Herbs and spices in the kitchen

Herbs and spices should be used in such a way that they do not falsify the taste of the food, but rather bring out their own specific taste. Seasoning is an art in which you need a little tact, a good tongue and many years of experience. With the right seasoning, less is often more. Many herbs and spices have a beneficial effect on the digestibility of the food.

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The storage of herbs and spices

Most herbs and spices, especially ground ones, are sensitive to light and oxygen. If they are stored incorrectly, they quickly lose their flavor and become bland. They are best kept in opaque, air-protected containers or in well-closing jars with a brown or green tint. Metal containers, on the other hand, are not suitable. If several different spices are stored next to each other in bags, you not only lose their seasoning power, but also take on a different taste from each other.

The seasoning duration of the various spices is limited; it is usually stated on the packaging. Crushed spices have a much shorter seasoning time than whole. For example, if properly stored, peppercorns can be used almost indefinitely. Ground pepper, on the other hand, loses its flavor after a short time.

Handling of spice mixtures

Herbs and spices in spice mixtures are available with and without table salt. The seasoning period or shelf life of the spice mixtures is an average of twelve months. If the spice mixtures are not already available in glasses when you buy them, it is advisable to fill them into suitable glasses with suitable scatter openings.

Make sure that the jars are always closed during storage so that the spices with a high proportion of table salt cannot bind water and thus lose their ability to throw. Also, when the jar is closed, the penetration of foreign bodies and the reduction in flavor are prevented. Mixtures of spices are available in many different ways. From goulash spices to poultry spices to garlic or onion salt, the choice is huge. The name of the spice mixtures reveals how they are used.

Herbs and Spices Usage

Anise: Anise is a very intense spice. That is why you only use small amounts of this spice. Anise is suitable for sweet baked goods, sauces, fruit soups, fruit compotes, plum jam, red cabbage and carrots.

Basil: the basil herb is suitable for salads, mayonnaise, egg dishes, quark, meat and fish dishes.

Mugwort: mugwort is very suitable for minced meat dishes, poultry, game, pork and roast mutton as well as raw vegetable salads.

Savory: The savory is a herb with a very strong flavor, so only use small amounts here. Do not let the savory cook for longer than 10 minutes, otherwise the stalks can give off bitter substances. Savory is particularly suitable for green beans, legumes, salads, meat, cooked and fried fish as well as fish soups.

Curry: Curry is actually a mixture of twelve different spices with a pungent taste. The curry quickly loses its flavor when exposed to light. Curry is particularly suitable for seasoning meat and rice dishes, sausages, poultry, sauces, fish, fish soups and fish salads.

Dill: the dill is a herb with a lovely, slightly sweet taste. The dill herb should be used fresh as it loses its aroma when it dries. Food is only added after it has been cooked. Dill must not be cooked. The finely chopped herb is suitable as a spice for salads and herb quark. Dill is particularly popular for seasoning sauces for fish and some meat dishes. For example beef and mutton roast. It is also suitable for fish marinades and fish salads. The dried dill or dill seeds are used for pickling cucumbers and sauerkraut.

Herbs and spices enumeration

Vinegar: the vinegar is a spice that belongs in every household and gives many dishes the right flavor. What would brawn or cucumber, for example, be without a dash of vinegar? Many times I have heard the opinion that vinegar is harmful, these people recommend using lemon juice to acidify food. These people should be told that vinegar is completely harmless when used in normal doses. The vinegar even has the property that it stimulates the metabolism. In addition, it cannot always be replaced by lemon juice. Vinegar is suitable for many salads, lentils, stewed cucumbers, kidneys, pulmonary hash, for pickling fish, sauerbraten, cucumber and pumpkin.

Tarragon: a herb with a subtle aroma that should mainly be used fresh. It has a long shelf life when dried, but loses its taste. That is why tarragon is often placed in wine vinegar and is then available all year round as an additive for mayonnaise, salads, fish dishes and the like. Tarragon is also suitable for seasoning cucumbers, pumpkins, sauerkraut, in combination with vinegar for raw vegetable salads, fish and salad marinades, and also for various meat and fish dishes.

Cloves: they are mainly suitable for seasoning cold dishes, fruit soups, gravies, beer sauces and cherry compote. Also for white cabbage, red cabbage, sauerkraut, pumpkin and baked goods. If cloves are to be cooked in meat dishes or meat soups, an onion is spiked with cloves and removed again before serving.

Cardamom: Cardamom is a strong spice, similar to ginger. This spice is not that common in our kitchen. Although it is very healthy, it is not yet used in many households. Cardamom is used for some types of biscuits, for pickling cucumbers, for fricassee and for seasoning various sauces and salads.

Garlic: a very intensely flavorful onion plant. Because of its strong odor, garlic is undesirable in many households. But we are doing the garlic injustice, because it is not only good for regulating the stomach and intestines and is beneficial against hardening of the arteries. Garlic finds the right seasoning in many dishes and brings them to life. It is sufficient to use garlic in the smallest amounts. Steam the garlic a little before adding it to the dishes, so that the intrusive smell is lost. If there are no garlic cloves available, you can also use garlic salt. Garlic is used to season various meat and vegetable dishes, salads, fish soups, fish marinades and fish salads.

Dried herbs: Apart from savory, you must also cook dried herbs in dishes; their aroma takes about 1 hour to take full effect.

Caraway seed: Caraway seeds give your dishes a strong taste. Due to its strong flavor, it doesn't let any other spice come up next to it. Therefore, apart from caraway seeds, only season dishes with salt and pepper. Caraway is recommended for many dishes, but is not always suitable. Caraway is not to everyone's taste, every Sunday meat that tastes like caraway? So its use should be reserved for certain foods, as well as the preferences of those who want to eat it. Caraway is particularly suitable for white cabbage, beetroot, fatty meat, and to a certain extent also for minced meat. Chopped into small pieces, the caraway flavored boiled potatoes and salads, cheese, quark and, last but not least, baked goods.

The bay leaf is one of the herbs and spices

The bay leaf is very spicy, so it is advisable to handle it carefully. In most cases, half a sheet is enough for the dish to give the food the right seasoning. Since the aroma works quickly, you should stick a bay leaf with a few cloves to an onion for meat dishes, which can be removed from the sauce again after a while. A tea egg can also be useful here and can be used to quickly remove the bay leaf and cloves. Bay leaf is mainly suitable for boiled meat (for example pork knuckle), fish, fish soups, game, marinades, for pickling sauerkraut, cucumbers and fish.

Marjoram and horseradish

As a rule, the marjoram herb should not be missing in any fatty dishes as it contributes to the better digestion of the fat, marjoram is particularly popular as a sausage seasoning. Marjoram is also used for potato soup, stews in general and those made from legumes, minced meat, roast goose, roast duck, lard, fish soups with legumes and minced fish.

The horseradish can be used in many ways and refine dishes. In older cookbooks and in other countries one often finds the name horseradish. Horseradish, for example, means meat with horseradish sauce. It is offered fresh as a root or grated in glasses. Horseradish is preferably always added to dishes in grated form. It is mainly used for meat dishes, cold roasts, beetroot, in conjunction with grated apples to fill ham bags, in sauces with cooked meat or as a cream horseradish with blue carp.

Nut and paprika spice

The nutmeg is grated and added to many dishes. Muscat nuts have an almost unlimited shelf life when stored in a closed container. Their taste is intensely aromatic, so be careful. A swede stew only tastes really good after you rub a pinch of nutmeg over it. This also applies to other vegetable dishes such as kale, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and spinach. But meat and fish dishes, mashed potatoes, egg dishes, cheese casseroles and soups also gain flavor with a pinch of nutmeg.

The paprika is a spice that has conquered our kitchen from Hungary. The spice is commercially available in powder form in various degrees of spiciness. Paprika must never be placed in boiling fat, as this would burn the sugar contained in the paprika and the dish would then taste bitter. Use peppers carefully in small quantities for seasoning. This spice is suitable for soups, sauces, salads, fish and fish dishes, especially for Hungarian fish soup and goulash.

Herbs and spices salt, pepper

Pepper is a universal spice that can be added to many dishes. Use pepper sparingly because of its high degree of heat and flavor. Black pepper is hotter than white pepper. Both types are available commercially as grains or ground. It is advantageous to keep ground pepper protected from air and light, as otherwise it can quickly become bland. From a health point of view, pepper promotes digestion.

The most commonly used spice that should not be missing even in desserts such as yeast dumplings or cakes is salt. Salt is essential for life, but the salt consumption per person and day should not exceed 5 g, otherwise health damage can result. Since various foods such as sausage, butter and bread already contain salt, the dishes must not be excessively salted.

Salt stays spreadable for a long time if you put a few grains of rice in the salt shaker. A tip from me for salty sauce: A sauce that has been ruined in this way will in most cases be edible again if you add a teaspoon of honey or put in a few raw potato slices and remove them again after a while.

Salted soups are boiled again with raw potato slices, the slices are then removed from the soup. You can save soups or sauces that are too spicy if you add some milk.

The wonderful world of spices touches the soul and heals

Special achievements and talents are honored with a museum - both can also apply to herbs and spices, which is why they received a prize in Kulmbach, Bavaria Spice Museum donated. Rightly so, because spices are good for your health, provide a taste sensation on the tongue, smell through the nose, pamper the eyes with colorful colors and also caress the soul.

The long way from Asia to Europe

Quite a lot that spices can do and so it is not surprising that the celebrity chef and spice pope Alfons Schuhbeck relies on his philosophy "Spice your life", travels to the spices of the world and even writes books about spices. The world of spices also has a long history - also in keeping with the museum - spices played an important role in ancient times, and in the late Middle Ages the splendor of spices migrated from the Far East to Europe and first landed in Venice. The merchants there knew how to appreciate the exotic immigrants and thus earned themselves a golden nose. The spices brought shine, prestige and prosperity to Venice.

Tourists travel after the spices

But what docked in Italy took a long time to land on our plates and in our consciousness. It was actually tourism that brought Germans to Italy in the 1950s and 60s. Everything tasted different there and the tourists wanted to take this taste experience home with them. So they went shopping, simmered with them at home spices and got a taste for it more and more. The travel destinations have naturally become much more exotic and a paradise for spice explorers worldwide. Whether tart aniseed, warming ginger, expensive saffron or the Christmas scent of vanilla and cinnamon - the glory of the world of spices ended up in the pot, in the oven and in the cup, and now the variety is hardly to be overlooked.

The spice museum in Kulmbach invites you to touch it

History, food culture, botany, growth as well as processing and use of aromatic plants - all of this plays a major role in the Spice Museum in the Franconian city of Kulmbach. But it is also a museum you can touch, because visitors can also sniff and let peppercorns, cloves and caraway seeds trickle through their fingers. The Bavarian Ministry of Agriculture has contributed around 1,6 million euros. The money comes from the EU's LEADER program. The new home of the spices, which come from local climes and distant countries, is 1000 square meters in size. The spice museum can be found in the Kulmbacher Mönchshof and it has, so to speak, delicious neighbors, because there is also a brewery museum and a bakery museum there. It could even be that there is also a food museum, because there is also a museum about sausage and meat. The museum project was set up by the Association of Bavarian Brewery and Bakery Museum Kulmbach and the LEADER action group Kulmbacher Land. The aim is the harmonious coexistence of enjoyment, culture and nature. A good mix that also convinced the Free State of Bavaria, because in the EU funding years 2007 to 2013 they invested over 3,25 million euros in 13 projects.

Mages and healers use the power of spices

There are also spice museums in Hamburg and Schönbrunn. This also shows the great importance that herbs and spices are accorded. Both magicians and healers reached into the bag of tricks of spices and when you think of the incense smell in the church, there is also a touch of mysticism surrounding the spices. The spices of this world give health a boost. Ginger, which comes from Asia and Australia, is said to relieve colds and nausea. The cayenne pepper from Latin America is said to inhibit inflammation and influence the metabolism. The tropical cloves declare war on germs and are even said to be good for toothache. In the Mediterranean, caraway seeds are used for digestive problems. Thyme, which grows in Europe and Africa, is said to cure coughs and sore throats. Garlic is supposed to make the immune system, blood circulation, intestines and also the gray cells fit. Coriander and fennel have something against flatulence. Nutmeg is even said to stimulate lust, but it can also be intoxicating if you get too much of it.

A riot of colors of the spices

It goes without saying that when cooking and baking the herbs and spices are first a smell experience and later a taste delight. The fragrances are also used in aromatherapy. But anyone who has ever been to a spice market has also seen the color frenzy of the spices: yellow saffron, red cayenne, green basil, brown cinnamon, black pepper and, and, and - not only the palate, nose and health get their money's worth, but also the eye. It's just a wonderful world of spices that touches the senses. Marion Friedl

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