Here is some interesting information on some spices. I will include more as time and space allows.
Allspice - Whole berries or ground, a singles spice, not a blend. With flavor like a warm teasing of cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg. Blends well with other spices without dominating. It is both savory and sweet. Used in meat, poultry, pickles, relishes, cakes, cookies, pumpkins, squash, sweet potato. Add to pancake mixes for a spicy cinnamon flavor. Can be used in chocolate and tapioca puddings, barbecue sauces, beef soups and stews, meat loaf, baked ham, boiled fish, red cabbage, and cranberry dishes. Also good in split pea and tomato soups, and pastries.
Alum - Powdered in form. Gives a firmer, crisper product when used in canning. Used in preparing cucumber, mixed pickles, green tomato, watermelon rind dilled or pickled green beans, some vegetable relishes.
Arrowroot - Used as a thickening in puddings and other liquids. 1 tablespoon thickens 1 cup of liquid. Use about 1/2 amount of flour called for in recipes.
Basil - Fresh or dried, broken or ground leaves with faintly anise-like flavor and sweet aroma. Best known for its affinity to raw or cooked tomato dishes and sauces; in pasta dishes, soups, stuffing, salad dressings; garnish for egg, cheese, and poultry dishes. Use to baste chicken or fish filets during cooking. Good over cooked vegetables.
Bay Leaf - Whole dried leaves or ground, with strong flavor. Used in meat and poultry dishes; soups, pot roasts and stews; in fish and vegetable dishes; in pickles and stuffing.
Bouquet Garni - A blend of basil, summer savory, marjoram, oregano, rosemary, sage, dill weed, thyme and tarragon. Used in soups, meats, sauces, and vegetables, scrambled eggs, omelets, soufflés, appetizers and cheese spreads. 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon four 4 servings. Crush leaves just before adding.
Cardamom Seed - A seed responsible for the very special flavor of Danish and Scandinavian cakes and breads. The whole pods are used to release the flavorful brown seeds, which can be used whole or crushed. Used in baked apples, applesauce, apple pie, meat gravies, coffee, lamb curry, cole slaw, chicken cottage cheese, fruit salads. For a tempting flavor add 1/2 teaspoon crushed to cookies.
Cayenne - Thin, long, hot red pepper used for seasoning. Found in ground form in Cajun dishes.
Celery Salt - A blend of ground celery seed and flake salt. It is an excellent seasoning for fish, poultry, eggs, soups, sauces and vegetable dishes. 1/2 teaspoon for 4 servings is the suggested use.
Celery Seed - It is harvested from an herb relative of the parsley family and should not be confused with the familiar vegetable celery. It adds a distinct, yet subtle flavor dimension. Used in relishes, salads, dressings, sandwich fillings, meat dishes, breads, dips and spreads. Can also be used in soups and over fresh sliced tomatoes.
Chicory - White root that is dried, roasted and ground. Often added to coffee for an unusual taste, New Orleans style.
Chili Powder - Red to very dark red powder with varying degrees of heat. Store in refrigerator. Used in meat dishes, pickles, barbecue sauces, cocktail dips, salad dressings, snack foods, cheese, egg, and seafood dishes.
Chives - Long, spiky, green leaves, fresh or freeze-dried and chopped. They come in onion and garlic flavor. The garlic is flat when fresh and the onion chives round when fresh. Used in egg, cheese, fish, poultry and vegetables, as a garnish for salads, soups and cooked vegetables. Dried use 1/2 teaspoon for 4 servings.
Cilantro - Also known as coriander leaf. Comes ground, as leaf and can be used fresh as well as dried. Use in sauces, such as guacamole dip, chile, curry, Mongolian lamp and Peking duck. 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon for 4 servings.
Cinnamon - Reddish brown sticks of rolled bark, or ground, with sweet, pungent aroma. Used with sweet vegetables, in fruit dishes, pickles, breads, cakes, and cookies and in desserts.
Cloves - Whole nail shaped buds, or ground, with pungent, warm, sweet aroma. Used in meat, poultry, barbecue sauces, sweet vegetables, pickles, relishes, fruits, breads, cookies, desserts, and candies, as garnish for relishes, ham, and spiced fruits. Also sauces vegetables, and pastries. 1/4 teaspoon for 4 servings.
Cumin Seed - Ground in form. Used in chili, sauces, to calm down tomato dishes. 1/8 to 1/2 teaspoon for 4 servings.
Filé - Leaves of the sassafras tree, ground and sprinkled in gumbos for flavoring.
Ginger - Whole roots, fresh or dried, ground or cracked, with pungent, sweet aroma and hot flavor. Used in meat, poultry, seafood and vegetable dishes, pickles, salad dressings, breads, cookies, pies, cakes, biscuits and desserts; with fruit. Add a dash to whipped cream to top a dessert.
Habanero Pepper - The hottest of all know peppers.
Italian Herb Seasoning - A blend of oregano, marjoram, thyme, summer savory, basil, rosemary and sage. Used to accent Italian dishes, minestrone, bean and tomato soups. Sprinkle on lasagna, and other casseroles. Use to marinate and baste chicken, lamb and roasts.
Jalapeno Pepper - ranked mildest.
Mace - Comes as a whole seed or ground. Similar in flavor to nutmeg. Use in cakes, cookies, pies, fruit, and other deserts. Sprinkle on vegetables such as squash, sweet potatoes and beets. Add a sprinkle for a garnish to whipped toppings.
Marjoram - Fresh or dried leaves or flakes, with strong, sweet aroma and cool aftertaste. Used in meat, poultry, fish, cheese, egg, and vegetables. Can be used on pork, veal, fish, or poultry stuffing. Delightful in biscuits, stews, gravies and sauces.
Mint Leaves - Impart an aromatic flavor can be found dried and fresh. Popular for beverages, meats confections and deserts. I stuff a gallon jar with leaves and cover it with water and let it brew in the sun all day. Pour over ice and serve. Sweetening is optional. Makes and excellent tea, and settles an upset stomach. Dried 1 tablespoon in a 2 -3 cup teapot makes an excellent warm tea.
Mustard - Ground or as seed, a substitute for prepared mustard. Comes in regular or pure hot flavors. Used in salads, dressings and cream sauces. Add to glazes, for meat, fish, game and poultry. Add to prepared marinades and barbecue sauces for a homemade flavor.
Nutmeg - Whole seed or ground, with warm, sweet, spicy slightly bitter, aromatic flavor. Used in beverages, vegetables, breads, cookies, cakes, and desserts, as garnish for beverages, sauces and desserts. 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon for 4 servings.
Oregano - We grow oregano that is cross-pollinated by the bees with the rosemary that grows right above it. Its seeds are strong and have a different flavor than most oregano. It can be used both fresh and dried. We use both the seeds and the leaves in beef and poultry.
Paprika - Powder varying in color from bright to brick red, with sweetish aroma and flavor, which may have a slight "bite" Chill. Made from the ground-dried pod of the sweet chili pepper. Used in meat, poultry, cheese, salad dressings, snack foods, cocktail dips; garnish for soups, and chowder, dips and salads. Also used in sauces and on fish. 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon for 4 servings.
Parsley - Fresh leaves and stems (which contain much flavor), or dried flakes, mild in flavor. Used to flavor and garnish almost any non-sweet dish, raw or cooked.
Pepper - Black available as whole, cracked or ground. White available as whole or ground, mildest. Used in most dishes and main-dish sauces, gravies, salads, salad dressings, snacks, appetizers and pickles.
Pepper (RED) - Whole, crushed pods or ground. Varies from mild too intense. Jalapeno ranked mildest, then the cayenne and Habanero is the hottest known. Used in most main-dish sauces, gravies, salads, salad dressings, snacks, appetizers and pickles.
Pequin Chile Pepper - Small, oblong, red-hot Chile pepper usually found in dried form great for making sauces.
Poppy Seeds - The pleasant nutlike flavor and crunchy texture is enhanced by toasting. Used primarily in breads, pastries, salads and vegetables. Can be stirred into cooked noodles, potatoes or carrots, peas, or spinach, added to fruit or mixed green salads. 1 to 2 teaspoons for 4 servings.
Rosemary - Fresh or dried needle-shaped leaves with pungent tea-like aroma and bittersweet taste. Used in meat, poultry, fish, stuffing, breads, vegetables, and salads; garnish for salads and breads.
Tepin Chile Pepper - Small round, red very hot Chile pepper usually found in dry form is great for very hot sauces. Makes a very nice plant that grows like a small tree and is beautiful too. Used in sauces, or to put a little zip in dishes. One pepper crushed per person does a very nice job in heating up a dish.
Thyme - It comes as fresh or dried leaves or ground, pungent and aromatic in flavor. Used in meat, poultry, seafood, egg, cheese, and vegetable dishes, in soups, stews, stuffing and salad dressings.
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Last updated 9 /7/2003