There are many Herbs & Spices used in cooking, and many are used universally whereas some are very regional. Unlike some specialists, who carry many of the more “exotic” ones, we try and keep those that are popular with the majority of our customers with some that are used often by different ethnic groups. Listed below are the ones we carry: I have highlighted the common name & in brackets (),  have listed the form it comes in (that we sell) & under also known as (aka), some of the other names people know it as, although these are not a full list of alternative names.


MED:     Medical uses are a guide only as many are not proven or are handed down information/folk lore.                                                                                                               C of O:   Country of Origin or main growing areas.                                                         OTH:      Other information of interest.



ALLSPICE(whole) aka Pimento, Myrtle Pepper, Jamaican Pepper, ”Kurundu”.                                                           MED: Rheumatism, flatulence, toothache, muscle aches, digestive aid.                                                                            C of O: Greater Antilles, Southern Mexico, and Central America,  now cultivated in many warm parts of the world.      OTH:                                                                                      a.)   Name first used in 1621 when an Englishman thought it tasted of  a combination of cinnamon, nutmeg & cloves.                                                         b.)   Very important in Caribbean cuisine, especially jerks & wood of plant is used in smoking meats.                                                                                                                         c.)   Used in moles (Mexican), pickling, commercial sausage making & curry powders.     d.)   In USA used in desserts & UK in cakes. Also gives Cincinnati-style chilli its distinctive flavour. It is also the main flavour in BBQ sauces.                                                               e.)   In the West Indies a liqueur is made called “Pimento Dram”.                                          f.)   Trees grow between 10 metres & 20 metres & often used as a cover for growing coffee bushes.

AJWAIN(seeds) aka  Carom Seeds, Bishop’s Weed, Ajave Seeds, Ajvain, Ethiopian. Cumin.                                               MED: Flatulence, digestive aid, nausea and vomiting, anti-spasmodic, colic.                                                                C of O: Originated in Egypt & moved to India & near east (Iran & Afghanistan) Most now produced in Rajasthan (90%) & Gujarat    [યવણો]                                                                    OTH:                                                                                       a.)   Raw it has a similar smell & taste to Thyme and is generally roasted to soften the flavour. In Erithrea & Ethiopia   [اليونان] it is often used in Berbere spice mix.                             b.)   In India it is used in heavy fried foods to aid digestion.  

ANISE(seeds) aka  Anise Seed, Aniseed, Sweet Cumin.         MED: Indigestion, flatulence, breath-sweetener, coughs, sore throat.                                                                              C of O: Possibly Egypt or West Asia but most now comes from Turkey & Spain.                                                         OTH:                                                                                      a.)   The Hindu name [सौंफ] refers to fennel, which is probably the closest description of this multi-flowered plant.   b.)   In Western cuisines it is used mainly in cakes & bread & sometimes in small quantities in stews, casseroles & sausages.  Asian cuisines tend to favour star-anise.       c.)   It is heavily used in aniseed flavoured alcoholic drinks – Raki (Turkey), Ouzo/[Ούζο] (Greece) & Pernod (France).

ASAFOETIDA  (powder) aka devil’s dung, stinking gum, asant, food of the gods, giant fennel, hing, ting, merde du diable (devil’s shit).                                                           MED:   Flatulence, fights Spanish flu & swine flu, aids digestion, contraceptive/abortifacient activity.                         C of O: Eastern Mediterraian but most from India these days.                                                                                OTH:                                                                                      a.)   Used to replace garlic & onions in some Indian castes.                                                b.)   A scent bait for wolves, catfish & pike.                                                                           c.)   It is used for repelling spirits in Jamaica & in Afro-Americans in Carribean it is used to protect & curse.                                                                                                                    d.)   Most commercial packagig contains only 30% asaphoetida with the rest being rice flour & gum arabic.                                                                                                                e.)   Despite being grown in the north of India, more is consumed in the south where more vegetarians live & use with vegetable dishes.                                                                       f.)   Powdered asafoetida looses its flavour after about 10 years, but the gum/compound lasts forever.

BASIL (dry rubbed) aka St. Joseph’s Wort.                             C of O: Various as are the types of basil -Thai sweet- (horapha [โหระพา]), holy, lemon, lime basils & sacred – (krapao [กะเพรา]), Mexican spice basil, African blue basil, Indian sacred basil -(tulasi [तुलसी]) , cinnamon basil, camphor basil, anise basil and numerous others.                    OTH:                                                                                          a.)   In Europe it is used as a base for pesto & many variations of the recipe abound, including one using Tasmanian pepper.                               b.)   Very common in Georgian cooking, especially salads & cold appetizers. A popular dish -  kitri-kamidoris salata [კიტრი-კამიდორის სალათა] combines cucumber, tomato, ground walnuts, lots of garlic and basil leaves.                                                                    c.)   Used a lot in Thai dishes, especially those of the street vendors & the scent can be smelt from most of their containers of food, on the stall. Very good sprinkled on hot & sour soups - (tom yam[ต้มยำ], and curries  (gaeng [แกง] and a Thai lemon basil - hoary basil (manglak [แมงลัก]), goes very well with fish dishes.

BAY LEAVES (dried) aka Bay Laurel, California Laurel, Oregon Myrtle, Pepperwood.Salam.                                          MED:  Once it was believed to induce abortions and was used to keep moths away from clothes. Useful in treating high blood sugar, migraine headaches, bacterial and fungal infections, and gastric ulcers.                                                   C of O: Originally from Asia Minor and spread to the Mediterranean but is found in many countries although not it cool climates. Turkey is one of the main exporters of bay leaf.                                       OTH:                                                                                                                                     a.)   Once a powerful symbol of Greek & Roman dynasties (Julius Caesar wore a head band & wreaths worn by victorious warriors) and even today used as a symbol of winning when being presented with a laurel wreath.                                                                         b.)   Bay/laurel commonly grown in Albania,  France, Belgium, Italy, Russia, Colombia, Central America, North America & India.                                                                              c.)   Used mainly in soups, stews, meat, seafood and vegetable dishes as well as classic French dishes.                                                                                                                      d.)   Mountain & cherry laurel leaves SHOULD NOT be eaten as they are toxic to humans & livestock.

BLACK CUMIN(seeds) aka Fennel Flower, Roman Coriander, Nutmeg Flower, Black Seed, Black Onion Seed, Black Caraway, Nigella Seeds, Kalonji Seeds, Karla Jeera.     MED:  Headache, digestive aid, flatulence, toothache, asthma, allergies.                                                                    C of O:  Central Asian & Northern India.                                 OTH:                                                                                      a.)   It is not commonly known outside of Iran, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and the western part of Northern India (Kashmir, Punjab). Very popular in Indian meat dishes (korma [कोरमा]) and rice dishes (biryani [बिरयानी]).               b.)   Mainly grown in Kashmir but known as himali jira [हिमाली जीरा] in Nepal & zireh kohi [زیره کوهی] or mountain cumin in Farsi and in South India & Bengal  it is known as nigella or onion seed.

CARAWAY(seeds) aka Wild Cumin, Persian Caraway, Roman Cumin.                                                                 MED: Digestive aid, flatulence, colic, antispasmodic.             C of O:  Asian & possibly Central Europe. Grown now in Finland, the Netherlands, Eastern Europe and Germany. Much is also grown in North Africa, especially Egypt.              OTH:                                                                                          a.)   Often in Europe a reference to caraway is often the Germanic version of cumin – eg  frenk kimyonu (turkish for Frankish Cumin),  saksan­kumina (Finnish for German Cumin).                                                                                       b.)   It is the base flavour for the German liqueur Kummel & Scandinavian Akvavit.           c.)   Very popular in Southern German & Austrian cuisine such as the roast pork dish Schweinsbraten & sour cabbage - Sauerkraut.                                                               d.)   It is one of the ingredients in the Tunisian paste Harissa, a firey blend of chilli & caraway.                                                                                                                                 e.)   Also used in the UK dish Caraway seed cake, flavouring cheeses such as  bondost,pultostnøkkelost and havarti. In the middle east very popular in the Ramadan dish of caraway pudding.                                                                                        f.)   Although called seeds, the part used are not actual seeds, but dried fruits of the plant.

CARDAMOM(brown & green pods, seeds & ground)              MED: Digestive aid, respiratory conditions, inflammatory conditions, liver complaints, flatulence.                                     C of O: Southern India & Sri Lanka but now the main exporting country is Guatemala. Different varieties are also grown in Thailand & Cambodia, but generally only used locally.                                        OTH:                                          a.)   Very similar name in most laungages, phoneti­cally,  e.g., Car­damom​ (German, English), kard­emomme​ (Nor­wegian, Danish), cardamomo(Italian, Portu­guese, Spanish), kardamon (Polish, Croatian, Bulgarian, Russian [кардамон]) and kard­emumma​ (Finnish).                                 b.)   Considered the third most expensive spice after saffron & vanilla it is often :horded: by spice merchants to force up the price on world markets, then “dumped” all at once to make a fortune for the merchant.                                               c.)   Most of the cardamom grown  is sold to S.E. Asian & North African markets to be used in coffee. Also the spice blend, baharat & zhoug from Yemen contain cardamom, the Moroccan  spice mixes - ras el hanout & berbere, some blends of North Indian garam masala. In Kashmir it is used in the preparation of green tea.                                             d.)   Used in Sub-Continent meat-rice dishes (Pilau, Biryani & Pilafs), Uzebkistan dish of plov [плов]. It is found in a lot of dessert dishes as well, like  gajar halva [गाजर हलवा], a creamy dessert made from milk, grated carrots, palm sugar and ground cardamom, and shrikhand [श्रीखंड], which is based on strongly sweetened thick yoghurt (curd).               e.)   Black cardamom (or brown cardamom) is a collective name of several cardamom related plants growing in mountains from Central Africa to Vietnam. Most frequently, the Nepalese cardamom is traded in the West. This spice’s taste differs drastically from that of green cardamom; neither can act as a substitute for the other. 

CASSIA(bark/whole pieces) aka Chinese Cassia, Canton Cassia, Canel, Cassia Bark.                                           MED: Diarrhea, anti-microbial, antibacterial, tonic, nausea.    C of O:  Southern China, Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam. (China & Vietnam are the major producers for commercial use.         OTH:                                                                                          a.)   Cassia has been around for centuries, being used in the mummification of the pharaohs in Egypt and several mentions in the Bible, referring to Israel.                                                                              b.)    It is an essential ingredient of Chinese 5-spice and is used in “master stocks”.           c.)    Cinnamon quills can be used as a substitute for cassia.

CAYENNE(ground) aka  Guinea Spice, Cow-horn Pepper, Aleva, Bird Pepper or Red Pepper.                                      MED: Pain-relief, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, ear infections, psoriasis, weight loss, cluster headaches.              C of O:  Named after the township of Cayenne in French Guiana.                                                                         OTH:                                                                                      a.)   Very high in Vitamin A, and also contains Vitamin B6, E & C , potassium & manganese.                                                                                               b.)   Used in many dishes but loved in USA dish buffalo wings.

CHILLI(whole, crushed, ground & chilli oil) aka Chile Pepper; Red Pepper, Capsaicin.                                                   MED: Pain relief, arthritis and neuropathie, decongestant, peptic ulcers, colds, bronchitis, sinusitis.                                  C of O:  Latin America, especially Mexico, but now found worldwide.                                    OTH:                                                                                              a.)   For chilli “hotness” see separate list of chillies/sauces under SCOVILLE UNITS                                                       b.)  The chilli is actually a fruit & the berries are called “pods”. In India the leaves are sometimes used to infuse flavour into a drink.                                                                                   c.)   If you wish to lessen the heat of a chilli, remove the seeds & veins inside the fruit.                                                   d.)   Scoville units are measure from dry chillies as fresh are milder by one magnitude.       



CINNAMON(quills & ground) aka Sweet Wood & Real Cassia.                                                                              MED: Diabetes, antibacterial, diarrhea, indigestion, loss of appetite, intestinal colic.                                                          C of O:  




CLOVE(whole & ground) aka Ding Heung.                              MED: Local anesthetic, aphrodisiac, nausea, vomiting, flatulence, indigestion, tooth aches.                                           C of O:   Endemic in the North Moluccas (Indonesia) but also now grown in Pemba Island near Zanzibar (Tanzania). The island of Pemba is nearly covered in groves of cloves & it is said that sailors can smell the island before they see it. Also found in Madagascar.                                                        OTH:                                                                                                                                     a.)   2500 years ago in the Han Dynasty cloves were a deodoriser, and visitors wishing to see the Emperor had to chew cloves to rid themselves of “undesirable” smells.               b.)   The island of Ternate in Indonesia, only 9km in diameter, has the remnants of 10 fortresses, as the Portuguese, Spanish, British & Dutch protected their spice monopolies during the 16th & 17th centuries.                                                                                          c.)   Indonesia consumes 50% of the world’s production of cloves, not for cooking purposes, but for smoking in clove cigarettes (kretek). All over Indonesia you will smell the sweet pervasive smell of these cigarettes.                                                                          d.)   Cloves are extremely popular in the cuisines of China, Sri Lanka, the Moghuls of Northern India, Middle East & North Africa. In Ethiopia they are added to coffee roasting for the so called “coffee ceremony”. Used a lot in pilafs, pilaus & biryani rice dishes.             e.)   In Europe mainly used in cakes, sweets & preserves & pickling as Westerners tend not to like the strong taste as much as Easterners/Asians.                                                    f.)   Often used in spice mixtures such as garam masala, Chinese 5-spice, Baharat, ras al hanout, Gâlat Dagga (grains of paradise), Bebere, Quatre Epices & Mexican mole sauces.                                                                                                                                 g.)   Worcestershire Sauce is dominated by cloves and contains other ingredients such as tamarind, chilli, garlic, paprika, fish extract, soy sauce, treacle, lemon juice or vinegar and salt. There is no  “standard” recipe for this sauce which is used on vegetables, meat & scrambled eggs by the British.                                                                                             h.)   Found in masala chai (tea) in India & in USA called chai tea. Used with cumin in a few Dutch cheeses as well.                                                                                                          i.)   Clove oil is used to relive tooth pain & to treat acne. In the late 15th Century, a kilogram of gold cost around the same price as 7 grms of cloves (around $385 as of Dec 2011) although in the 17th & 18th Centuries in Britain, at todays rate, cloves would have been $55,000 a kg.

CORIANDER(seeds, ground & minced in jars) aka Cilantro, Chinese Parsley Plant, Dizzycorn, Japanese Parsley.             MED: Anti-microbial, flatulence, loss of appetite, digestive aid, headaches.                                                                       C of O : Southern Europe, North Africa & SW Asia                  OTH:                                                                                          a.)   In the USA the seeds (fruit) are known as coriander but the leaves are called cilantro.                                                b.)   Commonly used in the cuisines of South Asian, Middle Eastern, Central Asian, Mediterranean, Indian, Texan, Latin American, Portuguese, Chinese, African, and Scandinavian cuisine.                                                                                                           c.)   The roots have a more intense flavour than the leaves & are used a lot in Thai dishes. In Tasmania, due to AQIS (Australian Quarantine Inspecion Service) regulations, the roots must be removed before coming into the State as they are very fine & can contain soil & contaminants. Locally grown coriander roots are allowable but most local growers are contracted to supply the ‘ big’ two (supermarkets) .                                                                 d.)   Coriander is an essential ingredient of curry powder, garam masala & many masalas as well as in Middle Eastern ras al hanout, berbere & baharat.                                           e.)   Very common in Hunan (China) and Maharashtra (India), Thailand, in nearly every Vietnamese dish, but no so common in Malaysia & Indonesia. It is also essential in the Yemini spicy paste zhug [زوق ], but still a certain resistance in the west with Europeans.


CUMIN(seeds & ground)                                                           MED: Diuretic, flatulence, diarrhea, indigestion, muscle spasms.                                                                                  C of O: West Asian but commercially grown in India, Iran, Indonesia, China and Southern Mediterranean.                         OTH:                                                                                          a.)   Commonly known as jeera in many countries with the seeds, which are actually fruits, used either whole or ground. Aroma is intensified with pan frying or roasting.                                                                   b.)   Most popular in Latin America, North Africa & Asia but less popular in Europe despite it having been very popular in the Roman Empire.                                                                  c.)   In India it is used in garam masala (except Muglai garam masala where they prefer the sweet-aromatic mix of powder sprinkled on the dish, rather than cooking the mix into the dish), tandoori spice mix & Bengali Phanch Phoran mix. In South India it is used in thin lentil curries sambar podi [சாம்பார் பபாடி]. Also used in making of cumin/jeera pappadams.                                                                                                                          d.)   In Arabic dishes like stews in tagines [طاجن ], cous-cous, hummus, falafel [فلافل ] and the Sudanese dish tamiyah [طعميه ], cumin is popularly used, especially in North Africa.

DILL(seeds) aka Dilly, Garden Dill, Dill Seed.                           MED: Colic, digestive aid, mild bowel disorders, promote milk production, flatulence.                                                      C of O:    Mediterranean and the South of Russia.                 OTH:                                                                                          a.)    The foliage or “weed” generally is used fresh whereas the “seeds” or correctly, the fruits, are used dried.               b.)    A sweet & aromatic spice is a cross between anise & caraway in flavour.                                                                                                                c.)    In Europe it is mainly used in bread, pickles, fish & flavouring vinegars.                     d.)    In Scandinavia, dill weed is more or less known as the “national spice” and used with fish or in sauces & dressings for fish (rollmops, gravlax etc.)                                               e.)    In Iran is is used with beans & rice dishes, especially (baghali polo [باقالی پلو]). In the Punjab, it is used with lentils or dal [दाल] dishes.

FENNEL(seeds & ground) aka Large Fennel, Large Cumin, Sweet Fennel, Common Fennel.                                               MED:  Flatulence, intestinal colic, lactation stimulant, muscle spasms, eyewash.                                                                  C of O:  Mediterranean & through to Middle East.                    OTH:                                                                                         a.)    Leaves and stems can be eaten as a vegetable especially the Florentine (Italy) Finocchio variety. The fruits (seeds) are generally used as a spice.                                                                              b.)     Fennel pollen or “Spice Of The Angels” is an expensive by-product  and is being produced in California, USA.                                                                                                 c.)      Fennel is the main ingredient of Chinese 5-Spice and is used a lot in long slow cooked dishes & “master sauces”.                                                                                      d.)     Bengali & Nepalese it is an ingredient in Phanch Phoran & is used with duck dishes in Kashmir, and in fiery Sri Lankan curries as when roasted/toasted it gets a spicy rather than sweet flavour.                                                                                                                e.)    It is also used in European rye breads, pickled vegetables & herb vinegars and sweet pastries and is an ingredient in the French Herbes de Provence.                                f.)     Mediterranean dishes of meat, poultry and seafoods are often seasoned with fennel & Italian useage in sausages & pasta sauces.                                                                         g.)    It is the primary flavouring in Absinthe.                                                                         h.)    In Australian & USA it is considered a weed of invasive nature as it grows welll from see that scatters in the wind.                                                                                                 i.)      In India & Pakistan, it is an ingredient in the breath freshening & digestive aid  mukhwas.                                                                                                                               j.)      It is said that fleas do not like fennel & it appears when  the powder  is scattered around kennel & stables, fleas seem to be reduced or disappear.


FENUGREEK(seeds, ground & dried leaves (methi)) aka Foenugreek, Goat’s Horn, Bird’s Foot.                                MED: Appetizer, diabetes, aphrodisiac, fever, tuberculosis, dyspepsia.                                                                               C of O :  Mediterranean (especially Greece) and through to China.                                                                                 OTH :                                                                                     a.)     Indians eat the leaves (especially fresh & cooked like spinach) which are known as METHI. They are bitter but aromatic. The toasted seeds have a nutty flavour. Also popular in Indian pickles.                                                                 b.)     Use in Indian bread – Methi Naan & also sprinked on potato curries like we use parsley as a garnish.                                                                                                             c.)     Khoreshte ghorme sabzi [خورشت قرمه سبزی] is mutton slowly stewed in this aromatic herb sauce with the addition of dried limes.                                                                         d.)    Berbere (Ethiopian) spice contains small amounts of fenugreek, & any good curry powder will contain amounts as will the Tamil sambar podi mix and one of the ingredients of Panch Phoran.                                                                                                                 e.)    The Yemini dish hilbeh consists of mainly fenugreek & chillies.                                   f.)     Popular Nepali dishes:  achar [आचार] (hot and sour salad from bean sprouts and julienned cucumber and carrot) and also in the kochila [कोचिला] (highly spiced pan-fried ground buffalo meat which is eaten either raw or pan-fried).                                               g.)    The main growing areas are in Nepal, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Argentina, Egypt, France, Spain, Turkey, Morocco & China.                                                                           h.)    A June 2011 study at the Australian Centre for Integrative Clinical and Molecular Medicine found that men aged 25 to 52 who took a fenugreek extract twice daily for six weeks scored 25% higher on tests gauging libido levels than those who took a placebo.

GALANGAL(powder & pickled in jars) aka Siamese Ginger, Galangale, Greater Galangal, Galang, Laos.                             MED: Bowel spasms, dyspepsia, angina, nausea, anti-oxidant.                                                                              C of O:     South East Asia, probably southern China; it is now cultivated in Indo­china, Thai­land, Malaysia and Indo­nesia.                                                                                     OTH:                                                                                         a.)    Commonly use in Asian, normally fresh, and especially in the Thai dish tom khaa [ต้มข่า] .                                                                                                                                       b.)    Used in stir fries when chopped into juliennes and added instead of ginger. Also very commonly used in curry pastes.


GARLIC(flakes, ground & paste in jars) aka Poor Man’s Treacle, Clown’s Treacle, Gousse D’ail.                                   MED: Antioxidant, cancer prevention, high blood pressure, respiratory conditions, lower cholesterol.                                 C of O:   A native of Central Asia over 6000 years, it is now grown in many countries.           OTH:                                                                                               a.)    Very few diseases and even fewer pests attack garlic & said to repel rabbits & moles.                                                b.)    China grows 10.5 million tonnes (about 71%) of the worlds garlic with India (4.1%), Korea (2%), Russia (1.6%) & USA (1.4%). In the USA  every State except Alaska grows garlic. The other 16% is spread around the world & generally only used for domestic consumption.                                                                                                                        c.)    If growing yourself, leave the stems on when storing to prolong the life & freshness. Many countries, especially in Europe, plait the whole garlic plants together & hang them in a well aired & cool location.                                                                                                     d.)    If using in oil to infuse the flavour, use oil within 7 days as botulism can set in very quickly. Commercially made garlic oils have acids or chemicals added to eliminate the disease, but oil still should be refrigerated.                                                                           e.)   The sticky juice within the bulb cloves is used as an adhesive in mending glass and porcelain in China.

GINGER(ground & paste in jars) aka Jamaica Ginger, East Indian Pepper, Jamaica Pepper.                                                                          MED: Digestive aid, bowel colic, carminative, dyspepsia, aphrodisiac. (Many countries have “folk lore” recipes for medical uses, too numberous to mention here, but a search on Wikipedia – Folk Medicine, will show many of the uses.)                                                  C of O:   Southern China but now in sub & tropical Asia, India (50% of world supplies), Brasil, Jamaica & Nigeria.                                          OTH:                                                                                                                                    a.)   Most people like raw ginger, especially those in S.E. Asia where it is a highly valued spice.                                                                                                                                     b.)   Cooking ginger will increase its pungency, but decrease its freshness. Many Asian dishes add grated ginger at the last moment to get freshness & “heat” into their dishes.      c.)   Ginger makes a refreshing tea in the tropics (Indonesia- Jahe Wangi) and a warming beverage in the chill of the Himalayas (Sikkim), and is a healthy drink as well.                     d.)  Japanese cuisine has two different versions of pickled ginger: Beni shōga [紅生姜, 紅しょうが, べにしょうが] is made from fresh ginger cut to thin strips and a red pickling brine which owes its pink colour to perilla leaves; it is eaten as a condiment or relish to warm foods. Another type is gari [がり, ガリ] prepared from very young ginger rhizomes, which is either pale or slightly pink; is often served with sushi.               e.)   Used many years ago to flavour malt beers, (and ginger wine) & is still used in drinks such as ginger ale and ginger beer, both can come in non or alcoholic versions.                                                                                                                 f.)   Dried ginger has a different flavour and is used in Chinese 5-Spice mixes and in curry powders. In Europe is is used in tasty crackers and to enhance the flavour in soups and gravies.                                                                                                                                 g.)   Ginger is one of only five spices mentioned in the Quran, the others being olive, garlic, pomegranate and onion.

JUNIPER BERRIES(whole)                                                    MED: Skin growths, upset stomach, urinary tract disease, gout, kidney tonic.                                                                      C or O:  Europe & Asia                                                    OTH:                                                                                         a.)    Juniper berries are known as “cones” and take 2 years to mature.                                                                               b.)    Grows best in cold climates & is of the conifer family.     c.)     Important in alpine region cuisines and an essential ingredient in sauerkraut and is popular with venison & other “game”meats.                                                                       d.)    Pregnant women & people with a kidney weakness should avoid junipers.               e.)    Trees grow from 20-40 metres tall.                                                                               f.)     It is used in flavouring of alcoholic drinks – gin, jenever  and sahti style beers, generally only found in Finland and which have to be kept cold until drunk and have a slight banana flavour.

LICORICE(dry sliced root) aka Sweetroot, Liquorice, Black Sugar, Licorice Root.                                                       MED: Coughs, flatulence, colon cleanser, sore throat, ulcers. C of O:  China & India.                                                              OTH:                                                                                          a.)    Licorice is 50 times sweeter than sucrose (cane sugar). b.)    Not often used as a spice but more in medicinal usage. c.)    Small amounts in Chinese 5-spice actually enhance the flavour.                                                                                                                                d.)    Suspected that it may increase blood pressure & hypertension.                               e.)    Used in tobacco to enhance sweetness & produces glycyrrhizin which opens the airways to allow more smoke & the toxins to enter the lungs.


MACE(ground & broken pieces) aka nutmeg skin.                   MED: Digestive aid, flatulence, appetizer, nausea, diarrhea.

(For more details, see Nutmeg)



MINT (rubbed)                                                                           C of O: Unknown. Grows in nearly every country.                   OTH:                                                                                      a.)   There are over 236  genera & between 6900-7200 varieties of mints, the largest group in the Salvia family.



MUSTARD(Black & yellow seeds, powder & mustard oil) aka Yellow Mustard, Brown mustard, Grocer’s mustard, Indian Mustard.                                                                            MED: Dyspepsia, laxative, bowel conditions, liniment, epilepsy.                                                                                  C of O:   Thought to have been developed in Roman times but more likely developed as a condiment in France back in in the 13th Century.                     OTH:                                                                                        a.)  A Roman cookbook from the late 4th or early 5th century; has a recipe that calls for a mixture of ground mustard, pepper, caraway, lovage, grilled coriander seeds, dill, celery, thyme, oregano, onion, honey, vinegar, fish stock, and oil, and was intended as a glaze for spit-roasted boar.                  b.)   Dijon in France is considered as the mustard capital of the world.                                                                                                                               c.)   The town of Tewkesbury in the U.K. is noted for its high quality mustard balls ( a mix of coarse-ground mustard seed combined with flour and cinnamon, moistened, rolled into balls, and dried) and easily stored then mixed with either vinegar or wine to make mustard when needed. Mustard balls were mentioned by William Shakespeare in King Henry IV.       d.)    In 1904, bright yellow mustard for hot dogs, was introduced to visitors at the St. Louis World Fair, by the R.T. French Company.                                                                                                                                               e.)   English mustard is generally stronger than French, which is stronger than German.     f.)    Mustard is one of the widest spread of condiments in the World, being used in all continents.                                                                                                                                 g.)   Mustard is also an emulsifier that can stabilize a mixture of two or more unblendable liquids such as oil and water. Added to Hollandaise Sauce mustard can reduce the possibility of curdling.                                                                                                               h.)   The “temperature” of mustard can be varied (black seeds are hotter), and as the liquid being used to mix the mustard is warmed, the heat reduces. For maximum heat, chilled water, vinegar, wine etc. means hotter mustard. When cooking with mustard seeds, heating them reduces the “heat” and make them milder to taste.


NUTMEG(whole & ground) aka Noix Muscade, Pala.                   MED: Diarrhea,, dyspepsia, colic, digestive aid, appetite loss.   C of O:  Banda  Island Indonesia, but now also grown in Grenada in the West Indies.                                                  OTH:                                                                                               a.)  Nutmeg is not a nut but the kernel  of an apricot like fruit.      b.)  Mace is thin membrane found between the stone & pulp & is any shade between purple & bright red until dried when it turns amber.                                                                                                                         c.)  Nutmeg starts to loose its flavour when grated/ground & a nut should be used up quickly.                                                                                                                                   d). Nutmeg can be  hallucinogenic but side effect of nausea stops most people trying to get “high”on it.                                                                                                                       e.)  Nutmegs are sold by size, the larger the nut, the higher the price.                                 f.)  In the 11th C Arab traders took nutmeg to Europe where it was mainly used to flavour beer.                                                                                                                                      g.)  The Dutch through the Dutch East-India Company (Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie, VOC) had a monopoly on nutmeg until the 18thC, and could charge what they liked, until the French smuggled some plants to Grenada & started growing there.            h.)  Used in Garam Masala (India) & Ras el Hanout (Morocco), Baharat (Saudi Arabia) & Galat Dagga (Tunisia) spice mixes.                                                                                       i.)  In western cuisine it is used in cakes,  crackers, stewed fruits, cheeses & béchamel sauces for fondues,  ravioli (Italy),  mousaka (Greece),  jerk mixes (Jamaica), & the Dutch use a lot in soups, stews & sauces as well as vegetables like cabbage & potatoes.

OREGANO(rubbed & ground)                                                   C of O: Mediterranean area                                                       OTH:                                                                                          a.)     Member of the mint family & dried is usually much stronger than fresh.                                                                b.)     Used extensively on the “poor man’s sandwich”- pizza, it took over from basil ás the flavour imparted was stronger.  c.)     Greeks & Italians use it with pickled olives  & fetta cheese and The Greeks us it to stuff whole roast lambs at Easter as well as sprinkled on the outside of the cooking carcass.                                                                                        d.)    Used quite a bit in southern USA in Mexican inspired dishes like chilli con carne.      e.)    Widely used in Turkey, Palestine, Syria, Greece, Italy, Philippines, Spain, Portugal, & Latin American cuisines.


PAPRIKA: (Sweet & hot powders) aka  Pimento Pepper, Hungarian Pepper.                                                            MED: Source of vitamin A, source of vitamin C, antioxidant, weight loss.                                                                              C of O:   Brazil-Bolivia area of South America but now is grown around the World with Hungarian being considered the best available. In the USA it is generally grown in California & Texas.                                                                                OTH:                                                                                                                                        a.)  Only small amounts of capsaicin – the “heat” of peppers & chillies, but is high in Vitamin C.                                                                                                                                b.)   As paprika contain high amounts of sugar, it should not be over heated as it will turn bitter.                                                                                                                                         c.)   It is an ingredient of baharat [بهارات], used commonly in the Persian Gulf Area, & Ras-el hanout & berbere  mainly with mutton dishes.                                                              d.)   In Europe, Hungary if the biggest user but it is used fresh like a chilli in many countries as it is milder in flavour. Smoked Spanish Paprika is becoming the “trendy” spice in many Western restaurants these days. In Germany, most potato chips (crisps), pretzels & other snack foods are flavoured with paprika.                                                                                   e.)   The Hungar­ian national dish is gulyás, which basically means cattleman, and is also used to name the cattleman’s favourite food: a thick and spicy soup made from beef, varying vegetables (potatoes, carrots) and a particular type of pasta. To get the right flavour and colour, chopped onions are lightly fried in pig’s lard; when the onions take on a pale yellow colour, paprika powder is stirred in and fried for a few more seconds before the remaining ingredients are added. It is the art of goulash making to fry the paprika powder as long as possible (to bring out its flavour), but stop the frying before it turns bitter (which may happen very quickly).


PEPPER(whole, cracked, ground) black, green, white & Szechuan Pepper.                                                            MED: Digestive aid, colds and coughs, nervine tonic, muscular pain, gum inflammation.                                           C of O:   Malabar on the southwestern coast of India, in Kerela State.                                                                             OTH:                                                                                       a.)   About 2000 years ago pepper reached Malaysia & Indonesia with plantations starting in Brazil in the 1930′s. In the latter part of the 1900′s more plantations were set up in China, Thailand, Vietnam & Sri Lanka.                                 b.)   India has dropped to second place with only 50,000 tonnes exported, to Vietnam who now export 90,000 tonnes a year, with Indonesian production in decline as prices dropped. c.)   Kochi (ex Cochin) is still the pepper trade centre of India and mainly deal in black with some white pepper being traded as well.                                                                                d.)   Indian black pepper commands the highest prices as it is stronger & more flavourful than other cultivars.                                                                                                                   e.)   Bangka Island, south of Sumatra, produces the best quality white pepper.                   f.)    Brazil & Madagascar both produce black, white & green pepper, but the quality isn’t as good as from other regions.                                                                                                   g.)   The name Pepper is derived from the Sanskrit name of long pepper, pippali [पिप्पलि, पिप्पली]. That word gave rise to Greek peperi [πέπερι] and Latin piper, which both became chiefly to mean black pepper instead of long pepper.                                                        h.)   Both Arab & Venetian traders monopolised the pepper trade and the price became so high that most European customers couldn’t afford pepper until around the 15th Century when sailors started bringing pepper back from their travels.                                               i.)   With such high prices, most people were forced into using substitutes such as the Mediterranean myrtle & chaste tree berries, the African grains of paradise & negro pepper, Central European water pepper & Germans used savory. These days most are no longer cultivated but still grow in rural areas.                                                                    j.)   In centuries past, long pepper, a close relative of black pepper from India, and cubeb pepper from Jawa, have been common in European cooking; today, they have fallen into oblivion in Western countries, but are still much in use in India and Northern Africa, respectively. Sichuan pepper from China and Japan and pink pepper from South America, although still not too common, have become more popular in the last decades in Western cookery; maybe, the same will happen to Tasmanian pepper.                                            k.)   With Szechuan/Sichuan pepper, the seeds & stems have little flavour and feel like fine sand, but the pods or husks contain the active ingredients causing the lemony flavour and tongue-numbing phenomenon.                            l.)   Black pepper is harvested just as it ripens, before turning red, and either stored at room temperature overnight, or blanched in boiling water, to disinfect & start the fermentaion where corns turn black & are dried. White pepper is harvested after it has ripened and left for a week in cold running water to remove the outer skin (exocarp/mesocarp), then dried to form white peppercorns. White is considerably more expensive than black as the extra work to obtain & also the risk of crop damage waiting for peppercorns to ripen fully.                                                                                 m.)   In Madagascar, another way of processing pepper was developed: Green pepper is early-harvested pepper, far from ripening, that is processed in a way to exclude fermen­tation. This is achieved by pickling the freshly harvested pepper corns in salt or vinegar, or by quick drying at elevated temperature or in a vacuum (lyophilization). Because of its unripeness, green pepper has only small pungency and a fresh, herbal, green flavour.   n.)   Picking ripe peppercorns and pickling, to retain their colour, produces red peppercorns, but that are fairly rare and expensive and more for show rather than flavour.                 o.)   Pink pepper comes from a different species of plant and have very little flavour – just a decorative item, and come in dried or pickled form, but fairly scare supplies.                         p.)   Pepper also goes well in dessert dishes, such as strawberries & green peppercorns, strawberry rissotto, and dark chocolate with a pink of black pepper is a fast growing trend in European restaurant desserts.                                                                                                                              q.)   Pepper is used in Iraqi Baharat mix, Moroccan Ral-al-hanout, Tunisian gâlat dagga or grains of paradise & Ethiopian Berbere in the Middle East and in India, curry powders, garam masala & sambar podi, with white pepper very common in Creole, USA,  dishes.

ROSEMARY (rubbed)                                                         MED:  Said to aid the memory, and may help in preventing some cancers, strokes & Alzheimers Disease’.                    C of O: Mediterranean Sea  coastal areas, but now grown in the USA, UK & Mexico.                                                      OTH:                                                                                        a.)   Most popular in Mediterrean countries, Italy & France in long slow cooked dishes as it doesn’t loose its flavour.         b.)   Goes well with lamb, fish & poultry as well as vegetables like egg plant/aubergines, zucchinis/courgettes & tomatoes.                                                                                       c.)   Dried rosemary has a stronger flavour than fresh, so use with restraint if dried.         d.)   It is said rosemary improves the memory, hence the use on Rememberance Day in the UK & ANZAC Day especially in Australia & New Zealand.                                             e.)   Rosemary is high in iron, calcium & B6.

SAFFRON(whole threads & imitation powder) aka Kesar, Autumn Crocus, Hay Saffron, Crocus, Gatinais Saffron.         MED: Menstrual condition, antispasmodic, flatulence, sedative, menstrual disorders.                                                C of O: Eastern Greece, possibly Crete. Now most grown in Spain, Kashmir (India) and Iran, accounting for approx. 300 tonnes a year. (80% of world production.)                               OTH:                                                                                      a.)   Saffron is now growing in Southern Tasmania, but is still in very small quantities (about 1 kg/year) & quite expensive compared to imported saffron, which itself is expensive.  (In markets & bazaars, saffron trades for over AUD6.00/gram).                     b.)    There is no substitute for saffron, but people use turmeric or annatto to simulate the colour and in sweets the use of rosewater, vanilla, kewra essence or tonka beans, is used as a flavouring.                                                                                                                        c.)   The three best known recipes where saffron MUST be used are the Italian risotto alla Milanese, and from the French Provençal fish soup bouillabaisse & Spains national dish paella Valenciana. It is also used in biryani dishes & lassi drinks in Indian/Middle East.

SAGE (ground)                                                                     MED:   Sage is often used as a remedy for respiratory infections, congestion, cough, sore throats, appetite stimulant, indigestion and is said to have a beneficial effect on the liver. It is also given for fever, night sweats and urinary problems. Some women even find that it helps with menopausal symptoms.                                                          C of O: Different varietes come from Mediterranean, Asian Minor & Central Europe.                                                                                                    OTH:                                                                                                                                      a.)   Italians are the biggest user of sage, using it with meat & poultry, esppecially veal which is quite bland. Saltimbocca alla Romana is the most well known of dishes – veal steaks fried together with proscuitto & sage and deglazed with marsala from Sicily. Also used with gnocchi & noodle dishes.                                                                                      b.)   Central & Southern American species should not be used as a substitute for Mediterranean sage, and most are grown as ornamental plants rather than culinary. With common names like Flowering Guava, Peach, Tangerine, Honey Melon & Lemon Sages, they sound quite edible.

SALAM (leaf)  Indonesian





SESAME(black & white seeds, sesame & gingelly oils) aka Semsem, Simsim, Bene Seeds, Beniseed, Gingelly, Gingili.                                                                                  MED: Blood tonic, laxative, acne, tinnitus, dizziness.              C of O:  Tropical Africa or India, it cannot be determined for certain. Now grown mainly in India, Korea & China.            OTH:                                                                                      a.)   Because triply unsaturated fatty oils are missing from sesame oil, it have a very long shelf life.                                                                              b.)   Generally sesame oil is not used for cooking food in, especially the darker oils, but used as a dressing or condiment. The fragrant oil would impart too much “sweetness” to food cooked in it and make it unpalatable. Japanese tempura [テンプラ] is made by deep-frying battered vegetables in a mixture of one part sesame oil and ten parts vegetable oil.                                                                                                                         c.)   Toasted sesame seeds are used a lot to “dress” Japanese & Korean foods, like western chefs use parsley and coriander to sprinkle of a dish for plate appeal.                 d.)   Dried but untoasted sesame seeds are popular in the Near East and occur in the Jordanian spice mixture zahtar (see sumac) and in the Egyptian dukka [دقه] (see thyme). All over Western Asia, tahini [طحينية], a paste made from ground dried sesame seeds, is popular and used to thicken and flavour sauces and gravies. Hummus [حمص], a bread spread popular in Israel, Syria and Lebanon, is made from cooked chickpeas, tahini, olive oil, a hint of lemon juice and fresh parsley.                                                                            e.)   Mexican mole Poblano is a  special sauce which has a large number of ingredients that lead to an unsurpassed rich flavour: chicken stock, broiled tomatoes and tomatillos, raisins, three different kinds of paprika (the holy trinity of ancho, mulato and pasilla), a handful of tropical spices (cloves, allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg and black pepper), sesame seeds and almonds are combined with a most unusual ingredient, unsweetened chocolate or, even better, toasted cocoa beans. After a long simmering period, the sauce is refried in lard which makes its flavour even more deep and unforgettable.

STAR ANISE(whole) aka Chinese Anise, Anise Stars, Badain.                                                                              MED: Diuretic, colic, flatulence, rheumatism, digestive aidC of O: Southern China & Vietnam.                                   OTH:                                                                                       a.)   Generally an 8-pointed star, but occasionally up to 12 point carpels are found.                                                         b.)   Closely related to the magnolia family.                            c.)   Most exported from China, but also locally grown & used in Philippine, Jamaica, Laos & Vietnam.                                                                                                                             d.)   An ingredient in Chinese  5-Spice (Star Anise, Cassia/Cinnamon, Cloves, Fennel & Szechuan Pepper).                                                                                                               e.)   A batter made to coat meats & vegetables for deep frying, made of corn starch & egg whites and often has 5-spice added.                                                                                     f.)   In Vietnam is is used in beef soups or phở  and in northern Thailand it is common in slow cooked stews whereas in the south it is added to iced tea.                                        g.)  Thai iced tea (cha dam yen [ชาดำเย็น]) is brewed from black tea and flavoured with star anise powder, sometimes also cinnamon, licorice, vanilla and orange flowers; it is enjoyed with crushed ice, sugar and evaporated milk. To obtain a bright orange colour, azo dyes (typically, tartrazine) are usually added.                                                                        h.)   In Northern India/Pakistan/Iran region, it is one of the ingredients of garam masala and also is used in biryani rice dishes.                                                                                          i.)   From India, it was introduced into Indonesia, Malaysia & Southern Thailand, but isn’t used as much as it used to be when the Sultans kitchens adhered to the Moguli style of cookery.                                                                                                                                  j.)   In the west, it is mainly used as a cheap substitute for anise, used in mulled wines as well as alcoholic drinks like Pernod, Anisette, Pastis and Absinthe.

SUMAC(coarse ground) aka Sumach, Sicilian Sumac, Tanner’s Sumach, Sumak, Soumac.                                        MED: Bowel conditions, cold, flu and fever, water retention, headaches, kidney anemia.                                                       C of O:   Mediterranean Sea coast, Wild in Sicily, and as far as Western Asian, Arabia & Central Asia.                             OTH:                                                                                        a.)   A member of the genus Rhus, it is mildly toxic, especially the ornamental varieties, and should not be confused with the edible ones.         b.)    The dried fruits are usually sold crushed, with salt, and are a redish-purple in colour.                                                                

SZECHUAN/SICHUAN PEPPER (whole) – see Pepper          MED:   May alleviate toothache.                                               C of O: In the Himalaya area & South, Central, East & SE Asia.                                                                                     OTH:                                                                                       a.)   Despite being found through out a lot of Asia, it is not greatly used except in Central China & Japan (where it is better known as sansho pepper translated from the Chinese  shan jiao [山椒] ).                                                                                                                 b.)   Used as one of the ingredients of Chinese 5-spice powder.                                         c.)   A common condiment in Central China is jiao yan [椒盐, 椒鹽]. This is a combination of Sichuan Pepper & coarse salt, roasted until smoke starts to appear, then ground together as a coarse powder, to sprinkle on dishes at the table.                                          d.)   The Japanese have a similar, albeit a more refined version called shichimi tōgarashi [七味 唐辛子, しちみ とうがらし]. It comprises of Sichuan/sansho pepper, chilli, tangerine or orange peel, balck & white sesame seeds, poppy seeds and seaweed (nori), all are coarsely ground for use at the table.                                                                          e.)   Sichuan pepper isn’t used to make a dish “hot” but as it has a slight numbing effect, similar to eating salt & vinegar potato chips/crisps, making people think it is hot.                f.)   After a 2005 ban by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) in the U.S. due to a citrus canker bacterium risk, the incidence of smuggled Sichuan pepper dropped considerably.

TAMARIND(powder, concentrate, block, Whole pods) aka Tamarindo, Indian Date.                                                    MED: Laxative, digestive aid, wounds, sore throat, ulcers, liver disease.                                                                           C of O:  East Africa, but now fond in many tropical countries & through out Asia.                                                             OTH:                                                                                         a.)   Most commonly used in hot & sour dishes originating out of South India, along with the dark colour.                                                                      b.)   Generally the pulp is sold dry and has to be soaked for some time, then only the water concentrate is used. These days for convenience jars of the concentrate can be purchased in Asian shops & some supermarkets.                                                                 c.)   The Portuguese dish porco vinho e alho, is the basis of a Goan hot & spicy pork Vindaloo. The Portuguese  were the biggest influence on the state of Goa and were there up until the 1960′s, well after the British handed over most of India on August 15, 1947 on the declaration of Independence. For Hindus & Muslims, a chicken version has been adapted.                                                                                                                                     d.)   In Indonesia, Java is unique in its sweet & spicy sauce dishes, using tamarind & either palm sugar or kecap manis (sweet thick soy). The other main flavours are fermented shrimp paste (terassi) and peanuts.                                                                       e.)   Tamarind is an ingredient in a very western condiment – worcestershire sauce.             f.)   In Asia, especially Thailand & Vietnam, fresh tamarind pods are used as they are less astringent in their fresh state rather than dried.                                                                       g.)   The Philippines use a lot tamarind in dishes, especially fish soup/stews, with most people using a dried powdered form, but in the barrios where the trees grow, fresh pods are used. (I have has a soup made of boiled fish bones with tamarind leaves to flavour, a very poor peasant soup, that was sharp & not unpleasant for what it was.)                                                                               h.)   Tamarind pulp is rolled around a seed, then rolled in either sugar or salt and sold as candy in several countries. In Thailand they also have a version with added chilli to add a bit of heat to the refreshing balls of candy.                                                                             i.)   The tree gives a lot of shade and is quite tall, growing 12-18 metres (40-60ft) tall and is an evergreen & only found in the tropics, usually with a good rainfall, and can produce up to around 175 kg of fruit a year.                                                                                               j.)   Although native to Sudan & tropical Africa, Mexico & Asia are the main users and production is highest in these regions with Southern Indian the third largest producer. Southern Florida in the USA, Brazil, Costa Rica, Cuba, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua & Puerto Rico also have large plantations.

TARRAGON (leaves)                                                              MED: Said to prevent viruses & some cancers, ridding children of intestinal worms, toothaches, a substitute for salt for those who are on salt restricted diet & relief of rashes & skin irritations.                                                                           C of O:   Central Asian – probably Siberia.                               OTH:                                                                                         a.)   A slight anise flavour it is a little used herb, which should always be used fresh. Many other varieties, and generally inferior to the European variety, are used and often in dried forms.  Russian tarragon is almost flavourless and in the USA it has been replaced by the sweeter Mexican tarragon.                                                        b.)   Very popular in France & an ingredient of herbes de Provence,  fines herbes & bouguet garni. It is preferred as a fresh rather than dried herb.                                               c.)   French & German tarragon is used in sauces based on sour cream or mayonnaise or with mushrooms or salads. It is also used to flavour vinegar & olive oil for salad dressings. It is an essential ingredient in sauce béarnaise.                                                                                     

THYME (rubbed)                                                                       MED:  Produces thymol, an antiseptic used in mouthwashes, as a tea it helps coughs & bronchitis.               C of O:   Southern Europe, but also found in Eastern Europe & North Africa & now a lot grown in USA.                                  OTH:                                                                                          a.)   Thought to have been used back in days of Egyptian mummification procedures.                                                       b.)   Very popular as a fresh herb in France, tied in bundles with other herbs and added to dishes while cooking, as a bouquet garni, and removed before serving. Also one of the ingredients of herbes de Provence.                                                                                       c.)   Zahtar from Jordan & dukka in Egypt add thyme with other ingredients to make these mixes for coating meats or adding to olive oil to dip bread into as a snack.                           d.)   Central European use is mainly soups, fish, poultry & egg dishes or lemon thyme added to herbal vinegars as dressings. In the U.K. it is second only to mint and in the USA it is used in a lot of Creole dishes and in Jamaica it is part of the jerk mixes.                         e.)   Fresh thyme isn’t as strong or “smoky flavoured” as dried and goes better with dishes like ratatouille or fish. Dried goes best with spicy foods & meats.

TURMERIC(ground) aka Yellow Ginger, Indian Saffron.           MED: Anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, low cholesterol, cancer and HIV, arthritis.                                                                       C of O:   Possibly S.E. or South Asia, but due to long trade, and origin is vague.                                                                   OTH:                                                                                         a.)   Turmeric in many languages translates to “yellow root” which is a good description.  Others describe it as yellow ginger as it looks like a ginger rhizome.                                                                                 b.)   India produces most of the worlds crop, but consumes nearly 80% of what it produces. Usage dates back over 4000 years & is essential in cooking, some dying and has religious uses as well.                                                                                                       c.)   Indian cookery uses turmeric in most dishes – meats, vegetables & large quantities with lentils. It is a component of all curry powders, but unlike in Indonesia, it isn’t used to “dye” rice, but when a yellow rice is required, Indians use saffron (usually Kashmiri) to get the flavour and colour.                                                                                                               d.)   On Bali, Indonesia, where a large population of Hindus still live, nasi kuning, a rice dish cooked in coconut milk with turmeric to colour the rice, is very popular and is the favoured offering to the Gods at Temples. (On Java, hinduism has been abolished in favour of Islam but people still offer “yellow rice” to the deities.)                                                                       e.)   In Western cultures, turmeric isn’t greatly used except to colour foods, especially prepared mustards.                                                                                                                   f.)   Staining is a bit problem for people, not only their hands & clothing (where splashed), but pots, cutting boards etc. The dye however isn’t light-proof and can disappear with as little as an hour in direct sunlight.                                                                                             g.)   Nizamabad in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh is known as “turmeric city” as they are the largest producers & traders in Asia.                                                               h.)   When used as a colouring in foods, it is listed as E100, and is found in many pickles, relishes & mustards.                                                                                                                 i.)   Turmeric is used in a lot of sunscreens for colour & said to be an anti-aging agent and skin toner and it is said to repel ants, although no scientific reason can be given but anecdotal evidence says it works.                                                                                           j.)   Turmeric is used in many religious rituals in India & is also used in one in Micronesia.

VANILLA BEANS (whole)                                                         MED:   Used in aromatherapy & said to be a mild aphrodisiac  but not scientifically proven.                                 C of O:   South East Mexico & Guatemala, although today Madagas­car and Réunion Islands & Indonesia are the biggest producers & exporters.                                                 OTH:                                                                                         a.)   The “bean” is actually a pod and most of the flavour comes from the seeds & oil surrounding the, inside the pod.                                              b.)   Vanilla is part of the orchid family.                                                                                     c.)   Most countries have a similar name for vanilla, the only spice that does.                       d.)   Vanilla is an ancient plant and was used by Mayans & Aztecs in a drink they made with water, cocoa beans & spices & vanilla.  In the 17th Century, European nobilty made the drink, but used milk rather than the contaminated & polluted water.                               e.)   The poor quality & poorly named “vanilla ice cream” usually doesn’t contain vanilla, unless it is an expensive one & you can find the small black seeds in it. The “vanilla” flavour usually comes from a by product of wood waste at paper factories or through chemical construction. To “cover” the flavour, western & some eastern ice creams are flavoured with other produce some of which include : lemon, orange, pomegranate, mango, purple yam (ube), coconut, almonds, tonka nuts, lemon verbena, lavender, rose, kewra, saffron, pandan leaves, pistachio, garlic & chilli to mention some.                             f.)   In Mexico vanilla flavoured cigarettes are usually flavoured with tonka beans rather than vanilla, although Mexican vanilla isn’t of high quality.                                                               g.)   Since the turn of the century, Tahitian vanilla has been very popular in “trendy” restaurants & cafes, and is expensive as it is scarce and of a different variety.



We also have some blended lines & some other products that aren’t true spices/herbs & some of these are:

Curry Powders (blends of many spices), Five-Spice, Garam Masala, Mixed Spice, Panch Phoran, Cajun Mix, Mixed Spice, Mono Sodium Glutemate (MSG), Wasabi Powder (Green Horseradish).

HARISSA PASTE – you can either buy a tube of prepared paste from the shop or you can make four own, following recipe below.

Harissa is a common spice paste seasoning in the Maghreb of Northern Africa, especially in Tunisia. It is used to add flavor to couscous, pasta, sandwiches and soups, either as a condiment or as an integral ingredient of dishes.

HARISSA PASTE. (North African peppers and spice paste)

Makes about 3/4 cup

  • Paprika — 1/4 cup
  • Cayenne pepper — 1-2 tablespoons
  • Ground cumin — 1-2 tablespoons
  • Ground caraway (optional) — 1 tablespoon
  • Ground coriander (optional) — 1 tablespoons
  • Salt — 2 teaspoons
  • Olive oil — 1/2 cup


  1. Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl to form a paste. Will keep fresh for 2-3 months if stored refrigerated.


  • The amount and proportion of spices can be varied according to your taste.
  • Add 2-3 cloves of garlic or 1-2 tablespoons of tomato paste for a richer, rounder flavor.
  • Substitute 3-4 New Mexico, ancho or other dried chilies for some or all of the paprika if you like. Soak the chilies in warm water first to soften them up.
South America, first you give us the tomato, then coca & now this, annatto. Without annatto we’d be forced to eat bland natural looking butter – “Heaven forbid.” You can thank annatto for providing the pigmentation to many “yellow looking” manufactured foods that pack supermarket shelves. Back to basics, annatto’s flavour is described as being earthen & sharp. The best way to use annatto is to make an infusion. To wit, add 1 part annatto to 4 parts mild oil & fry gently. Allow this infusion to cool then strain it to remove the seeds. Store it as you would any oil. This infusion may be added to rice dishes, used to start stocks & sauces, or simply as a condiment. Found in many countries, including Philippines, where ours originate from.



Preparation time: 10 minutes Ingredients: 1/4 cup olive oil, 5 cloves of garlic, 1 tbsp fresh parsley, 1 tsp cayenne pepper
Method: Place the garlic, parsley and cayenne pepper in the TasteMate ™ and shake to combine. Open and add the oil and shake again to thoroughly mix. Store in the refrigerator in an air tight container. Top tip: The best way to maximize the flavour in this rub is to let it sit for a few days in the refrigerator so that the garlic can flavour the oil.
Let the flavouts mix and you’ll get a great garlicky rub.

This classic rub is perfect for pork roasts. Enough to cover a 2-3kg roast.
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Ingredients: 1 Tbsp black pepper 1 Tbsp paprika 2 tsp sugar 1 tsp flaked salt ½ tsp dry mustard ½ tsp cayenne
Method: Place all the ingredients in the Taste Mate™ and shake to combine. Work half the mixture into the meat 12-24 hours before cooking. Apply remaining rub before roasting.
This rub combines the flavours of sweet and heat. You can adjust the heat by using mild or medium chilli powder. If you really want to spice it up, then add extra cayenne.
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Ingredients: 1 Tbsp paprika 1 Tbsp mild or medium chilli powder 1 Tbsp brown sugar 1 Tbsp ground black pepper 1 tsp cayenne 1 tsp garlic powder 1 tsp flaked salt
Method: Place all the ingredients in the Taste Mate™ and shake to combine. Apply rub to each side of the meat.

This is a good, sweet rub that you can adjust the heat of by adding more or less of the chilli powder or by using hot or mild.
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Ingredients: 1½ Tbsp brown sugar 1½ Tbsp flaked salt (coarse flaked salt works best) 1½ Tbsp paprika 1½ Tbsp chilli powder (choose a hot or mild powder depending on your tastes) 1½ Tbsp ground black pepper
Method: Place all the ingredients in the Taste Mate™ and shake to combine then pack firmly around meat 12-24 hours before roasting or grilling. Wrap in plastic wrap or place in a large plastic bag.


This is a great basic rub with enough heat to make it interesting. You can use this rub on all poultry, no matter how you prepare it.
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Ingredients: 1 Tbsp flaked salt 1 Tbsp onion powder ½ Tbsp garlic powder ½ Tbsp red chilli flakes
Method: Place all the ingredients in the Taste Mate™ and shake to combine then rub over the entire surface of the turkey, inside and out. Do your best to work the rub in under the skin. Let sit for about 2 hours.


Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Ingredients: Ingredients: 1 Tbsp sugar ½ Tbsp paprika ¼ Tbsp onion powder ½ Tbsp mixed flaked salt and cracked black pepper 1/8 Tbsp garlic powder 1/8 Tbsp chilli powder 1/8 Tbsp lemon pepper ¼ Tbsp dried sage 1/8 tsp dried basil 1/8 tsp dried rosemary Pinch cayenne pepper
Method: Place all the ingredients in the Taste Mate™ and shake to combine, then store in an airtight container. Keep in a cool, dark place


This wet rub should be a thick paste once mixed. It can be used on any kind of meat, but is particularly good on poultry. If you do use it on poultry be sure to get it under the skin. Preparation – 10 minutes
Ingredients: ½ cup crushed real bacon bits ½ cup minced parsley ½ cup tomato paste 1 Tbsp cracked black pepper 1 paprika
Method: Place all the ingredients in the Taste Mate™ and shake to combine. Store in an airtight container and refrigerate.


This rub will add a delicious Creole flavour to anything you want to grill or smoke.
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Ingredients: ½ cup Creole mustard ½ cup minced onion 1½ Tbsp minced garlic 1 Tbsp hot pepper sauce ¼ cup dry Cajun spice
Method: Place all the ingredients in the Taste Mate™ and shake to combine Store in airtight container in the refrigerator.


This recipe calls for a lot of bay leaves. The real secret to fried poultry is to get the rub well on the surface of the bird before it hits the oil. Preparation time – 10 minutes
Ingredients: 1½ Tbsp crushed bay leaves 1 Tbsp hot Creole seasoning 1 tsp dried thyme 1 tsp dried oregano ½ tsp garlic powder ½ tsp black peppercorns
Method: Place all the ingredients in the Taste Mate™ and shake to combine Rub mixture generously inside and outside poultry pieces. Refrigerate overnight before frying.

Okay, this isn’t a simple rub, but it is a great one. There are a lot of flavours in this mixture and it’s a great spice rub for anything.
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Ingredients: 3 small dried red chillies 1/3 tsp Hungarian paprika ½ tsp whole cumin seeds 1 whole clove ¼ tsp fenugreek seeds ¼ tsp flaked salt 1/8 tsp black cardamom seeds 1/8 tsp black peppercorns 1/8 tsp coriander seeds 1/8 tsp ginger, grated Pinch of
Method: Place all the ingredients in the Taste Mate™ and shake to combine

This is a quick and easy way to add a great Greek flavour to most anything you want to cook. This is one rub you’ll want to keep close at hand to rub in or sprinkle on most anything.
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Ingredients: ½ tsp dried oregano 1/3 tsp onion powder 1/3 tsp garlic powder ¼ tsp flaked salt ¼ tsp cornflour ¼ tsp fresh ground black pepper ¼ tsp beef stock powder ¼ tsp dried parsley flakes 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
Method: Place all the ingredients in the Taste Mate™ and shake to combine, then store in an airtight container. Keep in a cool dark place.


Basically, this is a cheese rub that contains herbs and spices for flavour and olive oil and red wine vinegar to turn the mixture into a thick paste. Use this rub on any meat to add that great Italian flavour.
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Ingredients: 2 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese 1 Tbsp olive oil 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar 1 tsp dried basil 1 tsp dried oregano ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper 1 clove garlic, minced
Method: Place all the ingredients in the Taste Mate™ and shake to combine and store in a nonreactive airtight container.


This rub is loaded with flavour.
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Ingredients: 1 Tbsp garlic powder 1 Tbsp onion powder 2 tsp allspice 2 tsp brown sugar 1 tsp dried ground chipotle chili 1 tsp dried thyme 1 tsp cinnamon ½ tsp dried lemon zest ¼ tsp cloves ¼ tsp nutmeg 1/8 tsp hot chilli powder
Method: Place all the ingredients in the Taste Mate™ and shake to combine and store in an airtight container. Keep in a cool, dark place.


To make it a little more hot and spicy, increase the mustard powder and black pepper. Preparation – 15 minutes
Ingredients: 2 Tbsp paprika 1 Tbsp flaked salt 1 Tbsp sugar 2 Tbsp mustard powder 1 Tbsp chili powder 1 Tbsp ground cumin 2 tsp freshly ground black pepper 1 tsp garlic granules 2 tsp cayenne
Method: Place all the ingredients in the Taste Mate™ and shake to combine and store in a tightly covered container. You’ll want to keep some in a shaker next to the grill or stove. Keeps indefinitely but won’t last long.


This spice rub is perfect for any lamb recipe, it gives a great, Middle Eastern flavour.
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Ingredients: ¼ small onion, chopped 1 tsp lemon juice 1 clove garlic 1 tsp white vinegar 1 tsp olive oil 1 tsp flaked salt 1/8 tsp ground black pepper 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper 1/8 tsp cinnamon Pinch nutmeg Pinch ground cloves
Method: Place all the ingredients in the Taste Mate™ and shake to form a paste. Rub this mixture over the surface of the meat making sure to get it evenly distributed. Plan on allowing mixture to sit on the meat for 1 hour before you cook it.


This wet rub is a great seasoning for anything you want to grill or smoke. The combination of herbs and lemon juice is classic.
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Ingredients: ¼ small onion, finely chopped 2 Tbsp olive oil 2 tsp lemon juice 2 Tbsp fresh coriander, chopped 2 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped 1 cloves garlic, minced 1 tsp paprika ½ tsp ginger ½ tsp flaked salt (kosher) ¼ tsp cumin 1/8 tsp turmeric
Method: Place all the ingredients in the Taste Mate™ and shake to combine, and store in an airtight container and refrigerate.


This is a classic wet mustard rub that really sticks to the meat. You can use different types of mustard in this recipe in order to change the flavour of the rub.
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Ingredients:½ cup Dijon mustard ¼ cup minced parsley 2 Tbsp dried orange or lemon peel 2 Tbsp rosemary leaves, crushed 1 Tbsp black pepper 1 tsp flaked salt
Method: Place all the ingredients except the mustard in the Taste Mate™ and shake to combine. Stir the mixture through the mustard then store in refrigerator in an airtight container.


This rub has a great southwestern flavour.
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Ingredients:½ cup ground cumin or crushed cumin seeds ½ cup minced cilantro ½ cup tomato paste ¼ cup minced garlic ¼ cup vegetable oil 2 Tbsp red pepper flakes
Method: If you use cumin seeds, roast them quickly in a hot pan for a minute to get the flavours out before you crush them. Place all the ingredients except the oil in the Taste Mate™ and shake to combine. Open the Taste Mate™ and add the oil then shake well again to mix. Store in the refrigerator in an air tight container.


This wet rub not only has the ability to add flavour, but because of the papain in the papaya’s natural tenderizing power, it helps to keep meats tender.
Preparation Time: 10 minutes 2 tsp sugar 2 tsp soy sauce 2 tsp black pepper 1 tsp flaked salt ¼ papaya, peeled and seeded
Method: Slice papaya into thin slices. Combine sugar, soy sauce, black pepper and flaked salt in the Taste Mate™ and shake to combine. Mix until sugar and flaked salt dissolve. Rub mixture over the surface of the meat you want to season. Place half the papaya slices on the bottom of a glass baking dish. Place meat on top of slices. Cover meat with the other half of the slices. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.


This is a great all purpose poultry rub. It works well on grilled chicken wings or even deep fried turkey. Use Hungarian sweet paprika because it has a much richer, sweeter flavour.
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Ingredients:3 Tbsp Hungarian sweet paprika 1 Tbsp black pepper, freshly ground 1 Tbsp celery salt 1 Tbsp sugar 2 tsp onion powder 2 tsp dry mustard ½ tsp cayenne 2 tsp lemon zest
Method: Place all the ingredients in the Taste Mate™ and shake to combine. Store in an air tight container in the refrigerator. Lasts for about 4 to 5 months.


This rub will give fish or poultry an authentic Indian flavour that is as colourful as it is tasty.
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Ingredients:1 tsp ginger 1 tsp cumin 1 tsp coriander 1 tsp paprika 1 tsp turmeric 1 tsp flaked salt 1 tsp cayenne
Method: Place all the ingredients in the Taste Mate™ and shake to combine, then store in an airtight container.


This rub adds orange flavour with nutmeg and cloves to give you a delicious flavour to any white meat.
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Ingredients:2 tsp ground ginger 2 tsp brown sugar 2 tsp orange zest 1 tsp finely ground black pepper 1 tsp flaked salt Pinch ground nutmeg Pinch ground cloves
Method: Place all the ingredients in the Taste Mate™ and shake to combine, then store in an airtight container.

Taste Mate™ Cocktails

Ingredients:½ orange slice 1 cube sugar 2 dashes Angostura bitters ¼ cup rye or bourbon whisky Place the orange, sugar and bitters together in the Taste Mate™ and shake until the sugar is mostly dissolved. Fill a glass with ice; add the whisky then the Taste Mate™ mix. Garnish with a maraschino cherry, and perhaps an additional orange slice. Serve with a swizzle stick and/or straw.


Ingredients:½ cup bourbon whisky 4 to 6 sprigs of mint 2 sugar cubes Put the bourbon, mint, and sugar into the Taste Mate™ and shake to dissolve sugar and blend mint leaves. Let stand for a bit to help release the mint flavour. Add ice, and shake well to chill, then strain into a glass filled with shaved ice.


Ingredients:¼ cup bacardi or vodka 1 teaspoon sugar 1 lime Wash the lime, and cut it into quarters. Put limes and sugar into the Taste Mate™ and shake hard to mix the flavours. Add the rum or vodka and shake again. Fill with ice, and shake again.


this refreshing drink will put your friends in a holiday mood.
Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Ingredients:1/3 of a lime, coarsely chopped 150ml guava nectar 2 Tbsp ginger beer, chilled 1 Tbsp white rum Crushed ice, to serve
Method:Place the lime in the Taste Mate™ and shake until crushed. Place the guava nectar, ginger beer, rum, lime and any juice from the Taste Mate™ in a large jug. Stir until combined. Fill serving glasses with ice. Pour the guava mixture evenly among the glasses. Serve immediately.


Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Ingredients:½ orange, halved ¼ ruby red grapefruit, coarsely chopped 2 tsp caster sugar ¼ cup crushed ice 1 Tbsp rum (white) 1 Tbsp limoncello 1 Tbsp chilled tonic water
Method:Place the orange, grapefruit and sugar in the Taste Mate™ and shake until they’re slightly crushed. Pour the mixture into a glass. Top with ice. Pour over the rum, limoncello and tonic water to serve.


after a long day with this refreshing citrus cocktail.
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Ingredients: 1 red grapefruit, washed, dried, halved 3 tsp caster sugar Crushed ice, to serve 1½ Tbsp vodka
Method:Cut half the grapefruit into 2cm pieces, removing seeds. Squeeze juice from remaining grapefruit half into a jug (you will need ¼ cup juice). Place the grapefruit pieces and sugar in the Taste Mate™ and shake until the fruit is crushed. Transfer to a serving glass, reserving the juice. Pour the reserved juice into the jug. Fill the glass with crushed ice. Add the vodka to the jug and stir until well combined. Pour the vodka mixture over the ice and stir until combined. Serve.


lime leaves give this classic Cuban cocktail an Asian twist.
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Ingredients: 1 lime, coarsely chopped 5 large fresh mint leaves 5 kaffir lime leaves, coarsely torn 1 Tbsp brown sugar 2 Tbsp rum (white) 3 large ice cubes Chilled soda water, to serve
Method: Place lime, mint, kaffir lime leaves and sugar into the Taste Mate™ and shake to crush the limes and mint leaves and the sugar has almost dissolved. Add the rum and ice cubes and shake well. Pour the mixture into a tall glass. Top with soda water and serve immediately.



(This list compiled with the help from Wikipedia, Lovetoknow Herbs,  Gernot Katzer’s Spice Pages & other sources & my own knowledge TasteMate.)


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