National herbs and spices day
June 10th, 2013
09:00 AM ET
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While you're frying up some eggs and bacon, we're cooking up something else: a way to celebrate today's food holiday.

Spice up your life! Today is National Herbs and Spices Day.

While herbs and spices are often talked about synonymously, they're quite the opposite. Herbs - think thyme, rosemary and sage - are typically the leaves of herbaceous plants, whereas spices are the roots, flowers, fruits, seeds or bark of plants. They're also usually dried.

To further confuse matters, there are a few plants that are both herbs and spices. Take, for example, the Coriandrum sativum plant: Its leaves are what we commonly call cilantro, while its seeds are the spice coriander.

Storing your herbs and spices properly keeps them fresh longer. Spices are best kept in airtight containers in a dark cupboard, and whole spices have a longer shelf life. Buying whole spices gives you the option of toasting and grinding only the amount you need for each dish. It also allows you to create unique spice blends for grilling and rubs.

Herbs are best kept on the plant for as long as possible. Most herbs are small enough to grow in pots on a kitchen counter or window sill so long as they get enough sun and water.

Both herbs and spices can add varying degrees of flavor. Herbs can brighten up a dish that simmers for a long time, like a tomato sauce or stew, while spices can add heat and richness to a dish that cooks relatively quickly like a crusted protein.

What are your favorite herbs and spices and how do you use them? Pepper the comments section below with your thoughts.

Previously - National update your parents' spice rack month

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Filed under: Breakfast Buffet • Food Holidays • News

soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. Gil

    Za'atar works with anything! Eggs for bkfst, chicken, lamb and on and on. Only problem is finding the sumac to make it.

    June 8, 2014 at 4:54 pm |
  2. tj hunter

    My favorite herbs are got to be herbs like Kratom. KRatom is probably one of the most useful herbs mother nature produces. I did some research and went to this website and bought kratom from them. It was so amazing help with my arthritis, pain, and just made me stop using all of these pharma pills. Anyways that's my 2cents. Take care

    June 28, 2013 at 2:49 pm |
  3. Jdizzle McHammerpants ♫♫

    I shall celebrate by packing some herb into a tube and lighting it a fire this evening.

    June 10, 2013 at 4:52 pm |
    • Jdizzle McHammerpants ♫♫

      yay to everyone! happy day.

      June 10, 2013 at 5:21 pm |
      • Jdizzle McHammerpants ♫♫


        June 11, 2013 at 10:26 am |
        • Jdizzle McHammerpants ♫♫

          I love lamp

          June 10, 2014 at 10:42 am |
  4. alr

    Fresh basil and dill smell divine! Fresh parsley and cilantro are awesome too! Spicewise, I like cracked black pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg and cumin (though not all at the same time).

    June 10, 2013 at 2:50 pm |
  5. ohioan

    I tend to use a lot of rosemary in my food. I also love sage but it's a migraine trigger for me, so I can't use it anymore. Paprika, black pepper, thyme, cinnamon, and ground ginger also get used frequently.

    June 10, 2013 at 12:41 pm |
  6. MandiFran

    My favorite herbs are cilantro, Lemon Basil and Thai basil which I use very liberally in noodles or in salads. As far as spices, I live smoky paprika, cumin and any ground chile powder.

    June 10, 2013 at 12:31 pm |
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