Herbs vs Spices: Difference and Comparison

Food devoid of the right flavour is just a mélange of ingredients served in a pot; it fills your stomach but fails to satiate your heart.

Key Takeaways

  1. Herbs come from the leaves of plants, while spices are derived from other plant parts such as seeds, bark, roots, or fruits.
  2. Herbs have a milder flavor profile, whereas spices are more spicy and aromatic.
  3. Herbs are commonly used fresh, while spices are dried and ground for use in cooking.

Herbs vs Spices

The difference between Herbs and Spices is that while the former is dried or fresh leaves of a certain plant used to add flavour to a dish, the latter consists of the parts of a plant apart from its leaves, such as its bark or seeds, to prepare a food item. Both of these don’t only make the cooked dish more piquant but also give the dish an inviting aroma.

Herbs vs Spices

Herbs, as the name indicates, comprise the leaves of a plant that are either in their fresh form or dried. Adding it to a food item adds a mild flavour to the item, and it pairs very well with an otherwise bland dish.

On the other hand, the term Spice also speaks for itself. Should add only a small amount of spices to the food to avoid making it extra hot or prevent them from falling in your mouth with every bite, as that can feel quite irksome.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonHerbsSpices
Parts of the PlantGenerally, the leaves, whether in a fresh or dried stateIt comprises the bark and/or seeds
Climatic RequirementsThis requires it to be a temperate region to grow itThis requires that the region where it is grown is tropical
NatureIt can either be in its fresh form or dried formIt is always dried
FlavorThis only adds a mild flavor to an otherwise plain dishThis adds a very strong taste to the item in which it is used
Degree of ProcessingSince it is also supplied in its fresh form, the degree of processing is limited.This requires a lot of processing as it is always sold in a dried form.

What are Herbs?

As the name indicates, it comprises the leaves of a plant that are either in their fresh form or dried. It is pertinent to know that it only comprises the leaves of a plant and not its other parts.

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To Indians, it is no surprise that this part of the plant was always used to make medicines that possess immense medicinal value. All ayurvedic substances have a generous quotient of herbs in them.

They can either be in their fresh form or their dried form. For instance, we are quite familiar with a Margherita pizza topped with basil leaves, which happens to be a herb.

 A temperate climate is best suited for growing it, and, therefore, it is found in abundance in Europe. Since it is also supplied in its fresh form, the degree of processing is limited.

Herbs

What are Spices?

It comprises the bark and/or seeds. One should add only a small amount of spices to the food to avoid making it extra hot or prevent them from falling in your mouth with every bite, as that can feel quite irksome.

Some other usages are when the spices are fried in a bit of oil so that it releases their flavour and it makes way for the other food items to be added.

However, it is always smart to use only a regulated quantity of spices, as a lot of them can make your food spicy. It has a strong taste and aroma and can make any plain dish extremely yummy.

One major advantage of spices is that since its already dry, they can be stored for a long time. Once you purchase it, you can be assured that they are going to last for a good long time.

spices

Main Differences Between Herbs and Spices

  1. Herbs are either made available in their fresh form or processed slightly. In contrast, spices are always the dried version of a plant’s part.
  2. By virtue of being made available in their fresh form, herbs are barely or significantly less processed. On the other hand, spices, by virtue of their being dry, are heavily processed. 
Difference Between Herbs and Spices
References
  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0956713510000459
  2. https://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/17/8/2757
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Last Updated : 21 August, 2023

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17 thoughts on “Herbs vs Spices: Difference and Comparison”

  1. I found out that a tempered climate is required to grow herbs and a tropical region for spices, I’ve never thought about this before

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