Ajwain- (Trachyspermum ammi)
Also known as bishop’s weed seed and carom this pungent spice originated in South India and is related to cumin and caraway. It smells like a combination of mint, caraway and oregano and has a sharp and slightly bitter flavor. It’s used widely in Indian and Afghani cuisine especially in roti, lentil dishes, soups and pickles.
Allspice- (Pimenta dioica)
Allspice is so named as it smells (and roughly tastes) like a combination of cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg with fruity and camphoraceous undertones. Allspice berries are actually the dried, unripe fruit of an evergreen tree in the myrtle family. Originating in the Antilles and Central America it is now grown throughout the Caribbean and tropical South Asia. Our whole allspice berries hail from Jamaica. Allspice is used in jerk seasoning, pickles, desserts, mulled wine and baharat mixtures (a varying spice blend found around the Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East)
Amchur- (Mangifera indica)
Amchur, also known as dry mango powder, is made from under-ripe green mangoes that are sliced thin, sundried and then ground to a powder. It has rich, sweet scent that smells like a combination of honey and tropical fruits. Popular in North Indian cuisine it has pleasant tartness and is used widely in curries, chutneys and vegetable dishes.
Amla– (Phyllanthus emblica)
Amla, also known as Indian gooseberry and myrobalan is the fruit of a deciduous tree native to South Asia. It is not related to the gooseberries that are grown widely in Europe and North America. Amla is sour, bitter and slightly astringent. It is a major component of Ayurvedic medicine and is commonly used in shampoos and hair oils. Due to it’s high tannin content it is also used for making ink and as a mordant in fixing dyes to cloth. Amla is used widely in Indian cuisine in lentil and chickpea dishes like Peshawari Chole as well as in pickles. Amla is also sometimes candied and eaten by itself as a dessert.
Anise Seed- (Pimpinella Anisum)
Anise Seed comes from a plant related to coriander and fennel that originated in the Eastern Mediterranean and Southwest Asia. It has a sweet, intoxicating, licorice-like scent and flavor. It’s used in desserts, liquors (like Absinthe and Ouzo), liqueurs (like anisette) and by itself makes a great breath freshener and digestive aid when chewed after a meal. Our whole anise seed is Organic and hails from Egypt.
Anardana- (Punica granatum)
The pomegranate originated in the area encompassing Iran and Northern India. It is now widely cultivated across North Africa, the Mediterranean, the Middle East, South Asia and California. The bright red seeds that make up the edible portion of a pomegranate fruit are dried in the sun and then ground to a coarse powder called anardana. Popular in Pakistani and North Indian cuisine, anardana powder has a sweet, fruity and bready scent and a slight acidity and is used to give a little zip to dals and other curries.
Asafetida- (Ferula assafoetida)
Asafetida or Hing is made from the gummy sap of a giant relative of the fennel plant. Unlike fennel, it does not have a sweet, licorice scent or flavor. Instead it smells like a combination of roasted garlic and onion powder with a distinct fishy undertone. It is very pungent- so you really only need a pinch. Asafetida is an essential ingredient in North Indian cuisine and works like a flavor enhancer.
Bay Leaves (Mediterranean)- (Laurus nobilus)
Bay leaves come from a tree in the laurel family native to the Mediterranean basin. The Mediterranean bay leaf has a sweet, fruity and slightly resinous scent and is used in cuisines from Spain to East Asia- especially from around Italy and North Africa. The longer the leaves are cooked in a dish the stronger the flavor they give off. They are great in tomato sauces, savory soups and spice blends like Chesapeake Bay Seasoning. Our whole bay leaves are Organic and come from Turkey. Note: Bay leaves are not poisonous to eat as some claim- they are however very rigid and if ingested in large pieces or whole can cut the lining of the stomach. This is not an issue if they are ground to a powder.
Caraway Seed- (Carum Carvi)
Caraway Seed comes from a plant related to carrots and fennel. They have a sweet, savory herbaceous scent reminiscent of a combination of dill, anise and spearmint. Great in potato dishes, rye bread, cabbage dishes and pickles, caraway seed acts as a digestive aid. It is also used in the production of herbal liquors like Kummel. Our whole caraway seed is Organic and comes to us from India and Egypt.
Cardamom- (Elettaria, Amomum)
Cardamom are the seed pods from a family of plants related to ginger and turmeric that originated in South Asia and Indonesia. There are several varieties- the most commonly used are black cardamom (Amomum subulatum) and green cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum). Cardamom’s intense scent fades rapidly once ground so it should be ground right before using.
Black cardamom is has an intense camphoraceous, smoky (as it is smoked during the drying process) and slightly minty scent. It is used mostly in savory dishes like Cumin Rice (Jeera Pulau). Black cardamom is used in Indian, Middle Eastern and North African cuisine. Our black cardamom comes from India.
Green cardamom has a sweet, floral scent with piney undertones. It has a sweeter flavor than black cardamom and it is an indispensible ingredient in chai tea and spice blends like garam masala and ras el hanout. It also goes well with pickles and makes an interesting addition to liqueurs and gin. Like black cardamom it is widely used in the cuisines of India, the Middle East and North Africa and it also popular in desserts in Europe. Our green cardamom comes to us from Guatemala.
Chamomile is a group of plants loosely related to daisies. The flower heads are picked when freshly opened and dried. We carry German chamomile (Matricaria recutita) which has an intense honey-like fragrance and a naturally sweet flavor. German chamomile makes a great herbal tea all by itself and blends well with black or green teas or lemongrass. Our chamomile is Organic and comes from Germany and Croatia.
Celery Seed- (Apium graveolens)
Celery seed has a pungent, spicy and slightly musky scent and a salty, bitter flavor. It is used in a variety of spice blends like Chesapeake Bay seasoning and is widely used in European and Cajun cuisine. Our celery seed is Organic and comes from Egypt.
Cinnamon is the inner bark from a group of trees in the Laurel family. We carry Cassia Cinnamon (Cinnamomum cassia) and Ceylon cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum).
Cassia cinnamon generally has thicker bark and a sweeter scent with hints of vanilla. Cassia contains variable levels of coumarin. Cassia originated in southern China and is closely related to Saigon Cinnamon. It is one of the essentials of Chinese Five Spice powder. It is also used in sweet and some savory dishes throughout the western world. Our Cassia cinnamon comes from Indonesia.
Ceylon Cinnamon originated in Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon). It has a fruity, camphoraceous scent and very complex flavor. Widely used in Indian cuisine it is an integral spice in garam masala. Ceylon cinnamon has an almost papery thickness and is easy to grind into a very fine powder. Our Ceylon cinnamon sticks are Organic and hails from Sri Lanka. Ceylon cinnamon contains no coumarin.
Cloves- (Syzygium aromaticum)
Cloves are the dried flower buds of an evergreen tree in the myrtle family native to the Maluku Islands (Moluccas) of Indonesia. They have a sweet camphoraceous scent and spicy, bitter flavor that largely derives from their eugenol content. Cloves are used in cuisine around the world from spice blends like Chinese Five Spice powder to pickling spice blends to mulled wine and desserts. Our whole cloves come from Sri Lanka and are Organic.
Coriander Seed- (Coriandrum sativum)
Coriander or cilantro is related to parsley and caraway and is native to the Mediterranean basin and Southwest Asia. All parts of the plant are edible but the leaves and seed are most commonly used in cooking. The seeds have a floral, lemony scent and an herbaceous flavor with a slight natural sweetness. Coriander is used in various cuisines from around the world especially in South and Southeast Asia. It is also widely used in herbal liquors, gin, and was once the main flavoring/preserving agent in beer- though has largely been replaced by hops. Many modern day Belgian Ales still use coriander. Our coriander seed is Organic and comes to us from Bulgaria.
Cumin Seed- (Cuminum cyminum)
Cumin is related to parsley and dill and is thought to have originated in the Levant. Cumin seed has a musky, earthy and spicy scent with hints of citrus. The flavor is salty, savory and slightly bitter. Cumin is an integral component of dishes like Cumin Rice, Ful Mudammas and refried beans. It is found in cuisine from across Latin America, Europe, the Middle East, South and Southeast Asia. Our whole cumin seed is Organic and comes from India and Turkey.