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Ten Basic Spices Every Cook Should Have on Hand


As a certified health and wellness coach, I love discussing food, health benefits, and how to keep weight in check.

Common Kitchen Spices

I ransacked my pantry and came up with this rather motley mob of versatile spices. There are more hiding in the cabinet but these will do.

I ransacked my pantry and came up with this rather motley mob of versatile spices. There are more hiding in the cabinet but these will do.

A kitchen without spices is much like a beauty queen without her make-up kit. She may look nice sans make-up, but make-up will enhance her natural beauty. Too much may not be flattering, but just the right amount may accentuate her features to good effect. The same goes for food. With the right amount and kind of seasoning, plain food can become at once delectable and irresistible.

Perhaps that’s why since ancient civilization, spices are priced for their ability to add aesthetic value to food. History records revealed that Queen Sheba (about 1,000 BC) carted more “120 measures of gold, many spices, and precious stones” to visit the legendary wise and revered King Solomon. Spices were put on the same worth as precious stones and gold, and so we can infer that they were very valuable then.

Moving along the spice timeline, spices featured prominently in many cultures. From the Egyptians to the Greeks, spices were used in food preparation, as preservatives and for their medicinal value. Hippocrates (460 to 377 BC) wrote of using spices and herbs for medicinal use. He mentioned herbs like cinnamon, thyme, coriander, mint and marjoram. Ancient Greeks weaved parsley and marjoram into their head garlands to prevent drunkenness. In the third century, Chinese courtiers stuffed their mouths with cloves to sweeten their breaths before approaching their Emperors.

As the world grows and expands, spices have become commonplace and easily accessible. Once, only the privileged and wealthy could afford the use of spices, now, we can find spices in every grocery store. Most kitchens are stocked with spices. The choices of spices are determined by personal and cultural preferences. In this hub, I will share some common spices every cook should have on hand. My only qualification for making my top ten must-have spices? I love to cook and often, you can catch me playing and experimenting with food.

Onion, Ginger and Garlic

These fresh spices I always have on hand, any day, any time of the year.

These fresh spices I always have on hand, any day, any time of the year.

1. Garlic

The Greeks called it stinking rose, but its pungency aside, garlic has a rich history of culinary and medicinal use. First found growing on the mountains of Central Asia, this versatile fresh spice is quite a staple in many culinary explorations. Stir-fry would lose its characteristic flavor, garlic bread would not be in existence and certain sauces, soups and foods would be rather flat. Whether it’s minced, chopped, roasted whole or pickled, garlic can transform and upgrade any number of dishes.

Garlic belongs to the Allium family and gives off a strong pungent smell, due to the presence of allicin. The smell can reputedly ward off vampires (and any hot dates), but it is also the chemical responsible for a number of health benefits. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, allicin and other sulfur compounds in garlic may help lower cholesterol, reduce risks of heart disease and prevent certain cancers.

2. Onion

The onion needs no introduction. It is after all, the oldest edible source known to mankind. We’re familiar with it since it’s quite ubiquitous in many cuisines—Indian, Asian, Mediterranean, Mexican and Continental, to mention just a few. It is quite indispensable in curries, stir-fries, soups, stuffing, pastes, and sauces and can be used as a garnish or a condiment. Its strong robust flavor and characteristic pungency help to complement and enhance the flavor of foods. Its versatility is far-reaching: toss thinly-sliced onion in a salad for that extra kick, add it to sandwiches, sauté chopped onion in stir-fry for added flavor, simmer it in soup to add sweetness and blend it in sauces and condiments to add excitement, or caramelize it to release the burst of flavor.

Culinary prowess aside, onion also exerts strong health benefits—even more reason to include it in your diet. Onion is naturally high in antioxidants, quercetin and chromium (helps to maintain proper hormonal balance) and low in fat and calories. Eating approximately two teaspoons of onion a day may significantly lower the risk of prostate cancer, according to a study from the National Cancer Institute. Another study conducted in the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Institute reveals that onion increases a key enzyme for removing toxins in the blood cells of healthy women. Quercetin exerts anti-carcinogenic, anti-inflammatory and anti-diabetic properties and is quite a fat blaster too.

3. Ginger

Ginger has been used as a cooking spice for at least 4,400 years. An underground stem (rhizome is the technical word), ginger not only imparts flavor, zing and zest, it is also used in many cultures as a medicine. It is reputed to have many splendid uses: relieve nausea, treats common cold and flu, aids digestion, headaches, menstrual cramps and arthritis, amongst others. However, these uses should not be dismissed as folk medicine. A number of studies have been done and have validated some of the claims. Among them—ginger is beneficial for treating nausea, motion sickness, as a digestive aid for mild stomach upset, reducing the pain of osteoarthritis and in cancer chemotherapy.

Ginger continues to be a favorite in culinary uses. It is used in many and varied ways. From flavoring main entrees to soups to flavoring desserts and drinks, ginger has found a permanent place in the halls of delectable cooking. Ginger cookies, ginger-infused chicken, ginger tea, ginger beer, ginger candy—the world would be a sadder place without these culinary indulgences.

White, Green, Red and Black Pepper

I love to use all the colors of pepper in one blend. Look closely to see my well-used pepper grinder.

I love to use all the colors of pepper in one blend. Look closely to see my well-used pepper grinder.

4. Pepper (White, Green, Red and Black)

Peppercorns once as used interchangeably as money—they were used to pay rent, tolls and wages in Eastern Europe, are much loved in many countries and have been used creatively in many dishes from peppering steak to creating exotic desserts and drinks. In essence, peppercorns are dried fruits and the color depends on the time of harvest and the processing method. In general, they are pungent and aromatic, with the white pepper leading on the pungency barometer. Green and black peppercorns are more aromatic.

Different cultures have developed certain pet preferences, though not exclusively. For instance, in Thailand, fresh green peppercorns are used in stir-fries and curry pastes. The Chinese and Japanese have a preference for white pepper, using it to good effect to “spice up” their soups. Western cuisines also prefer white pepper to coax flavor out of white sauces or white meats. However, black pepper is used in almost all of the world’s cuisines, hence its domination in production and consumption. A dash of black pepper can enhance the flavor of any dish.

Cinnamon Is Commonly Used in Desserts

5. Cinnamon

When they say spice and all things nice, they must refer to cinnamon. Warm, sweet and fragrant, it is the spice most favored in the winter months to beat the cold and blue. Cinnamon, the oldest spice known—was mentioned in the Bible and used in ancient Egypt to flavor beverages and often used as an embalming agent. It is also used in medicine, as a preservative and to mask strong odors. Various studies have pointed to several health benefits with cinnamon use: has natural anti-infectious compounds, helps to regulate blood sugar, reduces harmful LDL cholesterol, reduces menstrual pain and may prevent the proliferation of cancer cells.

There are typically two kinds of cinnamon—the sweeter, more refined Ceylon cinnamon and the more common Chinese cinnamon (cassia). They are available in sticks or powder. A sprinkle of cinnamon can work wonders with desserts, breads, cookies, pies, candies, beverages and even savory dishes. They work well with sweet vegetables such as squash, sweet potatoes and pumpkin—hence the spiced pumpkin pies.

6. Cumin

Cumin comes from the dried seeds of an annual plant in the parsley family. Nutty, aromatic and earthy, cumin is a regular spice of choice in Middle Eastern, Indian, Asian, Mediterranean and Mexican cuisines. It is often sold whole or ground, and it is available in three colors: white, black or amber, with the amber being the most widely available. You may choose to roast cumin seeds to enhance flavor.

It works well in many types of dishes and is one of the main ingredients in curry powder. You can pair cumin with beans, chicken, lentils, chickpeas, potatoes, sausages, soups, stews, eggs, couscous, chili and it can be used in condiments and sauces as well.

Spices Commonly Used in Asian Cuisine

Common Asian spices: fresh red chilies, lemon grass, turmeric, shallots and garlic.

Common Asian spices: fresh red chilies, lemon grass, turmeric, shallots and garlic.

7. Cayenne

Cayenne pepper is invaluable if you love spicy food. The active ingredient, capsaicin, imparts a spicy hit and the degree of spiciness varies with varieties of red chili pepper used. You can use fresh chili pepper or the powdered form. It can be added to food to enhance the spice factor and to add color. Can you imagine a bowl of chili without a touch of cayenne?

Cajun and Creole cooking feature cayenne often, and so do the cuisines of Southeast Asia, China, Southern Italy and Mexico. Gumbo, curries, Kung Pao chicken, fajitas may never taste the same without the characteristic spicy hit of cayenne.

Apart from culinary use, the capsaicin in cayenne has been utilized in a number of cream and ointments to relieve arthritis, shingles and personal defense sprays.

Pesto Sauce With Basil

8. Basil

Widely used in Italian, Mediterranean and Thai cooking, basil is rich, spicy, slightly peppery with a hint of mint and clove. This lovely culmination of flavors makes it delight to use, whether fresh, dried or frozen. Basil is considered part of the mint family, and there are about 40 varieties. The sweet basil is the most common. The Vietnamese and Thais use a spicy, smaller-leafed version called Thai basil. It is characterized by its purple stems and dainty purple flowers, and it carries a sweetness akin to licorice and anise.

Basil is incredibly versatile. The leaves can be eaten fresh or cooked. Fresh leaves add extra zing to salads and can double up as beautiful garnishes. Minced, chopped or blended together with other herbs (works especially well with garlic, thyme and lemon), there are countless ways to enjoy this aromatic herb. It greatly enhances the flavor of veal, chicken, fish or lamb. When used with mild vegetables such as cauliflower, potatoes, cabbage, squash, eggplant or zucchini, basil accentuates the taste factor. Soups, stews, sauces and marinades with basil add zip and zest.

9. Oregano

Small grayish-green oval leaves characterized Oregano. Crush some fresh leaves between your fingers and it will exude a warm, peppery and sweet fragrance. This herb boasts high levels of vitamin K, manganese, iron, calcium and dietary fiber. Oregano means “mountain joy,” and this herb has no doubt brought joy to the culinary experience.

Oregano belongs to the same family as marjoram and is often mistaken as a result. However, oregano has more pungency and is less sweet. It is steeped in Italian cooking and oregano is an indispensable spice in common fares like pizza and spaghetti sauce. It is also used extensively in Mediterranean and Mexican cooking. Fresh oregano can be tossed on top of pizza, in salads, in omelets and works well with sautéed mushrooms and onions. Infuse essential oils of oregano by immersing a few springs in a bottle of olive oil. The oregano scented oil can then be used for salad dressings, as a dip for bread or cooking.

Rosemary Shrub

Rosemary's woody scent maybe too strong for certain dishes—use sparingly in such cases.

Rosemary's woody scent maybe too strong for certain dishes—use sparingly in such cases.

10. Rosemary

Shakespeare called it the herb of “remembrance” as it is long believed to enhance memory. It is also traditionally used to provide relief for headaches, improve memory, relieve muscle pain, stimulate hair growth and support circulatory and nervous systems. This is often achieved through aromatherapy or ingestion. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, some studies showed that rosemary may help prevent thrombosis, inhibit foodborne pathogens such as Listeria monocytogens, B. cereus and S. aureus and help to reduce stress and anxiety.

Woodsy, fragrant and aromatic, rosemary is used in many Mediterranean dishes and works well in gravies, risotto dishes and stocks. It pairs well with chicken and lamb. Fresh bouquets add a beautiful touch as a garnish and it can be used to flavor vinegars, wines and olive oils.

Not every cook will agree on this list and not every cook will agree on how best to use them but that’s quite alright. But one thing all cooks will agree on: The judicious use of spice in cooking adds flair and flavor and gives food an attitude. A good one at that.

Spices and Flavors

Spices that enhance sweet flavor means you can add less sugar and spices that enhance savory flavor means you can add less sodium and fat.

Spices that enhance sweet flavorSpices that enhance savory flavorsSpicy Spices





Bay Leaf

Chili pepper


Celery seed



Chili powder
















Korean Red Pepper (Gochugaru)













My Example Recipes

Here are some examples of dishes I made with the spices I have on hand.

© 2012 anglnwu


anglnwu (author) on May 05, 2015:

Thanks, vickiholder, i love curry powder and thyme too. Great as seasoning on meat and vegetables.

Vicki Holder from The beautiful Ouachita Mtns. in Arkansas on May 02, 2015:

I completely agree with this list. I use these spices all the time. I am also addicted to curry powder and thyme.

anglnwu (author) on August 25, 2014:

Yay, great minds think alike. Looks like I'll have no problem in your kitchen. Thanks for commenting.

Carrie Lee Night from Northeast United States on August 22, 2014:

Anglnwu: great hub ! :). All your top ten are my top ten too! :). Thank you for sharing

anglnwu (author) on March 04, 2013:

KoffeekatchGals, thanks for dropping by to comment.

Susan Hazelton from Sunny Florida on February 28, 2013:

What a wonderful list of spices. I couldn't agree with you more. I love the tips that went along with them. Up, interesting, and useful.

anglnwu (author) on November 17, 2012:

beingwell, good to see you here. Cumin has a strong aroma and some people don't take to it well, for example, my husband--he hates it but I think that most curries contain cumin. Enjoy experimenting with cumin--it's quite versatile. Thanks for reading and commenting.

beingwell from Bangkok on November 14, 2012:

Great tips, as always! I have most of those spices in the kitchen! And I'm loving them. I don't know where to use cumin though... so I haven't bought them. Perhaps, it is time to try them out. Thanks a bunch!! Voted up and shared with my friendlies.

anglnwu (author) on October 25, 2012:

Nice to see you here, Lady E. Now, to Harrods to get more spices? Thanks for reading and commenting.

Elena from London, UK on October 24, 2012:

Very useful Hub. I am encouraged to use a wider variety of spices. Now I just use a few. (thyme, curry and sometimes basil)

Best Wishes.

anglnwu (author) on October 14, 2012:

Vespawoolf, thanks for reading and commenting. Knowing you and the fabulous cook that you're, I' m not surprised that you grind your own cumin seeds. I wish I could say the same.

Vespa Woolf from Peru, South America on October 13, 2012:

I agree...these are also some of the basic spices in my kitchen arsenal. I prefer to toast and grind my own cumin seeds for extra flavor. Thanks so much!

anglnwu (author) on October 07, 2012:

Carol, so nice to hear from you again. Thanks for reading this hub and rating it up.

carol stanley from Arizona on October 03, 2012:

Lots of good information about spices. Though I use many always something new to learn. Thanks for the great hub and I am voting up.

anglnwu (author) on September 24, 2012:

A+ for you, TycoonSam. Glad you enjoy cooking and enjoy your baked french fries. Thanks for your comments.

TycoonSam from Washington, MI on September 22, 2012:

I pass the test. I have them all and I'm looking forward to making the Baked french fries with rosemary and parsley!

Voted up and useful

anglnwu (author) on September 14, 2012:

SommerDalton, thanks for dropping by to comment.

Sommer Dalton on September 13, 2012:

Makes me want to cook! Great hub voted up and more!!

anglnwu (author) on July 25, 2012:

Thanks, Tonipet, for your kind words. I agree with you too. Glad you liked it.

Tonette Fornillos from The City of Generals on July 22, 2012:

Terrific list anglnwu, very informative. You said that not every cook will agree on this list and not every cook will agree on how best to use them - this one I should say, herbs and spices not only spice up dishes but it allows us the opportunity to invent new flavors and new recipes. I'm bookmarking this! Thank you.

anglnwu (author) on June 20, 2012:

Thanks, maurerose, yes, I agree--certain spices go better with each other. I love rosemary and thyme--old favorites but this combo rocks. Thanks for your comments.

maurerose from From Houston, TX to Alicante, Spain on June 19, 2012:

Great post! The thing I love most about cooking is figuring out the best combo of spices! Great dishes... love garlic... thanks for sharing!

anglnwu (author) on May 21, 2012:

nifwiseirff, I agree, it's hard to limit oneself to ten must-have spices but if one has to. I definitely use more than 10 spices on a regular basis. Thanks for commenting.

Kymberly Fergusson from Germany on May 20, 2012:

I'm not sure I could limit my must-have spices to just 10, although those 10 would certainly be in my list!

anglnwu (author) on April 17, 2012:

Yay, Audrey, high five! Thanks for your gracious comment--it means much since you're the writer.

Audrey Howitt from California on April 17, 2012:

Yum! I am 10 for 10! You write so well! Very informative hub!

anglnwu (author) on March 29, 2012:

Yay, we both have the same spices in our kitchen, Koffeeklatch. I would be lost without them too--and my food wouldn't taste as good. Thanks for your comments.

Susan Hazelton from Sunny Florida on March 28, 2012:

You named the spices I keep on hand all the time. I'd be lost without them. I love the information you included on each spice. Great hub. Up and interesting.

anglnwu (author) on March 19, 2012:

lifelovemystery, I'm with you. I always have olive oil on hand and sesame oil too (since i'm Asian). Thanks for dropping by to comment.

Michelle Orelup from Las Vegas, NV on March 18, 2012:

This is great information about kitchen spices. Although olive oil is not a spice, I find that it is a necessary component of so many of my favorite meals. My kitchen isn't complete with out it!

anglnwu (author) on March 16, 2012:

Thelma, thank you. I appreciate your comments and all the more so, because I know you're a great cook.

Cebutouristspot--cayenne--one of my favorites too. I love spicy food. As for heartburn, we'll deal with it later...enjoy first. Thanks for commenting.

Happyboomernurse, thanks for your vote of confidence. So glad you like it.

tarajeyaram, i can't live with spices and herbs. They make life so much better. Thanks for adding to this hub with your comments.

tarajeyaram from Wonderland on March 16, 2012:

Great hub. I can't live without spices and herbs. I have most of them. Congratulation on getting the award for hub of the day. Voted up and SHARING.

Gail Sobotkin from South Carolina on March 16, 2012:

I love the way you wove the history of spices and the many health benefits of using them into this well illustrated, comprehensive hub. Thanks for sharing this information and congratulations on earning the Hub of the Day accolade.

Voted up across the board except for funny.

cebutouristspot from Cebu on March 16, 2012:

Am a sucker for cayenne pepper :) That is why I always get a heartburn hahahah. One spice I really love but am sure this is not consider basic but nevertheless I want to share is Lemon Pepper :)

Thelma Alberts from Germany on March 16, 2012:

Congratulation! I have all the spices in my kitchen besides the cumin. The photos of your food makes me hungry now. This hub is very informative and useful. Thanks for SHARING.

anglnwu (author) on March 14, 2012:

ripplemaker, glad you find this hub useful. Rosemary and basil are very versatile and it's good to have them on hand. Thanks for commenting.

Mike, glad you like to cook. You're right, a lot of these spices have medicinal values. Appreciate your comments.

anglnwu (author) on March 14, 2012:

Senoritaa, thank you:)

Blisswriter, I agree garlic is amazing. Thanks for commenting.

ladeda, thank you. Enjoy your weekend cooking.

Chrisam, thank you for commenting. Cumin is great in curry and goes well with soup as well.

Tenkay, lucky you---a husband who cooks. Enjoy.

NJ Blake, thanks for checking back. I agree--cayenne and chocolate combo is weird but it certainly rocks.

Mike on March 13, 2012:

I am very good with cooking and these are same spices used in curries in India due to their remedial qualities.http://www.micoequipment.com

anglnwu (author) on March 13, 2012:

Million Tips, thank you for your positive feedback.

BarryCross, I agree with you--spices add flavor to life. Cheers!

Deb Welch, saffron is wonderful--I love it too. Thanks for reading and commenting.

zEric7x, thanks---more incentives to use the spices--yay!

ChristineS, gald you've all of these spices. Thank you.

anglnwu (author) on March 13, 2012:

livingpath, thank you . I love cilantro too and i can see how that will work with french fries.

urmilashukla, appreciate your kind words.

Angela K, great idea on collecting spices. Thanks for commenting.

ComfortB, thanks for reading and commenting.

anglnwu (author) on March 13, 2012:

Jennifer S, thanks for reading and voting it up.

najordan, 6 out of 10 is not bad at all. I understand some people prefer to bake than cook and vice versa. I fall in the later category. Still, good effort and thanks for reading and commenting.

pstraubie, your momma is right, dried spices keep better in the frige. Thanks for your comments.

Michelle Simtoco from Cebu, Philippines on March 13, 2012:

I love this hub and although we often the onions, garlic, ginger, pepper, I also want to use the other stuff you mentioned like rosemary and basil more. We did a chicken with rosemary spices and it smelt so good! Thanks for this beautiful compilation anginwu! Truly very helpful...blessings... :)

anglnwu (author) on March 13, 2012:

dreamsetters, thanks for reading and commenting.


good comments = check

Appreciation = check.

Thanks for dropping by to comment.

snakeslane, lol on the holy trinity of spices. Never thought of that. To me, holy Trinity refers to God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. Thanks for reading and best regards to you.

Dana Teresa, yes, garlic is a definite must. Thank you:)

Om, thank you very much. You're the sweetest.

NJ Blake from United States on March 13, 2012:

Sprinkling cayenne into hot chocolate gives it a wonderful kick - there's something special about combining those two!

TENKAY from Philippines on March 13, 2012:

Your chicken curry picture is mouth-watering and the chicken adobo too. Gosh! I feel hungry already, and I had just lunch an hour ago.

Although I don't know how to cook, I love to eat. haha. I will share this with husband, he will know what to do with this info.

Thank you for sharing this info.

Congratulations for being HOTD.

Voted up and useful.

chrisam01 from Los Angeles, California, USA on March 12, 2012:

This is an awesome hub - very informative. I love to cook and I actually have cumin and have no idea what to do with it. Time to experiment. Thanks for sharing!

ladeda on March 12, 2012:

Great Hub! Now I'm planning on spending this weekend cooking!

BlissfulWriter on March 12, 2012:

Yeah, garlic is my number one spice -- very health promoting too.

anglnwu (author) on March 12, 2012:

Rtalloni, always good to hear from you and thanks for your vote of confidence.

snlee, thank you for reading.

John, smart way to make your life easier. These days, they've everything including exotic spices. Thanks for reading and commenting.

greatstuff, that's a clever way to put things. Thanks for reading.

anglnwu (author) on March 12, 2012:

Jerry, good luck with your spice shopping and happy moving in. Thanks for dropping by to comment.

Vespawoolf, thanks for reading.

Deborah, thank you. I agree it's hard to narrow it down to 10 spices and not every cook would agree on the choices as well. Thanks for reading and commenting.

Rinita Sen on March 12, 2012:

Very interesting hub, and the choice of spices covers most cuisines.

Christin Sander from Midwest on March 12, 2012:

awesome hub and exactly the spices I would have likely chosen in the top ten. I do indeed have all of these and more. Spices and how you blend them certainly do make a dish. Congrats on hub of the day and your recipes looked delicious!

zEric7x on March 12, 2012:

I just noticed my house has some of those spices already. I just need to use to more often.

Deb Welch on March 12, 2012:

Great Hub - excellent information. I do not have Chinese cinnamon - I am out of rosemary replaced with savory. I have used all of these spices for years - I am now using saffron - expensive. Congrats on Hub of the Day. Voted Up - Useful, Beautiful, Awesome and Interesting.

Barry Cross from York, UK on March 12, 2012:

Superb information. I love to spice up my life too so this will be a great reference resource. Thanks for sharing. Cheers, Barry :)

anglnwu (author) on March 12, 2012:

jpcmc, I see you've perfect score for spices and maybe, not so perfect score for cooking. Your wife can help in that department. Thank you so much for commenting and good learning:)

sensushi...I think we have rather similar taste. Rosemary goes well with that french fries shown and I agree--it goes very well with chicken. I've rosemary/rhubard chicken dish that's very delicious. Thanks for adding to this hub with your observations--love mustard and poppy seeds too.

La thing, I concur on fresh spices--I try to use fresh if possible and they give so much more flavor. Thanks for reading and commenting.

Shasta Matova from USA on March 12, 2012:

Congratulations on your well-deserved Hub of the Day. You have combined gorgeous pictures and interesting facts to make me very very hungry. I agree with your list of spices. Those are the ones I use most often as well, although I have many many more!

Comfort Babatola from Bonaire, GA, USA on March 12, 2012:

You deserve the hotd award. This is packed with good information. Congrats!

Angela Kane from Las Vegas, Nevada on March 12, 2012:

Thanks for the article. Every time I cook something new, I have to get a basic spice I did not have. The 10 spices you listed are the correct ones that need to be on hand. Voted up and useful.

Urmila from Rancho Cucamonga,CA, USA on March 12, 2012:

Great job! Congratulations on getting hub of the day award.

Milli from USA on March 12, 2012:

Hi anglnwu, Congratulations on the Hub of the Day award. Baked french fries with rosemary and parsley is my favorite too. I use cilantro though. I will see how it taste with rosemary and parsley. Very well written. Bookmarked and voted up!

anglnwu (author) on March 12, 2012:

divacratus, I love Indian food as well and agree with your list of Indian spices. I'm glad to tell you I've most of those as well. Thanks for commenting.

Naima, love your choice of words--"awaken the senses"--yes, that what spices do. Thank God for the gifts of such. Appreciate your comments.

Thanks,amilypitt, for your kind comments.

anglnwu (author) on March 12, 2012:

NJ Blake, thanks for adding to this hub with your comments. White pepper is the most pungent of all the peppercorns, so I understand. In Asia, white pepper is the pepper of choice to add to soups. Once you acquire the taste, you will not wonder at all--it has quite a character.

Thanks, jenniferg, for reading and commenting.

Prasetio, good to see you here. Thanks for your kind comments. Say hi to your mom for me--she must be a wonderful cook.

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on March 12, 2012:

Yum....this makes me want to go into the kitchen and get busy cooking. These spices are in my freezer; sounds strange I guess. My Momma told me long ago to keep them there...so there they are...everything is better when we add just the right spice. Thanks for sharing and congratulations on Hub of the Day.

najordan89 from Oklahoma on March 12, 2012:

I love cooking, and I'm ashamed to say I have only 6/10 of these ingredients! lol I'm more of a baker, really, but nonetheless, this is a fun insight. I guess I need to go stock up! lol

Jennifer Stone from the Riverbank, England on March 12, 2012:

I'm delighted to say I have all these herbs and spices in my kitchen, great hub, thanks for sharing! Voted up

Om Paramapoonya on March 12, 2012:

Hey! Just came back to say congrats on Hub of the Day! Well-deserved. :)

Dana Strang from Ohio on March 12, 2012:

Nice Hub. Very interesting. I am a garlic girl for sure. I always have it. It is by far my favorite. I also keep garlic powder on hand. I like to add it to dips and sauces when I want a less obvious garlic presence.

Verlie Burroughs from Canada on March 12, 2012:

Hi anglnwu, congratulations on Hub of the day! You are my kind of cook! You've presented some lovely food here. I love the pic of onion, ginger, and garlic, the holy trinity. Good work. Making me very hungry. Regards, snakeslane

KDF from Central Illinois on March 12, 2012:

Spices= check

Delicious Food= check

Yep, count me in! Congrats Great Hub

dreamsetters from INDIA on March 12, 2012:

great hub ...congrates

Mazlan A from Malaysia on March 12, 2012:

Congratulation on HOTD, another spice to flavor your hub activities!

John Sarkis from Winter Haven, FL on March 12, 2012:

Great hub...

You know, people don't believe when I tell them that I do not chop vegetables anymore, because, I buy everything in either powder form, or minced/chopped up already.

Voted up


snlee from Asia Pacific Regions on March 12, 2012:

Have learnt a lot from your hub, thanks.

RTalloni on March 12, 2012:

Super list of basic spices to have on hand! Thanks for this great overview of them with ideas on how to use them for cooking and medicinally.

Congratulations on this Hub of the Day award for a useful and interesting hub!

Deborah Neyens from Iowa on March 12, 2012:

I saw this question and was trying to come up with my own list of 10. It was tough to do, but I see you narrowed it down really well. Congratulations on your Hub of the Day!

Vespa Woolf from Peru, South America on March 12, 2012:

Great hub and congratulations on Hub of the Day!

JerryJupiter from United Kingdom on March 12, 2012:

Fantastically helpful guide - especially because I've recently moved out and had to restock absolutely everything! I got most things but somehow managed to forget cumin and cinnamon.. (how!!) Thanks for sharing this hub :)

LaThing from From a World Within, USA on March 12, 2012:

Very well done! Love the pictures.... I used to use all powdered spices, recently discovered fresh ginger, and garlic, what a difference!

Great hub, love it!

Sushmita from Kolkata, India on March 12, 2012:

Yes, I have all these spices always at hand and yes, some more of my favorite ones- like some mustard seed, some poppy seed and some onion seed. All three are versatile in quick fixes according to the Indian palate. It is funny the way your baked potato recipe with rosemary and parsley is exactly how I like to do it, and I thought it was something very original! Ha, ha! Rosemary though is more suited I find to chicken cooking. I will definitely try out the other recipes you have given. Voted up and interesting.

JP Carlos from Quezon CIty, Phlippines on March 12, 2012:

I've got all these spices on hand. It's the talent for cooking that I need now. LOL. My wife will also love this hub. Excellent hub. this truly requires a vote up.

Naima Manal from NY on March 12, 2012:

I concur -- this is a "must-have" list of spices for any kitchen, and it certainly awakens the taste buds to the world of flavors beyond the standard salt and pepper.

Kalpana Iyer from India on March 12, 2012:

Nice list! For Indians, the must-have spices include onions, cumin, mustard seeds, red chilli powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder, garam masala etc etc We love hot, spicy stuff. Congratulations on hub of the day. Well deserved!

Movie Master from United Kingdom on March 12, 2012:

Hi again anginwu, congratulations on hub of the day!

jenniferg78 from Philadelphia, PA on March 12, 2012:

Very informative hub on which spices are good for different combinations of foods, with some great general knowledge thrown in there too. Loved it thanks.

prasetio30 from malang-indonesia on March 11, 2012:

This was complete information about "Basic Spices". I must share this to my mom. I believe that she'll love to read this hub as well. Good job and rated up!


anglnwu (author) on March 10, 2012:

Ruchira, thanks for your comments. Spices are a way to man's heart's heart--haha--yes to that.

NJ Blake from United States on March 10, 2012:

Really good information! I cook a lot and love to experiment with spices, the only one that has really caught me by surprise (and I simply cannot stand it!) is white pepper. I had no idea it was so different and I bought and threw away sever bottles thinking they had gone bad only to find out that it's supposed to smell like that!

Movie Master from United Kingdom on March 10, 2012:

Hi anginwu, I think I have all these spices except ginger, that's one I am not keen on, I would be lost without pepper I use loads of it!

A fabulous hub and the photos are fantastic, the food looks so deliciou!

Best wishes Lesley

anglnwu (author) on March 09, 2012:

Thanks, Om, you're too generous with your comments. Appreciate the visit.

thumb, thanks. Glad you have all these spices except basil. Thanks for dropping by to comment.

JR Krishna from India on March 09, 2012:

Great tips!

All these spices except basil are there in our kitchen as well.

The spices give beautiful aroma to the food prapred.

Thanks for SHARING

anglnwu (author) on March 09, 2012:

Victoria, thanks for your encouraging comments.

Stephhicks, good to see you here. Thanks for reading and commenting. Glad you liked it.

Om Paramapoonya on March 08, 2012:

Great hub! I have all these ten spices and use them all the time. It was so enjoyable to read about the fun facts and cooking tips you offer in this hub. And by the way, the photos at the end really made my mouth water!

anglnwu (author) on March 08, 2012:

alocsin, thanks for your comments. Garlic and onion are must-haves, in my opinion.

Ruchira from United States on March 08, 2012:

wow Angi..so much love in this hub. I see your delicious dishes...yumm :)

I agree spices add flavor to the food and it is a way to your man's heart ;-)

voted up as useful .

anglnwu (author) on March 08, 2012:

Arlene, thanks for the visit. You can always look for them when they're on sale. I know good ones are expensive but well worth it. Appreciate your comments and have a nice day ahead.

anglnwu (author) on March 08, 2012:

Dexter, you made me laugh. You must be quite a cook then! Fresh ginger is quite useful---you can even steep fresh ginger in hot water, add honey for a refreshingly after work drink. Thanks for nice comments and always happy to see you.

Stephanie Marshall from Bend, Oregon on March 08, 2012:

What an excellent resource! I never really thought of onion, garlic and ginger as "fresh spices," but it makes perfect sense. The chart you created is very helpful for anyone who enjoys cooking or experimenting with flavors in the kitchen. Rated up!!

Victoria Lynn from Arkansas, USA on March 08, 2012:

Great info, great photos! I love experimenting with different spices. Voted up, useful, interesting!

Aurelio Locsin from Orange County, CA on March 07, 2012:

We have all these spices in our kitchen. My favorites are onion and garlic. Voting this Up and Useful.

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