Herbs and Spices

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About this Blog

Melissa Spencer has long had a fascination with plants and doesn’t discriminate between wild, weed or cultivated. She owns Attar Herbs & Spices located in the beautiful Monadnock Region of NH and is celebrating 50 years of service. She actively writes, speaks, and shares ways to infuse herbs and spices into everyday life.

Herbs and Spices really are little bundles of aromatic seeds, barks, berries and leaves. They can enliven the family meal turning the ordinary into the extraordinary and into a fragrant delight of the senses. They can open up a world of exotic cuisines connecting us with faraway cultures and they provide us with amazing health benefits. Follow her blog for endless ways to spice up life for the taste of it, the joy of it, and the health of it.

August 5, 2016

If you love pickles, you will be as intrigued as to learn about the history of pickling and pickling spices. The word “pickle” comes from a Dutch word ‘pekel’ or northern German ‘pókel’ meaning “salt” or “brine,” two components that are essential in the pickling process. Pickling in America is largely synonymous with the act of submerging cucumbers (or other fruits or vegetables) into a salty brine or acidic solution along with various spices to create an environment where no unhealthy... more

August 2, 2016

Saffron is considered one of the top 16 most expensive substances in the world by weight and easily the most expensive cultivated spice in the world. It has a long history of being both highly coveted and highly adulterated. Given it’s labor intensive cultivation and harvest, it’s no surprise. What exactly is Saffron? Saffron threads come from the autumn flowering bulb, Crocus sativus. The flower of the crocus is a beautiful violet color that blooms in the autumn and offers a very short (2-3... more

July 1, 2016

Cilantro, Coriandrum sativum, also known as coriander or Chinese parsley, can incite a repulsed reaction in certain people. As a frequent eater and huge fan of cilantro, I found it odd when I would come across someone who felt utter disgust for cilantro, claiming it tastes awful, like soap. To be honest, I figured they might just be picky or maybe had eaten some bad salsa once and blamed it on the cilantro. It turns out that their reaction is not just an overreaction. It is real and grounded in... more

June 21, 2016

Notice how we keep all our seasonings in a “spice cupboard” and don’t call it an “herbs and spice” cupboard? Our language has evolved in such a way that we lump together these two biologically different plant parts. While they share many similarities such as their ability to offer flavor, vitality and diversity to our meals, there are many factors that differentiate them.   Herbs and Spices come from Different parts of the plant An herb is the green, leafy part of the plant. A spice can... more

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