Is There a Difference?
Herbs vs. Spices — is there really a difference? The words “herbs” and “spices” are often used interchangeably which can be a bit confusing at times. The herbs and spices of The Paprika Palace are the culinary kind, used for cooking. While these herbs and spices may work some medicinal magic, the primary focus here is on their overall yumminess!
So are you really using herbs? Or are you sprinkling in some spices?
Herbs vs. Spices
These are by no means the only or best definitions out there, but they work well for The Paprika Palace.
Herbs are generally considered to be the fresh parts of a plant and can be used either fresh or dried. They generally have a more savory quality.
Spices come from dried parts of the plant and are generally not used fresh. They tend to be used in more sweet than savory dishes.
Herbs AND Spices
So there’s the skinny on herbs vs. spices. But here at The Paprika Palace, we prefer herbs AND spices. No need to get competitive here. We’re all on the same team, after all. It’s all about BALANCE. Both herbs and spices are DELICIOUS, both individually and with each other! Or you can always chose the most direct route and just call them by name — cinnamon, basil, parsley, etc. Then there’s no worry if something is an herb OR a spice.
We keep a wide variety of dried herbs on hand at all times at The Paprika Palace. Actually, our dried herbs and spices are on full display at all times. That way, they are always at our finger tips. We buy in bulk, which may sound crazy when you live in a small space like we do. But our jars hold quite a bit! That way, we always have plenty to work with.
Dried herbs generally last 1-3 years. They’re most likely safe to eat beyond that, but you’ll need to add more to get the same oomph. That’s not a problem when you buy in bulk. We have found it’s not that much more for 8 ounces in bulk than buying a tiny ounce or less jar of the same herb in the grocery store.
Fresh herbs, on the other hand, need a bit more space. And they take a bit more planning, as they only last a week or so in the fridge. If you grow your own, you have the luxury of just picking a leaf or two when you need them. However, growing fresh herbs does require enough space for some flower pots, if you’re growing them indoors or on a balcony (like we are — here’s one of our basil plants).
In addition, as with most plants, they need to be watered regularly and require way more care than those lovely jars of dried herbs. Also, availability for fresh herbs can vary from area to area and from season to season. So if you stick to fresh herbs only, your herb selection may be quite limited.
Fresh AND Dried Herbs
We have found the balanced approach works best for most things, including fresh and dried herbs. So we always have a healthy supply of dried herbs and spices on hand. We also usually have a basil plant or two, sometimes full of beautiful green leaves, other times just a lonely twig. (We’re finally getting better at keeping them around longer!) Oregano and mint plants also seem to do well with us, unlike parsley and cilantro, which we love but find it’s easier to buy a fresh bunch here and there.
Keep in mind, my husband and I have a small home in a large high-rise in the city, without the luxury of a yard. So all our growing is done in small to medium sized pots, either indoors by a window or out on our tiny deck. You can find space for a plant, when you really want to.
Whether sweet or savory, fresh or dried, both herbs and spices can turn most any dish into a luxurious, sensuous delight.🍃 THE PAPRIKA PALACE 🍃