Gillian's Larder

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This page lists the dried herbs and spices we offer, with a few words about each one. You can click the spice's name to go straight to the right part of our Shop page.

Agar-agar
Agar-agarNot a spice at all! Agar-agar is a jelly extracted from seaweed, used as a vegetarian gelatin substitute and a thickener.

It is often used to thicken soups, in fruit preserves instead of pectin, in ice cream and other desserts. It is also a clarifying agent in brewing. Agar-agar can be used as a laxative and, because it swells in the digestive tract, as an appetite suppressant.

Ajowan seeds (lovage)
Ajowan seedsCrush ajowan seeds to release a powerful flavour and aroma very like thyme - but beware: it's strong!

Ajowan is an indian plant that looks like wild parsley. Its flavour is great with starchy foods such as pastries, beans and lentils. It is used in Bombay mix. It relieves flatulence and is a fungicide.

Alfalfa seeds (lucerne)
Alfalfa seedsPeople usually use alfalfa as a sprouting seed.

Sprinkle a few seeds on wet newspaper, or the soaked top tray of an egg box. Put it on a warm windowsill, and eat the sprouts when they germinate.

Alfalfa is rich in Vitamins K and D. It includes organic minerals of calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium, plus all the known vitamins. It resembles clover, and is a highly nutritious forage crop for cattle.

All-purpose seasoning
All-purpose seasoningAll-purpose seasoning is, by any other name, mixed spice for savoury dishes.

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Allspice berries
Allspice berriesAllspice is very versatile, bringing the warm, spicy flavours of cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg to savoury or sweet dishes. That's why it's called allspice. It's also called pimento.

Allspice is the sun-dried berry of a tree in the myrtle family, which grows in central America - today, mainly in Jamaica. Sailors used it as a food preservative on long voyages. It is used in Norway with herring and everywhere in Christmas puddings and tomato ketchup.

Allspice, ground
Ground allspiceAllspice is very versatile, bringing the warm, spicy flavours of cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg to savoury or sweet dishes. That's why it's called allspice. It is also called pimento.

It is the sun-dried berry of a tree in the myrtle family, which grows in central America - today, mainly in Jamaica. Sailors used it as a food preservative on long voyages. It is used in Norway with herring and everywhere in Christmas puddings and tomato ketchup.

Aniseed, green
Anise seedsAnise seed was known to the ancient Egyptians for its sweet and aromatic bouquet and its flavour of liquorice.

Anise is a relative of the carrot. It grows pretty well everwhere in the Old World. It is used in rye bread, in French pastis, in savoury and sweet cookery. It counteracts indigestion.

Aniseed, ground
Ground aniseedAnise seed was known to the ancient Egyptians for its sweet and aromatic bouquet and its flavour of liquorice.

Anise is a relative of the carrot. It grows pretty well everwhere in the Old World. It is used in rye bread, in French pastis, in savoury and sweet cookery. It counteracts indigestion.

Asafoetida
AsafoetidaAsafoetida is the gum of an Afghan bush. Its cooked smell resembles sautéed onion and garlic. It is a digestive and an anti-flatulent.

Its strong smell has earned it names as diverse as devil's dung and food of the gods. Raw asafoetida has a pungent aroma which is not to everyone's taste, but in cooked dishes, it delivers a smooth flavour, reminiscent of leeks. It is widely used in Indian vegetarian cooking.

Barbecue spice
Barbecue spiceRub barbecue spice into meat or chicken before cooking, or make it into a marinade to coat the food.

There are many versions of every spice mix. This one includes salt, coriander, cumin, paprika, monosodium glutamate, sage, pimento, garlic, ginger, pepper, sugar, parsley, thyme and sunflower oil. Here's an alternative you could mix yourself: mix a teaspoon each of crushed celery seeds, paprika, ground nutmeg, chilli powder, garlic powder, onion salt, marjoram, salt, soft brown sugar and ground black pepper. To make a marinade from either recipe, stir the mix into a glass of wine and add some oil.

Basil
BasilBasil is good added to home-made or canned tomato soups, bolognese sauce, and sprinkled onto pizzas before cooking.

Properly called sweet basil (it has a number of relatives of varying usefulness), basil has an aroma resembling cloves. It is widely used in Mediterranean cuisine.

Bay leaves
Bay leavesAdd a rich, pungent flavour to soups and stews with the aromatic leaves of the Mediterranean bay or laurel tree.

Bay is an appetite stimulant, warm and quite pungent when broken and the aromatic oils are released. Bay leaves were used to make a laurel wreath for victorious Roman generals.

Bee pollen grains
Bee pollen grainsBee pollen or bee bread is not a spice. It is pollen that has been packed by worker honeybees into pollen balls.

The bees add honey or nectar. Bee bread is sometimes referred to as ambrosia. It is used as a food supplement by humans.

The average composition has been said to be 55% carbohydrates, 35% proteins, 3% minerals and vitamins, 2% fatty acids, and 5% other components, including fungi and bacteria.

Cajun seasoning
Cajun seasoningPerfect to season jambalaya and gumbo, the great dishes of southern Louisiana. Try it also with fish and chicken.

This spice blend includes paprika, salt, chilli, black pepper, garlic, mustard, sage, sunflower oil, onion, sugar, turmeric, coriander, thyme, oregano, silicon dioxide. To make your own in the famous Cajun French-Creole style, take a teaspoonful each of peppercorns, cumin and white mustard seeds and dry-fry them to release their flavours; grind them finely and add a teaspoonful each of paprika, chilli powder, oregano, thyme and salt. Blend with two cloves of garlic and a small onion.

Caraway seed
Caraway seedCaraway's distinctive, powerful flavour is great in cakes and breads. It also flavours sauerkraut and the liqueur Kümmel.

Caraway, a European native, has been used since stone age times. Roman soldiers helped spread its popularity throughout the empire. It's good in cottage cheese and sausages. It does not blend well, except perhaps with garlic. It is antibacterial, and is the aromatic ingredient in babies' gripe water.

Cardomom pods, green
Cardomom podsCardomom is essential to Indian cuisine, for both sweet and savoury dishes. Its pungent flavour is reminiscent of lemon, eucalyptus and camphor.

Green cardomoms are the third most expensive spice, after saffron and vanilla. They are the fruits of a rainforest plant with leaves up to 6m long. The fruits appear on the plants a few at a time throughout a long season. They must be picked by hand just before they ripen (so that the seeds do not scatter) and dried in the Indian sun of, originally, the Cardomom hills in the Western Ghats. White cardomom pods are simply green ones bleached, with rather less flavour. Green cardomoms are quite different from black cardomoms.

Cardomom seeds
Cardomom seedsCardomom seeds are the seeds of the green cardomom, and the source of its exquisite, warm, pungent flavour: the discarded pods are tasteless.

The seeds lie in three rows within the pod, and carry the warm, aromatic flavour. They are very rich in manganese and are extremely anti-bacterial. They are anti-inflammatory and effective against blood clotting and heart disease.

Cardomom pods, black
Black cardomom podsBlack cardomoms are the fruits of a different species from green cardomoms. Their flavour is coarser. It is used in long-cooked, savoury Indian dishes.

They are an important ingredient in garam masala spice mix. The pods are large, brown and hairy. They are flame-dried, which gives them a rough texture and a smoky aroma and taste. Black cardomom has been used as an antidote to snake bites and scorpion stings.

Cardomom, ground
Ground cardomomGround green cardomom brings its delicious, distinctive aroma and flavour to scones and cakes in Scandinavian countries.

It is also used to flavour tea and to blend with coffee in a popular Arabian beverage called gahwa.

Cassia bark
Cassia barkCassia is a relative of cinnamon. It is the inner bark of a tropical bush, used to flavour savoury dishes such as spicy meat dishes.

Cassia is an ingredient in mixed spice, pickling spice and Chinese five-spice mix. In Germany it is used to flavour chocolate. It is mentioned in the book of Psalms and was used by the pharaohs.

Cayenne pepper
Cayenne pepperCayenne pepper is not a pepper at all, but a ground form of one of the many varieties of chilli. It is very hot and should be added to food with care!

Like other chillies, cayenne is native to central America - specifically in the Cayenne region of French Guiana. Christopher Columbus brought chillies to Europe after failing to find pepper in the New World. Add tiny amounts of cayenne to savoury biscuits and cheese and egg dishes, and to sauces and curries. Cayenne has been used as a painkiller and to induce a feeling of wellbeing.

Celery salt
Celery saltCelery salt is made by mixing ground celery seed with salt. Its delicious and distinctive flavour is not hot, but it is strong, so use it carefully.

Try celery salt in egg dishes, chutneys, relishes and savoury sandwich fillings. Celery originates in Italian salt marshes. Its seeds are are unmistakeably those of the celery plant, but can be somewhat bitter. Celery seed contains a compound which relaxes arteries and eases blood pressure. It has also been used to reduce the pain of gout and to relieve arthritis symptoms.

Celery seed
Celery seedCelery seed brings a stronger version of the distinctive flavour of celery. Try it in egg and fish dishes and salads. Great in tomato juice.

Excellent in pickles, stews and soups. Celery comes from Italy, where it was bred from the stronger-flavoured wild celery which grows in Mediterranean salt marshes. It contains compounds which relax the arteries and help relieve high blood pressure. It has been used to ease gout pain and to help with arthritis.

Chervil
ChervilChervil is an Asian relative of parsley, with a slight anise flavour. Use its dried leaves in soups, stews, salads and omelettes.

It is an essential ingredient of the famous French fines herbes mix. Some cooks find that its sweet-scented, finely cut leaves have a flavour resembling tarragon. They are thought to aid digestion and may help ease the symptoms of asthma.

Chicken seasoning
Chicken seasoningNothing yet

Nothing yet

Chilli con carne spice mix
Chilli con carne spice mixNothing yet

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Chilli powder
Chilli powderHot, hot, hot! Drying and grinding chillies makes them easy to use sparingly. Most people do not want to swamp the other flavours in a dish.

Chillies are native to central America. Christopher Columbus brought chillies to Europe after failing to find pepper in the New World. Try adding tiny amounts of chilli powder to savoury biscuits and cheese and egg dishes, and to sauces and curries. Chilli has been used as a painkiller and to induce a feeling of wellbeing.

Chillies, crushed
Crushed chilliesThese are standard hotness chillies, but chopped to make them ideal to use in chutneys, pickles and curries.

Chillies are native to central America. Christopher Columbus brought chillies to Europe after failing to find pepper in the New World. Use crushed chillies in warming soups and stews as well as in sauces and curries. Chilli has been used as a painkiller and to induce a feeling of wellbeing.

Chillies, extra hot (Birdseye)
Birdseye chilliesThe smaller and redder the chilli, the more burning hot capsaicin it is likely to contain. Little Birdseye chillies confirm it!

Yes, they are extra hot! The juice from hot chillies can damage sensitive skin, so wash your hands after preparing them - and don't rub your eyes. Chillies are native to central America. Christopher Columbus brought chillies to Europe after failing to find pepper in the New World. Chilli has been used as a painkiller and to induce a feeling of wellbeing.

Chillies, whole
ChilliesChillies are beautiful, but beware: they are very hot! Wonderful to zing up almost any savoury dish.

Do not copy my husband who mistook a green chilli in a curry for a ladies' finger, and ate it in one go! Chillies are native to central America. Christopher Columbus brought chillies to Europe after failing to find pepper in the New World. Use chilli in any savoury food to impart a real hotness kick. Chilli has been used as a painkiller and to induce a feeling of wellbeing.

Chinese five-spice mix
Chinese five-spice mixChinese five-spice is a classic blend of equal parts Szechuan pepper, cinnamon or cassia, cloves, fennel seeds and star anise.

All are ground together to make the flavour which instantly says "Chinese" in pork, chicken and red-meat dishes. Don't forget to use it liberally to season Chinese spareribs.

Chives
ChivesThe delicate, mild-onion flavour of chives is great addition to potatoes or egg dishes. Try using it with thyme as an omelette filling.

Chives are high in vitamin C, and their bright, fresh flavour is great as an appetite stimulant. The food writer Susanna Lyle suggests trying them sprinkled on top of mushrooms cooked in butter.

Cinnamon, ground
Ground cinnamonCinnamon's pungent warmth makes it perfect to use in chutneys and apple pies, Christmas puds and casseroles.

Ground, it can be mixed with sugar and sprinkled on fruit. It's great on rice pudding and mixed into buns and sprinkled on to frothy coffee. Add cinnamon to cooked dishes not long before serving, if that is possible, for maximum quality.

Cinnamon toast is a wonderful teatime treat: toast a slice of bread on one side, butter the other and sprinkle it with cinnamon sugar, then toast that side. Ground cinnamon is an ingredient of garam masala mixed spice.

Cloves, ground
Ground clovesMade from the flower buds of a tropical myrtle, ground cloves are delicious in cakes and puddings. They add zing to fruit dishes - especially apple pies!

Ground cloves are used in curry powders and pickling spices, and are one of the spices in Chinese five-spice mix. They are also used to flavour cakes and biscuits. In the 15th and 16th centuries, cloves were worth more than their weight in gold. Cloves resemble small nails - clou in French - and that is the source of their name.

Cloves, hand-picked
ClovesFlower buds from a tropical myrtle, fragrant cloves are delicious in mulled wines and puddings. They add zing to fruit dishes. (Use just a few!)

Like cinnamon, cloves made fortunes for early European spice traders. They originate from the Moluccas or Spice Islands, now part of Indonesia. They are hand-picked when pink and about to open into flowers, and dried slowly in the sun to preserve their plumpness. Their sweet, pungent flavour goes perfectly with apples in pies and sauces. They are great with baked ham.

Coriander leaves
Coriander leavesCoriander leaves, also known as cilantro, have a stong, distinctive flavour that is good with fish, in egg dishes and salsas and with beans.

They are often mixed with galangal or garlic, chilli and lemongrass in Asian cuisine. Some people, however, find their pungency unappealing. The leaves are rich in vitamins A, C, K and B2, and combat listeria and other bacteria.

Coriander seeds
Coriander seedsA versatile, sweet Mediterranean herb used in meat dishes in the Middle East. Great in sauces, gravies and stuffings.

Widely used in Indian cookery, and in many Greek dishes. Complements sweet and savoury foods. Dry-fry the seeds to get the best flavour from them, and an appealing burnt-orange aroma. Coriander seeds have been found in pharoah's tombs, and Moses compared the colour of manna to coriander seed.

Coriander, ground
Ground corianderA sweet Mediterranean herb in frankfurters, curries, cakes, breads and apple pies. (And gin!) Scrummy rubbed into pork before roasting.

Widely used in apple sauce and Danish pastries, and with stewed fruit and other sweet dishes; but also with fish, chicken, lamb and pork. Ground coriander is an ingredient in garam masala spice mix. Mixed with ground cumin, it is common in middle Eastern dishes. Ground coriander is the major ingredient in many curry mixes.

Cumin seed
Cumin seedCumin is a strong, but not hot, spice in Egyptian, Indian and Turkish dishes and risottos. Its seeds resemble caraway seeds - but the flavour is very different.

Its distinctive "green" taste is central to Indian vegetarian cookery. Cumin is also popular in German cuisine, in dishes including sauerkraut. Beware of over-use: cumin's flavour can easily drown other spices. Its use eases flatulence and upset stomach.

Cumin, ground
Ground cuminCumin is a strong, but not hot, spice in Egyptian, Indian and Turkish dishes and risottos. Try it as a seasoning, from a pepper pot.

Its distinctive "green" taste is central to Indian vegetarian cookery. Cumin is also popular in German cuisine, in dishes including sauerkraut. Beware of over-use: cumin's flavour can easily drown other spices. Its use eases flatulence and upset stomach.

Curry leaves, dried
Curry leavesDespite their name, curry leaves are not used in most western curries. They impart an aromatic, curry-like flavour to vegetables, fish and coconut milk dishes.

The leaves - really leaflets - come from a small Indian tree related to rue and the citrus family. Its traditional medicinal uses include easing digestive problems and helping fight diabetes by reducing blood glucose levels.

Curry powder, Chinese
Chinese curry powder A Chinese curry is a different style of dish from an Indian curry. This mix is distinctive, aromatic and its delicious taste is instantly recognisable.

The blend contains coriander, cumin, turmeric, ginger, fennel, cloves, pepper, fenugreek and chilli.

Dill
DillDill leaves - sometimes called dillweed - have a sweetish flavour a little like anise. They are an essential ingredient in gravlax sauce for salmon.

Use the feathery, dark green leaves generously with cottage cheese as a sandwich filling, with seafood, in omelettes and with cucumber. Effective in relieving flatulence.

Dill seed
Dill seedDill seed is good with lamb stews and bean soups. Its sweet, slightly sharp flavour is great as a pickling spice, especially with gherkins.

It is made into gripe water to ease babies' indigestion and lull them to sleep - the name dill comes from the Norse word dylla, which means to lull. Try dill seed as a flavouring for home-made bread, or do as the French do and steep some seeds in vinegar and use it as a flavouring for cakes and pastries.

Fennel seed
Fennel seedYet another member of the parsley family, fennel gives a warm taste of anise that is perfect with oily fish. Add it to mayonnaise as a fish dressing.

Add seeds to breads and biscuits; make fennel tea with a teaspoonful of seeds to half a pint of just off-boiling water. Dry-fry the seeds for a few moments before use to boost the flavour. However, be careful: fennel seeds are strong, and can dominate a dish's main ingredient.

Fennel seed, ground
Ground fennelGround fennel gives a warm taste of anise that is perfect with oily fish. Add it to mayonnaise as a fish dressing.

Add it to breads and sweet items such as biscuits, and mix a little into butter or cream cheese. Try sprinkling ground fennel as a condiment over feta cheese. Fennel is an important ingredient in Chinese five-spice.

Fenugreek (methi) leaves
Fenugreek leavesThe dried leaves of fenugreek - methi - are used in Indian vegetarian cookery, imparting a mild, slightly bitter, aromatic, curry-like flavour.

Try spicy, slightly bitter methi with potatoes or yam. Methi is an important ingredient in Maggi sauce. A paste made from fenugreek leaves is used in India to prevent facial spots and to reduce the appearance of early wrinkles. Fenugreek is unusual among herbs and spices: it is a nitrogen-fixing legume, like peas and beans.

Fenugreek seeds
Fenugreek seedFenugreek is used in curries, in mango pickle and chutney. Good as a digestive and for fever. If you are a horse, try it for a glossy coat!

You can remove fenugreek seeds' bitterness by briefly dry-roasting them, leaving a tangy flavour reminiscent of burned sugar. Alternatively soak them overnight to make them gelatinous and easy to combine into curry pastes.

Fenugreek, ground
Ground fenugreekFenugreek's small, irregular seeds are hard to grind at home. Commercially ground seeds are ideal for adding to fish and vegetable curries.

Fenugreek is good in stews and to coat fried foods. The flavour is used in the manufacture of imitation maple syrup.

Galangal, cut
Cut galangalGalangal is the root of a member of the ginger family. Its name means "mild ginger". It is less pungent and more aromatic.

Used instead of ginger in many Thai dishes, galangal - galingale in medieval Britain - is sweeter, with citrus tones. Use it in stir-fries, marinades and sauces, with fish, coconut milk and peanut butter. It can be used to treat acne.

Garam masala
Garam masalaA delicious and aromatic mixture of ground spices. This blend includes coriander, black pepper, ginger, cumin, cassia, dill, fennel and cloves.

Garam means warm; masala means spice mix. A different use for garam masala is as a condiment to sprinkle sparingly over cooked food, to add a gentle aroma of roasted spices.

Garlic flakes
Garlic flakesGarlic is the best-known of all the flavourings. Garlic flakes are an essential standby when fresh garlic is not available.

A bulbous plant in the onion family which divides into 10 or more mini-bulbs called cloves, garlic is essential in many cuisines around the world, particularly those of Mediterranean countries and in the Far East. In small quantities it enhances other flavours; in larger quantities it dominates. It leaves its distictive savour on the breath: eat garlic with a friend! Garlic is said to be antibiotic and to lower blood pressure. Garlic was found in the tomb of Pharaoh Tutankhamun.

Garlic granules
Garlic granulesGarlic is the best-known of all the flavourings. Garlic granules are an easy way to add its powerful flavour to any dish.

A bulbous plant in the onion family which divides into 10 or more mini-bulbs called cloves, garlic is essential in many cuisines around the world, particularly those of Mediterranean countries and in the Far East. In small quantities it enhances other flavours; in larger quantities it dominates. It leaves its distictive savour on the breath: eat garlic with a friend! Garlic is said to be antibiotic and to lower blood pressure. Garlic was found in the tomb of Pharaoh Tutankhamun.

Garlic pepper
Garlic pepperMinced garlic blended with ground black pepper makes garlic into a condiment. Or use it as a convenient cooking spice.

A bulbous plant in the onion family which divides into 10 or more mini-bulbs called cloves, garlic is essential in many cuisines around the world, particularly those of Mediterranean countries and in the Far East. In small quantities it enhances other flavours; in larger quantities it dominates. It leaves its distictive savour on the breath: eat garlic with a friend! Garlic is said to be antibiotic and to lower blood pressure. Garlic was found in the tomb of Pharaoh Tutankhamun.

Garlic powder
Garlic powderGarlic is the best-known of all the flavourings. The finest Egyptian garlic, dried and powdered, can be used in just about any savoury dish.

A bulbous plant in the onion family which divides into 10 or more mini-bulbs called cloves, garlic is essential in many cuisines around the world, particularly those of Mediterranean countries and in the Far East. In small quantities it enhances other flavours; in larger quantities it dominates. It leaves its distictive savour on the breath: eat garlic with a friend! Garlic is said to be antibiotic and to lower blood pressure. Garlic was found in the tomb of Pharaoh Tutankhamun.

Garlic salt
Garlic saltMinced garlic blended with salt makes garlic into a condiment. Or use it as a convenient cooking spice.

A bulbous plant in the onion family which divides into 10 or more mini-bulbs called cloves, garlic is essential in many cuisines around the world, particularly those of Mediterranean countries and in the Far East. In small quantities it enhances other flavours; in larger quantities it dominates. It leaves its distictive savour on the breath: eat garlic with a friend! Garlic is said to be antibiotic and to lower blood pressure. Garlic was found in the tomb of Pharaoh Tutankhamun.

Mustard seed, black/brown
Mustard seed, black/brownMinced garlic blended with salt makes garlic into a condiment. Or use it as a convenient cooking spice.

A bulbous plant in the onion family which divides into 10 or more mini-bulbs called cloves, garlic is essential in many cuisines around the world, particularly those of Mediterranean countries and in the Far East. In small quantities it enhances other flavours; in larger quantities it dominates. It leaves its distictive savour on the breath: eat garlic with a friend! Garlic is said to be antibiotic and to lower blood pressure. Garlic was found in the tomb of Pharaoh Tutankhamun.

Pickling spice
Pickling spiceMinced garlic blended with salt makes garlic into a condiment. Or use it as a convenient cooking spice.

A bulbous plant in the onion family which divides into 10 or more mini-bulbs called cloves, garlic is essential in many cuisines around the world, particularly those of Mediterranean countries and in the Far East. In small quantities it enhances other flavours; in larger quantities it dominates. It leaves its distictive savour on the breath: eat garlic with a friend! Garlic is said to be antibiotic and to lower blood pressure. Garlic was found in the tomb of Pharaoh Tutankhamun.

Poppy seed, white
Poppy seed, whiteMinced garlic blended with salt makes garlic into a condiment. Or use it as a convenient cooking spice.

A bulbous plant in the onion family which divides into 10 or more mini-bulbs called cloves, garlic is essential in many cuisines around the world, particularly those of Mediterranean countries and in the Far East. In small quantities it enhances other flavours; in larger quantities it dominates. It leaves its distictive savour on the breath: eat garlic with a friend! Garlic is said to be antibiotic and to lower blood pressure. Garlic was found in the tomb of Pharaoh Tutankhamun.

Closing text goes here

Any questions? Requests?

Gillian

If there's anything you'd like to know about our herbs and spices, or requests for things not listed here, please let me know by email. I'll get back to you as soon as I can.

You can email me at: gillian@
gillianslarder.
com

I look forward to hearing from you!

With best wishes,
Gillian