A-Z list of herbs

A to z

Here is an alphabetical list of herbs used in cookery. This directory should help you explore the wonderful flavours that seasoning a dish with herbs and spices can bring.

Allspice
Allspice is the dried fruit of the West Indian Myrtle pepper plant. Commonly found ground to a powder in curry powders and Caribbean jerk seasoning.

Aniseed
Strongly flavoured liquorice-like seeds forming the base of Pernod and similar French liquors. Aniseed is most often used as a confectionary flavouring.

Basil
An aromatic leaf that adds a sweet pungent flavour to food. Used extensively in both Italian and Thai cookery. Also great chopped up in Salads.

Bay Leaves
Bay trees produces beautifully aromatic leaves. Often added whole to tomato or milk based sauces during cooking, the bay leaf is removed before serving. Another great property of the bay leaf is that the flavour lasts a long time in dried leaves.

Celery
Celery and celeriac both come from the same plant and neither really seems like an obvious choice to add to a list of herbs. However celery seeds are a great flavouring for both egg and fish based dishes. Also sometimes gets added to bread dough to flavour home made loaves.

Cinnamon
Cinnamon comes from the dry bark of Sri lankan laurel rolled into quills. However the Chinese Cassia bark, darker and thicker is also sometimes sold as cinnamon. Cinnamon is the perfect flavour addition to baked apple dishes.

Clove
Clove is warm and fragrant and often used in easter cookery. In the west it is found in mulled wines and christmas spice mixes

Chicory
A bitter relative of the lettuce.

Coriander
Seeds and leaves have been used for over a thousand years as a key slightly citrusy flavouring in curries.

Cumin
A rich dark earthy herb often used in curried dishes.

Dandelion
The name comes from the french for Lion’s teeth which perfectly describes the shape of the leaves. Young leaves are used in salads for their peppery taste and the roots were traditionally brewed into oth alcoholic and sweet beverages. Dandelion and Burdock cordial was a particular favourite in Britain throughout the early 20th century.

Fennel
Similar to Aniseed in flavour, its fronds go well with fish.

Fenugreek

Garlic
A staple of italian and french cookery, the garlic is a relative of the onion and has many medicinal uses.

Ginger
A fiery asian root very popular in oriental cooking styles. Also great for Ginger Beer.

Hops
Extensively used in brewing English ales, hops are native to northern europe and are cultivated in many places. Different strains impart different tastes to the beer. Hops are also a sedative and can often be found in organic sleep remedies.

Lavender
Highly pungent flower used a lot in perfumery, but also to flavour cakes.

Nettle
The nettle is a stinging weed from europe that makes excellent teas, beers and wines. Similar in flavour to elderflowers, it is a taste redolent of spring.

Peppermint
Mint is a flavour that eveyone seems to love and can be found in teas, toothpaste, icecreams, sweets and chewing gum. Easy to grow in practically any conditions, mint is a delicious herb.

Rosemary
A wonderfully pungent herb which appears in many Italian recipes. Easy to grow in  most temperate regions.

Saffron
Saffron is made from the stamens of crocus flowers. Saffron is very expensive, but brings a rich yellow colour and unique, slightly bitter taste to dishes. To extract saffron’s flavour, the stamens are generally infused in hot liquid for a few minutes before adding to a dish. Saffron is a key ingredient in the Spanish rice dish Paella.

Sage
Sage leaves are used a lot in Italian recipes and this leaf goes particularly well with onion and the ‘sage and onion combination’ appears in the most common ‘stuffing’ recipe that is part of a traditional ‘Sunday Lunch’ in the UK.

Thyme
Old european herb with a lovely fragrance. Many varietes are bred for different flavour variations.

Turmeric
A brightly coloured yellow herb, often used as a colouring agent but posessing a subtle warm flavour too.