Spices and herbs have far less calories when compared to the calories of other food additions such as sauces, gravy, dressings, trimmings, etc. Many are not aware of the differences between herbs and spices. While cooks use the terms interchangeably, there are some distinct differences between the two.
- The essential difference between herbs and spices is that they are obtained from different parts of a plant. Herbs are obtained from the leaves whereas spices come from the seeds, bark and roots of a tree. In fact, any part of a plant that is not a leaf, and can be used for seasoning, can be regarded as a spice. Certain plants offer both herb and spice. For example,coriander (seeds) and cilantro (leaves) belong to the same plant.
- Herbs are used dry or fresh. Spices are not generally fresh.
- While herbs grow abundantly in different parts of the world, spices are more commonly found in the Tropical and Far East countries.
- Herbs are thought to have more uses than spices. Apart from their usage in cooking, herbs have several medicinal properties and are a common ingredient in a host of cosmetic products.
- Herbs are classified into different types such as medicinal, sacred, culinary and those that are used for pest control. Spices are primarily used to color and flavor food and some have medicinal properties too.
- While cooking, you can prevent the flavor of the herb from decreasing by adding it in the last few minutes of your cooking. On the other hand, spices need to be added at the beginning of cooking as moisture and heat are required to release their essential flavor in the dish.
- Examples of herbs include lavender, rosemary, coriander leaves, thyme, kava, peppermint, oregano, mint, parsley, marjoram, sage, basil, etc. Some examples of spices are coriander, mustard, fenugreek, fennel, mace, cinnamon, saffron, clove, asafoetida, ginger, cumin and turmeric.