I have always used the terms herbs and spices interchangeably, not realizing there is actually a difference in between the two.

Herbs come from the leaves of non-woody plants (think of basil). They are primarily used for savory dishes and are typically used in larger amounts than spices would be.

Spices, on the other hand, are obtained from roots, flowers, fruits, seeds or bark. Spices are usually more potent and are used in smaller portions than herbs.

Interestingly, an herb and a spice can come from the same plant. Cilantro comes from the leaves of the plant, but coriander actually comes from the seeds of the same plant!

Storing and Organizing

Your freezer is a great place to store your seasonings, but not usually very practical. You do want to avoid steam and moisture if possible. Most people prefer close to the stove. If you store in a cabinet, consider next to the stove and not directly above it.

I have most of mine stored in a drawer, similar to this one:

I came across some other cool options while looking on Amazon. Check out these 2 below:

I don’t have ________, what can I use instead?

Have you ever wondered what you could substitute when you DON’T have something you need? I can cook a little, but I am not super confident about switching seasonings around. Check out the substitution charts below:

Herb Substitutions
Basil Oregano or thyme
Chervil Tarragon or parsley
Chives Green onions (scallions); onion; or leek
Cilantro Parsley
Italian Seasoning Blend of any of these: basil, oregano, rosemary, and ground red pepper
Marjoram Basil; thyme; or savory
Mint Basil; marjoram; or rosemary
Oregano Thyme or basil
Parsley Chervil or cilantro
Poultry Seasoning Sage plus a blend of any of these: thyme, marjoram, savory, black pepper, and rosemary
Red Pepper Flakes (dried chiles) Dash bottled hot pepper sauce or black pepper
Rosemary Thyme; tarragon; or savory
Sage Poultry seasoning; savory; marjoram; or rosemary
Savory Thyme; marjoram; or sage
Tarragon Chervil; dash fennel seed; or dash aniseed
Thyme Basil; marjoram; oregano; or savory

And then you have your spices…

Spice Substitutions
Allspice Cinnamon; cassia; dash of nutmeg or mace; or dash of cloves
Aniseed Fennel seed or a few drops anise extract
Cardamom Ginger
Chili Powder Dash bottled hot pepper sauce plus a combination of oregano and cumin
Cinnamon Nutmeg or allspice (use only 1/4 of the amount)
Cloves Allspice; cinnamon; or nutmeg
Cumin Chili powder
Ginger Allspice; cinnamon; mace; or nutmeg
Mace Allspice; cinnamon; ginger; or nutmeg
Mustard (dry or ground) Wasabi powder (1/4 to 1/2 as much since it is hotter); horseradish powder; 1 teaspoon dry mustard powder = 1 Tablespoon prepared mustard
Nutmeg Cinnamon; ginger; or mace
Saffron Dash turmeric or annato powder (for color)
Turmeric Dash saffron (for color) plus ground mustard powder (one to one ratio); annato powder

Sources: About.com and Iowa State University Extension office