Herbs & Spices Overview – Science Lesson 31

Today I learned about Herbs and Spices.  I’ll start off talking about the herbs, than I’ll move on to the spices, and after that I’ll talk about some relating character traits connecting the two.

To start off, the lesson listed a good handful of herbs, some of which I had not known about, including  Basil, Oregano, Parsley, Bergamot, Lavender, Mint, Rosemary, Thyme, Angelica, Celery, Coriander leaf, Dill, Fennel, Pili-Pili, and Eucalyptus.  The main definition of an herb is that it is a fresh or dried leafy part of a plant that is used for its flavoring, perfume, or its medicinal qualities.   Herbs can be from a(n) annual, biennial, or perennial, and it’s supposed to be used in small bits.

Now I’ll talk about spice, and these are a couple spices that he listed in the video: Cinnamon, Allspice, Chili Peppers, Vanilla, Chocolate, Curry, Paprika, Saffron, Pimento, Cannelle, Dill, Tumeric, and Ginger.  The definition of a spice is a dried seed, bark, or root used for flavoring, coloring, or preserving food, and it has a medicinal value.

Then there’s the nutritional benefits and culinary uses.  The health benefits are Phenolic compounds, which have antioxidant properties, the Terpene compounds, which decrease the production of “free radicals” or harmful cells in the body, therefore it gives them anti-cancer properties, the anti-inflammatory properties, the vitamins and minerals, and they support and influence the metabolism (the system that sends out antibodies when you get sick) positively, keeping you healthy.  And there’s the culinary uses, which are being served fresh, chopped (use a sharp knife for this, or it will leave a brown/black discoloration on the herb/spice), crumbled if dried, heated in oil to extract the flavor, ground into coarse or fine particles, or turned into a flavor extract that will quickly permeate that dish.  Herbs and spices are quite an interesting subject!


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