Kitchen Secrets: My Best Tip (Herbs, Spices And Seasonings) - The Kitchen Garden: Fresh Herbs and Flavorings Blog at - 223251

The Kitchen Garden: Fresh Herbs and Flavorings

Kitchen Secrets: My Best Tip (herbs, spices and seasonings) 
Feb. 17, 2011 7:07 am 
Updated: Mar. 21, 2011 7:15 pm
I can't thank you all enough for putting on your thinking caps and sharing your best tips.  I really enjoy reading (and re-reading) them.

Due to popular demand :)  I'll repost a few of the herb-related tips, but if you think of anything... any tip at all, please add it to the list.  I guarantee it'll be of use to many.

My first tip is to fry seed spices (cumin, coriander, cardamom, etc) in a cast iron pan (don't add any oil) for just a minute or two, until they start popping and are fragrent, then grind them.  They'll be much more flavorful.

For those who don't want to re-read tips from the previous posts, just scroll down the comments until you don't see the Marvel image any more (plus I've tried to keep them in order).

For first-timers, there are previous posts with all kind of tips. (Just click on archives.)

I'll continue to collect these and work on organizing them, once I get back to where I can use a computer for more than a few minutes a day.... hopefully in a couple more weeks.

Keep those cards and letters (and tips) coming!

All the best,

Have Spices Will Travel
Photo Detail
Wall of Herbs
Photo Detail
Feb. 17, 2011 8:06 am
Hi, quick one for now. Nusturshum flowers ae full of flavour and an asset to any salad. try them. cheers
Feb. 18, 2011 2:42 am
Hi, That should read Nasturshum flowers are edible and full of flavour. An asset to any salad. Cheers
Feb. 18, 2011 2:45 am
When using Parsley, Coriander(cilantro) etc with stems, if you want a stronger flavour, use the stem instead of/or with the leaves. Cheers.
Feb. 18, 2011 2:48 am
Hi, when cutting chives, cut either exactly at ground level or slightly below. That way the new growth will have a point at end of stem not a hole. If you cut half way or so, they will regrow with ahole in the top. cheers.
Feb. 18, 2011 2:51 am
Hi, for information. Oregano is actually a derivitive of Marjoram family. Majoram is the original parent of the family. Both taste similar but marjoram has a milder flavour. Can be interchageable in some recipes. cheers.
Feb. 18, 2011 7:31 am
Thanks, Don! I always chop up my parsely stems very finely and add them to sauces at the begining (when cooking the onions/garlic)... it does make a big difference.
Feb. 18, 2011 3:10 pm
Great blog. Thanks for all the great tips. Some I already knew, just needed to be reminded.
Feb. 18, 2011 10:23 pm
I use kitchen shears with different colored handles: red, green, white and black... the red i use for meats; the black for fish; the green for veggies, ie: herbs, scallions and even the salad if I have not made the pieces small enough. I just open the shears, and dig into the salad, and clip, pull them out and do it again from a different angle. the white ones are for opening chip or treat bags, etc. Helps a lot. you don't need expensive ones, but remember to wash them well... by hand. The handles may melt from the heat in the dishwasher.
Feb. 19, 2011 4:04 am
Do you advise the use of the stems of parsley and celantro etc. if they are chopped fine or whizzed in a blender or food prosessor, to be used in soup or stew etc. I'm real thrifty and hate to waste. Thankx, IleneFaith1
Feb. 19, 2011 4:42 am
Ilenefaith1...I actually do this with the italian parsley all the time with good results. Same here hate to waste stuff.
Feb. 19, 2011 5:16 am
Hi, from a day or so ago. Cheers. PEPPER White pepper is milder than black. FACT. Cheers. Black pepper is the whole peppercorn and white pepper is the peppercorn with the shell removed. Black pepper has a black outer shell that has a strong flavour while white pepper is milder in flavour. Use white pepper in dishes such as white sauces where colour makes a difference in presentation. Darker dishes will use the black pepper
Feb. 19, 2011 5:21 am
There are 2 common types of Paprika. Spanish and Hungarian. The spanish tends to be sweeter and softer and the hungarian hotter. cheers
Feb. 20, 2011 2:15 am
Hi, From yesterday. "Curd". In India and in Curries, "Curd" is normally Natural Yogurt. Cheers.
Feb. 20, 2011 7:58 am
Answered by: TheCookerie Feb. 20, 2011 7:57 am My secret seasonings: Chicken - tarragon Mac'n'cheese - worchestershire (sp) Greens - fresh ground nutmeg Chocolate - instant coffee Onion soup - thyme And on and on and on. :)
Feb. 20, 2011 8:02 am
Thanks, Cookerie, just reminded me of my seasoning tip for scallops...tarragon and orange!...
Feb. 20, 2011 8:08 am
Okay, I didn't read through all of this. But, I guess here are some I use. I always keep powdered chicken broth in the house to add to soups, sauces, and chicken and dumplings. I always have cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice that I will add to coffees or desserts. And, of course the 3 everyday spices: garlic powder, onion powder, and dried parsley. They are used on so many recipes on here. Although, I do prefer fresh garlic! Not really sure exactly what you mean by tips though? I have fresh parsley and I don't want to waste it. I will wash it, chop, it and then spread it out on a baking sheet to dry for a couple of days and then use it in recipes as it calls for it. I subtitute a lot of dry for fresh. 1 Tblsp fresh to 1 tsp. dry, because it is hard to store the fresh for a long period of time. If baking it doesn't really matter to if it is fresh or dried as it will dry out in the oven anyway.
Feb. 20, 2011 8:19 am
Answered by: metread Feb. 20, 2011 8:08 am I use soy sauce in many of my gravies and stews. Any with the brown gravy-type base. I reduce the salt I use, to balance it out. it gives things alot of depth and deepens the color.
Feb. 20, 2011 8:24 am
I didn't read through most of the comments either but to season or marinate chicken I like to use chives, chadon beni (culantro - yes not cilantro) and celery with a sprinkle of black pepper, cayenne and all purpose seasoning. I chop or grind them up and pour it on. Our celery here (Trinidad) has way more flavour than the stuff I have had in the USA btw. For beef, same combo as above but I add in garlic. For fish, same combo as the chicken (no garlic) and I add in broad lead thyme - uh, I think it is also called Spanish thyme and after googling to make sure it is also called cuban-oregano. Yeah so as you can see, my marinade base doesn't really change except I add in another herb depending on the meat.
Feb. 20, 2011 8:51 am
Hi, simple Balti mix. 2tsp ground Paprika 1 1/2 tsp ground Coriander (cilantro) 3/4 tsp ground Cumin 1/2 tsp salt 1/4 Chilli powder. Cheers.
Feb. 21, 2011 7:09 am
Here's a simple steak marinade from: Mascan Feb. 21, 2011 6:28 am botled Italian salad dressing adds terrific flavor and couldn't be easier. (If you read the ingredients on many marinades, they are the same elements found in the dressing.)
Feb. 22, 2011 9:10 pm
this has nothing to do with spices but two of my favorite tips are using a pizza cutter to cut the kids pancakes and waffles for them.also instead of melting butter and brushing it on my whole chickens or turkeys before baking i just spray them with a butter flavored cooking spray,then sprinkle with my seasonings
Feb. 22, 2011 9:56 pm
Hey there - new to your blog - this is so perfect - I use herbs in everything to flavor in lieu of salt/etc. This is a treat! Thank you.
Feb. 23, 2011 3:52 pm
Old Wives' Tale or not.....Put an unlit wooden match in your mouth, like a cigarette, sulphur end out, before starting to cut onions... Never have tears!
Cheryl R. 
Feb. 23, 2011 8:06 pm
To cut onions without tears, cut off each end then run hot water over the cuts. My mother-in-law showed me this trick and I have never had a problem.
Feb. 23, 2011 9:10 pm
Can I purchase your spice basket that you have illustrated with all the spices....
Feb. 24, 2011 1:42 am
Hi, from yesterday, Flatleaf/Spanish Thyme is also called Cuban Oregano and has an oregano flavour not thyme. cheers.
Feb. 24, 2011 8:05 am
Jo, Thanks! that's an old attache case. Probably can pick one up cheap at a consignment store.
Feb. 24, 2011 8:25 am
Keeping bread tip from: Marianne Feb. 24, 2011 6:47 am Straight to the freezer. Do not refrigerate any bread, as it goes bad faster.
Feb. 24, 2011 9:39 pm
Sunshine Feb.24,2011 9;33 pm Really enjoy these tips.Thank you. How many recipes are we allowed to keep in our file? I will keep reading the tips. Bye for now. Sunshine.
Feb. 24, 2011 11:42 pm
Didn't have time to read through all but when I have extra herbs I chop them and freeze with wine in Ice cube trays and then bag and label them...
Feb. 25, 2011 1:15 am
Chili con carne: using dried pinto beans soaked for 24 hours, I found out that after braising the hamburger then pressing it to take the grease out would shorten the cooking time but augment the quantity, taking like 300 grams of grease would give like 700 grams more chili, of the grease I saved when cold I took the jelly underneath the grease and used it in the next batch, filtered the grease and got some of the best French fries out of it. I sold the stuff.
Feb. 27, 2011 2:26 am
Hi, Garam Masala 4 tbsps coriander seeds 1 tbsp cumin seeds tbsp black peppercorns 1 ½ tsps black cumin seeds (shahjeera) 1 ½ tsps dry ginger ¾ tsp black cardamom (3-4 large pods approx) ¾ tsp cloves ¾ tsp cinnamon (2 X 1” pieces) ¾ tsp crushed bay leaves Preparation: Heat a heavy skillet on a medium flame and gently roast all ingredients (leave cardamom in its pods till later) except the dry ginger, till they turn a few shades darker. Stir occasionally. Do not be tempted to speed up the process by turning up the heat as the spices will burn on the outside and remain raw on the inside. When the spices are roasted turn of the flame and allow them to cool. Once cooled, remove the cardamom seeds from their skins and mix them back with all the other roasted spices. Grind them all together to a fine powder. Store in an air-tight container in a cool, dark place. Cheers.
Mar. 5, 2011 5:14 am
Here's the oldest tip that I've come across (from MFK Fisher's The Art of Eating).... “Use sour young grapes instead of vinegar” Ancient fragment by the Greek Aristophanius on cooking c. 240 BC
Mar. 12, 2011 5:46 am
Use tandoori spice as a dry rub for your boneless chicken breasts and let rest for an hour (or not) before grilling, baking or frying. You'll be amazed by the flavor.
Mar. 12, 2011 1:09 pm
Answered by: CNM CATERING Mar. 12, 2011 1:03 pm Garlic contains sulfur compounds which can react with copper to form copper sulfate, a blue or blue-green compound. The amount of copper needed for this reaction is very small and is frequently found in normal water supplies. Raw garlic contains an enzyme that if not inactivated by heating reacts with sulfur (in the garlic) and copper (from water or utensils) to form blue copper sulfate. The garlic is still safe to eat. If it is picked before it is fully mature and hasn't been properly dried it can turn and iridescent blue or green color when in the presence of acid. A reaction between garlic's natural sulfur content and any copper in the water or in the iron, tin or aluminum cooking utensils can sometimes change the color of garlic. Other reasons to cause garlic to turn blue or green: Are you using table salt instead of canning salt? That can cause the garlic to turn blue or green. Table salt contains iodine, which discolors whatever you're pickling. Use kosher or pickling salt. Different varieties or growing conditions can actually produce garlic with an excess natural bluish/green pigmentation made more visible after pickling. Don't worry, greenish-blue color changes aren't harmful and your garlic is still safe to eat. (unless you see other signs of spoilage).
Mar. 15, 2011 11:31 am
turtle Mar. 15, 2011 11:23 am I bought new candle making tins (much cheaper than the one's made for spices) and placed a magnet on the back of them. I have them all stuck to the side of my fridge. It is similar to what Alton Brown on Good Eats does. Everyone thinks its very cool once they see them.
Mar. 21, 2011 7:15 pm
WKSMITH: For a change in taste, I add a package of taco seasoning to my spaghetti sauce
Click to Change your Profile Picture
Marvel's Kitchen

Home Town
Sioux City, Iowa, USA
Living In
Westport, Connecticut, USA

Member Since
Dec. 2010

Cooking Level

Cooking Interests
Baking, Grilling & BBQ, Frying, Stir Frying, Slow Cooking, Asian, Mexican, Indian, Italian, Southern, Nouvelle, Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, Healthy, Vegetarian, Dessert, Kids, Quick & Easy, Gourmet


Go Pro!

In Season

Christmas Dinner
Christmas Dinner

Magnificent main dishes for your holiday table are here, from roast beef to a Christmas goose.

Christmas Appetizers
Christmas Appetizers

Dozens and dozens of appetizers perfect for the winter season.

Special Holiday Offer!
Special Holiday Offer!

Delicious recipes, party ideas, and cooking tips! Get a year of Allrecipes magazine for $5!

About Me
Marvel is my mother's name and her kitchen is where I started learning to cook. It should also be Gramma's kitchen, Auntie Jean's, Auntie Phil's, etc. Still learning from friends, family and you all. Many thanks and all the best!
Argentina  |  Australia & New Zealand  |  Brazil  |  Canada  |  China  |  France  |  Germany  |  India  |  Italy  |  Japan  |  Korea  |  Mexico

Netherlands  |  Poland  |  Quebec  |  Russia  |  SE Asia  |  United Kingdom & Ireland  |  United States