We may have 140 years of expertise sourcing dried herbs and spices, but the history of these versatile ingredients dates back a lot further than that. The use of dried herbs and spices in cuisine seems to have developed, in part, as a response to the threat of food-borne pathogens. They have a number of health benefits and have now been incorporated into the daily lives of many people.
Studies show that recipes are the most highly spiced in tropical climates, where pathogens are the most abundant – and it seems that the spices with the most potent antimicrobial activity tend to be used most often. In all cultures, vegetables are spiced less than meat, presumably because they are more resistant to spoilage.
The earliest records of civilisation farming and cooking with dried herbs and spices are from ancient artefacts of the Assyrians and Egyptians dating back over 5000 years, but it was the Romans who introduced dried herbs and spices throughout Europe. Trade between Europe and eastern Asia then nearly disappeared for 400 years after the fall of Rome in 476, but was later revived in part due to the publishing of Marco Polo’s memoirs in the late 13th century.
Beginning around the 14th century, ocean exploration advanced and sea routes from Europe to eastern Asia were discovered. In 1492, Christopher Columbus discovered the New World while searching for a shorter water route to find black pepper and cinnamon.
From 1519 to 1522, Spain discovered a water route to the Spice Islands (the Moluccas, near Indonesia) where cloves, nutmeg, mace, and pepper were produced. Those who controlled the spice trade got rich, as prices were very high and in strong demand. By the early 1800s, spice plantations were established in other locations around the world ending the spice trade cartel forever.
Today we are used to having easy access to a multitude of dried herbs and dried spices to re-create foreign cuisines from all around the world in our own kitchens.
This depends on the time of day you order and where in the UK you’re located, but delivery times are generally in the region of two to three days.
Our dried herbs and spices have a range of potential uses. Not only can they be used in cooking, baking and distilling, some can be used to make herbal tea and others to create fragrances or for decoration. Within each product page, you’ll find a list of suggested uses.
Yes, you’re able to return any of our products within 30 days, provided they’re in their original packaging. View our returns policy for more information.