What is The Difference Between Herbs and Spices?

  • By: Niaz Bhati, category: General
  • Last updated on February 26, 2024

Our food is incomplete without a combination of powdered or whole spices and fresh herbs. But did you know that these two are not the same? We often use herbs and spices interchangeably, but there is a slight difference between them.

In the article below, we have discussed a major difference between herbs and spices. Moreover, you can also find some popular spices and herbs used in our cooking and how you can use them in your cooking. So, keep reading the article to know everything about herbs and spices in detail.

The major difference between spices and herbs

The definition of herbs and spices may differ in botanical and culinary fields. Here, we are talking about condiments in the context of cooking.

What are spices?

Spices are aromatic and flavourful seeds, bark, roots, stem, fruits, flowers, and stigma part of the plant. Nutmeg (seed), cinnamon (bark), ginger (stem), chilli pepper (fruit), cloves (flower), and saffron (stigma) are all examples of spices we use in our cooking.

Usually, we use spices in their dried form, but sometimes they can be used in a fresh form as well. Besides cooking, spices are popular medicines in traditional therapeutic practices like Ayurveda in India. They contain various beneficial properties and nutrients that make us healthy.

What are herbs?

Herbs are a green leafy part of the plant but sometimes stems, and flowers also fall in the herb category. Herbs are often used for flavouring or garnishing food but can also be used as the main ingredient. Cilantro, mint leaves, oregano, basil, rosemary, thyme, curry leaves, and lemongrass are all examples of herbs.

Some plants like coriander, dill, and fenugreek are used as both have herbs and spices for their different parts. In addition to culinary use, herbs are also used for medicinal purposes or creating fragrances.

How to use herbs and spices in cooking?

Cooking with herbs and spices needs different methods due to their different nature. 

Herbs are more delicate in flavour and constitution than spices, whether in fresh or dried form. There are some recipes where fresh herbs are preferred over dried ones. So it is always a good idea to add them at the end of cooking to extract their delicate flavour without burning them.
Spices are always used in dried form. They contain essential oils that give them their characteristic flavour and aroma. However, these oils are more volatile and can easily evaporate when exposed to air and light. So, buying whole spices and grinding them with mortar or pestle as you need is good.

Wrapping up

Now that you know what the difference between spices and herbs is, you must be thinking of ways to use them in your cooking. Herbs and spices make our dishes more delicious. So you will be compelled to use them every day once you start. And you need an ample amount to meet your daily culinary requirements.

Buying bulk herbs and spices would be a great option for this. If you want to buy dried herbs or whole and ground spices in bulk, Kitchenhutt is here for you. We are a leading online spice wholesaler in South Africa, providing a variety of premium herbs and spices. Visit our website to learn more about us.

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