'spices' on Serious Eats

Down South: What Does Sassafras Taste Like?

If you live in the eastern United States, especially the southeastern United States, there's a good chance that there is a sassafras tree somewhere near you. Next time you're in the woods, or in your backyard, look out for that distinctive leaf. The dried root makes the best tea, which tastes an awful lot like root beer. More

Zanzibar: See How Spices Are Grown

A few decades ago, Zanzibar, the tiny island just off the coast of Tanzania in east Africa, supplied almost 80% of the world's clove spice. While that number is down to 7% these days, due to government involvement and stiff competition from Indonesia, the island still produces many of the world's most widely consumed spices. Rooted in almost 100 years of history, the island and its food reflect this love affair with spice. More

Taste Test: A Guide to Black Pepper

There's no shortage of places to get your black pepper from; as one of the world's most popular spices, it's grown all across the world's spice regions, from India to Indonesia to Ecuador and Brazil. We don't talk much about terroir when it comes to spices, but it's worth thinking about. After all, peppercorns are fruits just like grapes, and soil, growing conditions, and variety of peppercorn are all going to have an impact on flavor profile. How strong are these flavor differences, and how do they pan out with food? We tasted peppercorns from seven major growing regions to find out. More

Ask a Spice Shop Owner: Patty Erd, The Spice House

What goes into running a small business that sells to the top chefs in Chicago and home cooks around the country? Meet Patty Erd, the current owner of the Spice House in Milwaukee, to find out. "Ground spices have a shelf life, generally speaking one year. Beyond that, they won't make you sick, but they'll have lost their essential oils. Whole spices are a different story." More

5 Great Spices for Grilled Beef

Sure, we've talked about grilled lamb already, and we've dabbled with chicken. But let's be honest: if you're grilling this summer, you're grilling beef. Sure, great beef—be it a fat porterhouse, a svelte skirt steak, or a classed up filet mignon—doesn't really need anything more than salt (and fine, maybe some pepper and butter), but a few choice spices don't hurt. More

5 Great Spices for Grilled Chicken

There are some choices additions for grilled chicken to boost its flavor all the more—especially spices. Stick to spices that complement the roasted, meaty flavors of grilling. Check out the slideshow for our favorite grilled chicken spices, and how to use them for your next grill session. More

Spice Hunting: Caraway

I've been wanting to write about caraway all winter long, but somehow winter never happened and I never got around to that bowl of sauerkraut stew. Fortunately, loving caraway isn't weather-dependent, and this spice has plenty of uses beyond flavoring your sauerkraut or adding texture to your rye bread. Caraway is a great spice for adding Old World flavor to modern dishes. More

Achiote Oil

This fragrant red-orange oil can be used to color and flavor all sorts of Latin American and Caribbean rice dishes, stews, and braises. The oil forms a mild base to build layers of flavor with browned meat, onion, garlic, fresh chile, citrus, cumin, and tomato. More

Spice Hunting: Berbere, Ethiopian Chili Powder

Like niter kibbeh, berbere is used in a bunch of Ethiopian dishes, either as a primary spice or an added layer of flavor. You can think of it like Ethiopian chili powder: a chile-based blend at once earthy, sweet, and hauntingly aromatic, with notes of fragrant cardamom, fenugreek, and clove. It'd be a mistake to say that berbere is a one-stop Ethiopian cooking lesson, but it's a damn good start. One whiff and your sense memories will definitely say, "Ethiopian restaurant." More

Beef Tibs

The sauce in this dish gets its kick from berbere, an Ethiopian chili powder fragrant with cardamom, fenugreek, and clove. Use it once and you'll see why a good chunk of Ethiopian cuisine is built on it. More

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