Cayenne - Capsicum annuum var. annuum
This colorful, ground chili pepper will turn up the heat and color in your cooking. Use it in favorite ethnic recipes, or sprinkle it on at the table whenever a dish needs extra zip.
Coriander Seed - Coriandrum sativumWarm and citrusy at the same time, coriander seed is enjoyed in curries and chili, cookies and cakes. A sister to cilantro--both come from the same plant--coriander seed has a lovely, fragrant aroma once ripened, while cilantro is often described as foetid.
Dill Weed - Anethum graveolens
Aromatic dill weed is more delicately flavored than the seed from the same plant. It enhances rather than dominates and is delicious in salads, sauces, light gravies, and with fish and grains.
Garlic - Allium sativumEven the earliest cooks and healers considered garlic powerful and indispensable, but when it was introduced in the United States in the 1700s, garlic was slow to catch on. Today, however, the average American consumes over 2 1/2 pounds of garlic annually. It's compatible with virtually every savory food and is available in a number of convenient dried forms.
Nutmeg - Myristica fragrans
Nutmeg is the dried seed of the fruit of an evergreen. Warm and sweet, nutmeg adds depth to desserts and savory dishes alike. Sprinkle it on your eggnog, but try it on your potatoes, too!
Oregano - Origanum vulgare subsp. hirtum
This "pizza spice" is full of flavor and aroma-- a strong personality, but one that partners well with other seasonings, too. It's indispensable in Italian and other Mediterranean cooking as well as Mexican fare.
Parsley Leaf - Petroselinum crispum
With a bright green color and a mild, fresh flavor, Parsley is a must-have for the pantry. Use it to flavor soups, vegetables, sauces, dressings, eggs and any potato dishes.
Poppy Seed - Papaver somniferum
The nutty flavor and satisfying crunch of poppy seeds are traditionally enjoyed in salad dressings, cakes and spice blends. Sprinkle the tiny, slate-blue seeds on breads and crackers, pretzels and rolls. Try them in rice and noodle dishes, too.
Salt is the world's most popular seasoning, used both at the table and as a crucial ingredient in virtually every recipe, from sweets to savories. It enhances other flavors, seasons on its own, and provides a necessary nutrient.
Sesame Seeds - Sesamum indicumThe delicate, nutty taste of these tiny, oval, flat seeds is often enjoyed in Asian and Middle Eastern dishes. Try them folded into bread or cookie batter, sprinkled on steamed vegetables, and ground with sea salt as a table condiment. Roast them to enhance their flavor.
Thyme Leaf - Thymus vulgaris
A little lemony and decidedly distinctive, thyme is a crucial ingredient in Mediterranean cuisine. You'll find it in soups and sauces, vegetable and meat dishes, as well as classic spice blends like bouquet garni and herbes de Provence.