Herbs and Spices Cookery - Mint to Parsley

MINT (Herb):  Dried leaf of strong, sweet peppermint or spearmint herb. Sweet, cool aftertaste. Digestive aid. Mouth refreshener.Used whole, crushed, or pulverized.

Uses: Flavors soups, stews, meat, fish, sauces. Used for jelly, mint juleps.

MIXED WHOLE PICKLING SPICE (Blend):  This is generally a mixture of a dozen or more whoie spices. Sold in packages.

Uses: Used for pickling and preserving relishes, meats, and vegetables. Sometimes used when boiling beets and cabbage. Try a little bag of spice in a stew but remove it as soon as stew is flavored to your liking.

MUSTARD (Spice):  Seed of the mustard plant, pungent, hot. Sold whole or ground. English double superfine (DSF) dry mustard is best.

Uses: Vegetable, meats, salads, egg & cheese dishes, sauces.

NUTMEG (Spice):  It is really the seed of the fruit of the nutmeg tree which grows in the East and West Indies. The whole fruit consists of an outer husk, the mace (see Mace), an inner shell around which the mace curls, and the nutmeg outer kernel. May be purchased whole or ground. Use whole, freshly-grated for the best results.

Uses: The ground spice is used in cakes, pies, many different puddings, and other desserts. Very good with such vegetables as asparagus, cauliflower, and spinach. Excellent with fruit salads. It's almost a "must" for eggnog and custards and a dash certainly improves lemon sauce for puddings. Rice puddings, applesauce, and sweet potato souffle are improved with it. Try it sprinkled on fried bananas or on bananas and berries with cream. It's the best spice for doughnuts.

ONION (Spice):  Root member of the lily family, aromatic, sweet. Cold onions create less tears when chopping. Sold fresh or dried, flaked, ground or juiced.

Use in dips, soups, sauces, salad dressings, gravies, stuffings, egg and cheese dishes.

ONION SALT (Condiment):  Mixture of ground dehydrated onions and salt.

Uses: Use for any dish where onions are used. Does contain salt so other salt requirements might require reducing.

OREGANO (Herb):  Dried leaf of oregano plant a mint family herb, also called wild marjoram. It's a cousin to marjoram. Aromatic, slightly bitter. Sold flaked or fresh. Grown in Mexico, Italy.

Uses: Flavors pork, beef stew, meat sauces, omelets, "boiled" eggs, chili can carne. Use it in tomato dishes, especially Italian spaghetti sauce, in mixed green salads with or without tomatoes.

PAPRIKA (Spice):  Mildest of the peppers, pods of sweet red chili pepper, paprika is made by grinding dried large red peppers of mild flavor. Pungent, peppery but not hot. Sold ground. Hungarian and Spanish paprika are best.

Uses: The bright color makes it a popular garnish for such white foods as fish, potatoes, cottage cheese, cauliflower. Used in salad dressings, ketchups, chili sauces, in large amounts in such dishes as Hungarian goulash or chicken paprikash.

PARSLEY (Herb):  Our most common herb; the dried leaves of parsley are also known as "parsley flakes." Mild. Sold fresh or flaked. Used as a general diuretic tonic.

Uses: Fresh parsley is a garnish for almost anything up to dessert. The dried parsley is worth keeping on hand for times when the fresh green is unavailable. Dried parsley is especially nice for soups and stews; in dumplings for flavor and color.