National Herbs and Spices Day Date in the current year: June 10, 2024

National Herbs and Spices Day National Herbs and Spices Day is a food holiday for everyone who is not afraid to add a little flavor to their food. Observed every year on June 10, it celebrates the diversity of herbs and spices that are an essential part of practically any cuisine.

Spices and herbs are parts of plants that are used for coloring and flavoring food. The principal difference between spices and culinary herbs is that the term “herbs” refers to the leafy green or flowering parts of a plant, whereas spices are made from seeds, fruits, bark, root, flower buds, and other parts of a plant that are not leaves, flowers or stems.

Some plants are used as both herbs and spices, for example, coriander leaves and seeds or dill weeds and seeds. Unlike leafy vegetables, herbs are used in small amounts to provide flavor rather than substance. Both herbs and spices can be fresh and dried.

People have used herbs and spices for millennia. The earliest written records of the use of spices date back to ancient Egyptian, Indian, and Chinese cultures. The spice trade played a significant role in ancient economy and continued to be important throughout the Middle Ages and early modern period. Spices were among the most valuable products in Europe, and the spice trade played a role in the European exploration and colonization.

The list of herbs and spices used in cooking is very extensive. Some of them are known all over the world, while others are restricted to specific cuisines. The most popular culinary herbs and spices include black pepper, garlic, thyme, cinnamon, rosemary, oregano, chili pepper, cumin, nutmeg, paprika, ginger, bay leaves, turmeric, allspice, anise, caraway, cardamom, cloves, coriander, vanilla, and many more.

In many cuisines, there are traditional spice blends — certain combinations of herbs and spices that feature in multiple recipes and are sold pre-made. Some of the most popular spice mixes include various Indian masalas, pumpkin pie spice, adobo, herbes de Provence, khmeli suneli, mixed spice, mulling spices, za’atar, curry powder, five-spice powder, harissa, and different kinds of seasoned salt.

The world’s top ten producers of spices and herbs are India, Bangladesh, Turkey, China, Pakistan, Iran, Nepal, Colombia, Ethiopia, and Sri Lanka. Although many spices are much less expensive than they used to be back in the day, the spice trade is still very lucrative, and some spices still are very expensive. For example, a kilogram of saffron costs $5,000 or higher, making it the most expensive spice in the world.

National Herbs and Spices Day is celebrated on June 10. There are many ways to celebrate this unofficial yet every popular food-related holiday. You can expand your collection of herbs and spices, experiment with new flavors and flavor combinations, plant an herb harden to always have fresh herbs available (basil, cilantro, dill, fennel, sage and thyme are relatively easy to grow), and share your favorite recipes with herbs and spices on social media with the hashtags #NationalHerbsAndSpicesDay and #HerbsAndSpicesDay

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National Herbs and Spices Day, observances in the United States, food days, food holidays, culinary herbs and spices