Herbs and spices are one of the best ways to make your food taste amazing – and they’re also a healthy addition to any meal. However, you need to know how to use each kind to maximize its benefits and ensure your food tastes great.
This article will cover some of the best herbs and spices used in American cooking, such as cilantro, garlic powder, sage, chili powder, and more. We’ll check out the key features and some of the health benefits for each, and also look at what dishes they are best used in!
Cilantro is a great herb to add to many different meals, and it has a pungent, peppery, and slightly lemony taste. Some individuals find it a little soapy, making it a mixed popularity herb, but it’s still very commonly found.
Cilantro may make your skin look better, and can reduce your risk of heart disease and obesity. Some studies also show it might reduce the severity of seizures. It’s generally easy to find both dried and fresh cilantro, and it has a distinctive, pungent odor that some people find unpleasant.
It’s commonly used in dishes such as:
- Cilantro lime shrimp
- Green salads
- Soups (as a garnish)
2- Garlic Powder
Garlic powder is made by dehydrating and crushing garlic. Because it’s sweeter and less powerful than fresh garlic, many people prefer the taste of garlic powder. It will not give your dish as much of a kick, which may be preferable for some meals.
Garlic powder is associated with reduced blood clot risk and lowered cholesterol levels, and it’s also thought to boost the immune system. You will find garlic powder in most stores, as it’s a very common spice. It has a strong smell, like the bulb it is derived from.
It is often added to meals like:
- Pasta dishes
Earthy and somewhat peppery, sage has a bold flavor, and this makes it a popular herb. Sage may be able to lower blood sugar levels and improve your oral health. It’s seen in most stores, and its scent has woody undertones.
Dishes that sage is commonly used in include:
- Creamy sauces
- Cured meats
4- Chili Powder
Chili powder is famous for its spiciness, and it can range from mild to intense. Stronger kinds will have a spicier smell, and some types are very hot. This spice is thought to lower your blood pressure and may boost your immune system.
You should be able to find chili powder in most stores, as it’s a staple. It is less common in traditional American dishes, but you may see it in:
- Smoked meats
Slightly sweet, slightly spicy, and slightly minty, basil has a unique flavor. It’s among the most popular herbs, and is found in most stores. You can buy it fresh or dried or grow it yourself. You may be able to lower both your blood pressure and cholesterol by consuming basil.
It’s commonly used in meals such as:
- Pasta sauces
Cumin is warm and earthy, with a slightly lemony undertone, and it’s thought to have anti-cancer properties and may lower cholesterol. You’ll find it both bitter and sweet if you smell it. You can find it in most stores, although it originated in Western Asia.
However, some common American recipes do call for this spice, including:
- Baked beans
- Barbecue sauce
As the name suggests, nutmeg is nutty, and has a warm undertone. It’s most frequently used in desserts, but that doesn’t mean it’s unhealthy. It contains antioxidants that may boost your immune system. It’s less commonly seen than some other spices, but is still available in most stores.
You might see it used in:
- Pumpkin pie
Paprika can range from sweet and spicy to very hot, so always taste this spice before using it to determine how much you need to use. It’s thought to improve eye health, lower cholesterol levels, and reduce inflammation.
Paprika is found everywhere and has umami, savory scent. You might use it in:
- Creamy sauces
- Mac and cheese
- Barbecue sauces
Thyme tastes lemony, earthy, and slightly minty. It smells like hay and is generally easy to find in any store. It’s full of vitamin C, and offers benefits such as immune system support.
Thyme is commonly used in:
- Roasted dishes (e.g., chicken)
Cinnamon is rich and warm, with a slightly woody undertone. It smells somewhat fruity and peppery, and it tends to be easy to find. Cinnamon might lower your blood sugar levels and can increase fat loss.
It’s found in lots of American dishes, such as:
- Cinnamon rolls
- French toast
- Apple pie
With a peppery and sweet flavor, ginger can be hot, but the powdered form is merely warm and pleasant. Ginger is thought to increase your levels of dopamine and serotonin. It may also reduce stress.
It is often used in things like:
- Carrot soups
- Fish dishes
12- Bay Leaves
Bay leaves are aromatic and warm, with hints of pepper. It’s thought that the leaves can ease stomach upsets. The leaves are sold dried in most American stores, or you can grow your own bay tree.
Bay leaves are often used to flavor:
- Fish pies
Slightly earthy, parsley has a somewhat bitter edge and a mild smell. This herb can lower blood pressure and bloating, and may improve bone health. It’s stocked by most stores in its fresh and dried form.
It’s commonly used in:
- Roasted potatoes
- Fish dishes
Sweet but complex, saffron’s flavor is sometimes described as earthy. It smells like hay and leather, and it’s a pretty rare and expensive spice. Rich in antioxidants, saffron may reduce your cancer risk and cell damage. It’s not traditionally an American spice, but you may see it in:
- Saffron rice
- Pork chops
- Chicken dishes
Turmeric can be described as earthy, bitter, and complex. Its scent is warm and woody, and its bright yellow hue is distinctive. Most stores sell ground turmeric, and some sell turmeric root.
This spice is thought to improve your memory, reduce pain, and lower your risk of heart disease.
It’s commonly used in:
- Rice dishes
- Scrambled eggs
- Some soups
There are many wonderful herbs and spices out there, and you should try all of these in your cooking! You’ll reap benefits in terms of both flavor and your health.