria, the spice trade is experiencing a boom; A rise in the number of merchants and the types of spices available in the market. Thanks to the increased awareness of spice benefits.

A spice is a seed, flower, bark, root that are dry, while culinary herbs are mostly leaves that has a certain amount of water and, can be dried as well. Therefore, spices are dry while herbs are moist; and both are natural food flavoring.

Whatever your spice or herb need is, there is still a lot to learn about them, particularly everyday natural flavoring.

Here are 15 fun facts about spices and herbs:

1. Any ground spice is prone to air, light, and humidity; This makes it lose its potency fast. So always close your spice jar lid appropriately. Don’t sprinkle your spices/herbs directly overheat; your spice pantry should not be too exposed to sunlight.

2. Herbs are better dried under an airy shed and not sunlight. Because the heat of the sun can reduce or damage the health benefit of the herb.

3. You can marinate your meat or fish right from the beginning of storage. Use spice to marinate meat right from the beginning of storage.

4. Pepper accentuates food to taste. No matter how bland a meal is, an ample amount of pepper heat will make a food agreeable to the tastes bud.

Cardamom tastes good in almost anything edible. It’s a super spice.

6. It is unnecessary to peel fresh ginger: most often than not, we peel the papery bark of fresh ginger before use. If the ginger is sand-free, Wash, crush and, use.

7. Curry powder is an integral part of a tasty jollof rice. Therefore, if you’re not sure about a curry flavor, don’t use it for jollof rice.

8. When food needs an ample amount of heat to cook, spices should be added towards the end of cooking or halfway through so you do not cook-away the flavor.

9. We have mainly four types of onions in Nigeria. White onion, shallots, spring onion, and red onion. Each of these, serving a different flavor purpose. Red onion is the best option for a recipe that calls for raw onions.

10. Spices and herbs are excellent seasonings. You can cut down salt and replace it with spices and herbs.

11. A good broth made with an ample amount of spices or salt-free blends will require little to no salt when using it to cook.

12. Ginger alone is an excellent spice. However, dried ginger is a complementary spice. It works well in dry blends and rubs.

13. Garlic powder can be a substitute for fresh garlic Because both taste the same. The difference is garlic powder is stronger in flavor than its fresh counterpart; And, This applies to onion and ginger. However, for these two, there is a slight difference in taste.

14. Infused oil is another good flavoring. You can these oil using olive and fresh herbs of choice like rosemary, oregano, and dill. These oils are easy to make and can go rancid quickly. Therefore, care should be applied when preparing infused oils. Or better still, make it in small quantity so you can finish it in 3-5 days.

15. Peanuts are flavors too. The secret to any nutty peanut flavor is to use a suitable peanut for the said recipe.

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