Herbs and Spices Cookery - Allspice to Caraway

ALLSPICE (Spice):  Pea-sized fruit or berry of myrtle family tree, a West Indian tree. Whole or ground. Sometimes called Jamaica pepper. Flavor resembles a blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves - hence the name.

Uses: Whole in pickling, gravies, meats, fish dishes; ground in or on cakes, cookies, puddings, relishes, tomato sauce, preserves, pot roast, steak.

ANISE (Spice):  Licorice-flavored fruit of small parsley family plant found chiefly in China and Mexico. Greenish-brown oval seed, similar to caraway. Seed or extract.

Uses: Licorice candy, herb tea, Anisette, baking, salad dressing, seafood. Sprinkle some on sweet rolls. Add teaspoon to cookie batter.

BASIL (Sweet Basil - Herb):  Leaf of a plant of the mint family, native to India and Persia. Sweet - minty, clove-like, lemon - lemony. Fresh and dried flaked. Called "Herb of Kings" by Greeks. Also called "tomato herb" by Italians.

Uses: Italians use it in tomato paste. French flavor soups, meat pies, stews. Add some to peas, squash, string beans. Sprinkle over lamb chops before broiling. Wonderful in spaghetti sauces, tomato soup, on fish, cheese and egg dishes, especially omelets.

BAY LEAVES (Laurel - Herb):  Aromatic, pungent, shiny green leaf of evergreen laurel tree, native to Mediterranean area. Remove leaf after cooking. Used by Greeks to crown Olympic heroes.

Uses: For pickling, stews, pot roasts, sauerbraten, sauces for shrimp and fish, gravies, soups, spiced vinegars, tomato mixtures.

BOUQUET GARNI (Herb Bouquet - a blend):  Bunches of herbs and sometimes spices tied together or enclosed in a piece of cheesecloth and removed and discarded after cooking. A usual combination consists of parsley, celery leaves, and onion, and a sprig of thyme. Various combinations are used for soups and stews. For example, parsley, thyme, and clove are often used for lamb stew.

CAPER (Spice):  Bud of the caper bush. Piquant, spicy. Comes as seed, normally bottled in liquid, or extract. Drain and rinse well to remove salt.

Uses: Garnish for seafood, vegetables, marinades.

CARAWAY (Spice):  Dried fruit of plant of parsley family, sweet, comes as seed pod or ground. grown in Northern Europe.

Uses: In rye bread and rolls. Add to sauerkraut, cabbage, noodles, asparagus, French fried potatoes, soft cheese spread, cookies. Sprinkle on liver, kidneys before cooking.