Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Question:  How can I tell if my herbs and spices are fresh?
Answer: There are three ways: appearance, smell, and taste. Visually, you can check your herbs and spices to make sure their colour has not faded. Loss of colour is an indication of flavour loss.
A fragrant, intense aroma is characteristic of fresh spices and herbs. Crush the spices and herbs in your hand. If you do not smell the aroma, or if you taste them and the flavour is not apparent, it's time to replace your spices and herbs.

Question: Do your products contain gluten?
Answer: All of our herb and spice blends are gluten-free and 100% pure. They contain only herbs and spices.

Question:  Do herbs and spices spoil?
Answer:  Herbs and spices do not spoil, but they do lose their strength. Old seasonings will not flavour your dishes the way they are intended to.

Question:  What is the shelf life of herbs and spices?
Answer : The shelf life of properly stored spices and herbs is approximately 3-4 years for whole spices and seeds,   2-3 years for ground spices,   1-3 years for leafy herbs, and 1-2 years for seasoning blends.

Question: What is the difference between a spice and an herb?
Answer: Spices and herbs are aromatic natural products, used to flavour food. Spices are the dried seeds, buds, fruit or flower parts, bark, or roots of plants, usually of tropical origin. Herbs are the leaves and sometimes the flowers of plants, usually grown in climates similar to the Mediterranean
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Question: How much dry herb do I substitute for fresh?
Answer: Depending on the herb, it is either a 3/1 or 2/1 fresh to dried ratio. If your recipe calls for 3 teaspoons (or 1 tablespoon) of fresh basil, dill, tarragon or thyme, substitute 1 teaspoon of the dried herb. If your recipe calls for 2 teaspoons of fresh marjoram, mint, oregano, rosemary or sage, substitute 1 teaspoon of the dried herb.

Question: How can I preserve the flavour and quality of my spices and herbs?
Answer: Here are a few tips: Replace the lid on bottles right after use. Measure seasonings in a bowl, then add seasonings to a hot or steaming pot. Always use a clean, dry spoon when measuring. Do not sprinkle spices and herbs directly from the bottle over a steaming pot. Steam introduced into a bottle will hasten the loss of flavour and aroma. Steam will also cause caking.


Question: How should ground and whole spices be used in recipes?
Answer: Ground spices release their flavour more quickly than whole spices. Ground spices such as ground thyme or ground cumin can be used in recipes with short cooking times or can be added near the end of cooking for longer cooking recipes. Whole spices need a longer time to release their flavour. They work well in longer cooking recipes like soups and stews.

Question: Is there a general rule for doubling recipes or making half of a recipe?
Answer: Although automatic scaling (cutting in half, doubling, or tripling) is appropriate for some recipes; it may not give the best results in all cases. Changing recipe amounts can give a different taste, texture, or appearance than the original recipe. For example, when doubling a recipe, you should start with about 1 1/2 of the seasonings to avoid having too much flavour, and then adjust seasoning to taste if desired. Results of baked goods recipes, such as cakes or pies, are less predictable when amounts are changed. The pan size, baking temperature, and baking time may all need to be adjusted to give best results.

Question: What is allspice?
Answer: Allspice is the dried, unripened fruit of a small evergreen tree, the Pimenta Dioica. The fruit is a pea-sized berry which is sundried to a reddish-brown colour. Allspice is one of the most versatile — yet underutilized — spices in the world. Its flavour combines notes of cinnamon, clove and nutmeg. In fact, because it encompasses these three distinct tastes, many people believe that it is a blend instead of a single spice. Allspice is a key ingredient in such diverse recipes as desserts, pickled herring and of course, Caribbean Jerk seasoning.

Question: What type of milk can be used with dry seasoning mixes that call for milk?
Answer: Any type of milk may be used (whole, reduced, or fat-free). Milk that is higher in fat will result in a creamier and more flavourful sauce.

Question: Can I toast spices for more flavour?
Answer: Spices such as fennel seed, cumin seed, sesame seed and white peppercorns may be toasted to intensify their flavours. Simply add the spice to a dry, non-stick, heated skillet and heat until aromatic.

Question: Can I use a  marinade for longer than 30 minutes?
Answer: Yes! Just be aware that the longer you marinate, the stronger the flavour will become. Beef can be marinated overnight and chicken for several hours. Fish should only be marinated for 20-30 minutes.

Question: What type of oil should be used with dry seasoning mixes that call for oil?
Answer: A mild flavoured oil such as vegetable, canola or sunflower oil is recommended. Olive oil will also give good results, but may impart its characteristic flavour. A more highly flavoured oil like peanut or sesame oil might overpower the flavour of the seasoning mix.

Question: Can Slow Cookers recipe for Italian Herb Chicken be prepared with boneless, skinless chicken breasts?
Answer: You can use boneless, skinless breasts and cook for a shorter time - 4 hours on low or 2 hours on high.

Question: Can I marinate and cook meat that is frozen?
Answer: Meat should be fresh or completely thawed before cooking. Marinades cannot properly flavour meat when frozen, and the meat will not cook evenly. It will be overcooked outside and undercooked inside.

Question: Can I bake meat that is still in the marinade?
Answer: It is best to remove meat from the marinade and then grill, broil or bake.

Question: Can I reuse the marinade on another meat?
Answer: Never reuse a marinade on another meat! Marinades should only be used once on raw meat products, including poultry and fish. You may heat a marinade to boiling and boil for five to ten minutes if you want to use it to baste the same meat on a barbeque.

ABOUT US

CONTACT US

Phone: 09 480 2977
Mobile: 021 827 383
Email: orders@herbsonline.co.nz
Address: ​ South Sea Enterprises
                 2010 Ltd.
                 P.O.Box 34 822
                 Birkenhead 0746