Herbs and spices are integral to every cuisine, providing both taste and color to a variety of dishes. From the yellow color of saffron to the bright green of fresh basil, identifying herbs and spices by photos or drawings allows for an individual to expand their knowledge of the important ingredients and helps cooks use them in future dishes. Pictures provide the main identifying factors for herbs and spices, as they show texture, shape and color of the plants.
Purchase a book listing all the culinary herbs and spices with photos for each one (see the references portion of this article for a book).
Examine the herb or spice you are trying to identify. Note down its specific qualities, such as texture, color, size and shape.
Determine whether the herb is in its whole or ground form, as well as if it is dried or fresh. This can cause wrong identification if a spice is ground but is not in the picture.
Figure out how old the spice or herb you are wishing to identify is. Also, whether it is in seeding, flowering, or newly grown form, for this will help when identifying it.
Compare the herb or spice that you are wishing to identify with the photo of it in the book. Affirm that it is the correct herb by comparing age, size, shape, form, stage, texture and color.
Tips & Warnings
- Perform the identification of herbs and spices with children in order to teach them about the variety of seasonings that can be used in dishes.
- "Field Guide to Herbs & Spices: How to Identify, Select, and Use Virtually Every Seasoning at the Market"; 2006
- Univerity of Illinois: HERBS & SPICES -- Teaching Outline and Food Facts
- Photo Credit Photos.com/Photos.com/Getty Images
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