Cilantro - is an easy to grow herb that is becoming a favorite of many Americans. It is a member of the parsley family and grows similarly, even in appearance. If left to flower and go to seed, the seeds are known as coriander, which is also used in Latino cooking. The flavor of cilantro is a little spicy with a complex flavor with hints of pepper, sage and lemon.
Culantro - although related to cilantro, has a stronger flavor. It is an easy-to-grow herb that has many culinary uses in Caribbean, Latin American, and Asian cuisine. Although used in small amounts, its very strong flavor is used as a seasoning in a wide range of foods, including meats, vegetables, and chutneys. Plants grown under shade produce larger and greener leaves. It has long, serrated leaves and sports a blue flower when permitted to bolt. It actually looks a bit like a long-leafed lettuce and grows in a similar manner, from a centralized rosette. At the peak of its growth, a culantro plant can be one-foot tall and the leaves as much as two-inches wide.
Epazote - The coarse, robust plant may grow as tall as 5 feet with a much branched, downy stem that is woody at the base. Tiny greenish flowers in dense spikes in the leaf axils bloom in late summer and fall. Commonly used as a spice in traditional Mexican dishes especially when preparing black beans as the herb has carminative properties and can help prevent flatulence. Raw, it has a resinous pungency, similar to anise, fennel or even tarragon, but stronger, some consider it a bit like the smell of a squashed stink bug.
Cumin – native to the eastern Mediterranean through to East India. An annual flowering plant from the parsley family, whose seeds are used in the cuisines of Mexico, Asia, the Mediterranean and the Middle East. Has a nutty peppery flavor that packs a punch
Chile peppers – Seeds are typically used or powder of all levels of heat
Annato seeds – seeds from achiote tree, used in rice and stews, imparts orange/yellow color
Adobo Seasoning - all-purpose seasoning containing oregano, cumin, onion powder, chili/cayenne and paprika
Lemon Basil – a typical annual basil plant with tones of lemon/citrus flavor; can be combined together with other herbs to make a paste - something commonly used in a wide variety of Asian cooking.
Chinese (garlic) chives - flat dark green leaves with white flowers. Its taste is stronger than chives in the U.S. Both leaves and flowers are edible. The fresh leaves are flat and will wilt when cooked quickly in a hot wok. There are 2 types available, green and yellow. They grow similar to chives but do not spread so profusely or quickly.
Lemongrass -lends a fresh, fine, fragrant lemony tang with hints of ginger and mint. Harvest lemongrass for its bulbous stem bases, rich with lemony flavor, or clip leaves for infusing tea and soup stock. Good with curries, fish, shrimp, soups, stews, marinades and stir-fries. Use a ¼ teaspoon to make a refreshing tea, hot or cold. KITCHEN TIP: Before adding to dishes, slice lemongrass into rings or strips and bruise segments to release the flavor. Freezes well. Lemongrass forms a tall, grassy clump 3 to 5 feet tall. Its appearance rivals that of many ornamental grasses and can easily fulfill a similar role in the landscape. Due to its tropical nature, lemongrass usually only survives winters in zones 8 and warmer. This citrus-flavored grass overwinters well in a dormant state in a cool, dark spot indoors, or you can grow it as an indoor herb through winter in colder zones.
Thai basil – widely used throughout Southeast Asia and plays a prominent role in Vietnamese cuisine. It is the cultivar most often used for Asian cooking in Western kitchens. Varieties include Vietnamese and Siam basil. A typical annual basil plant needing full sun and hot days.
Turmeric - underground stems (rhizomes) are dried and made into capsules, tablets, teas, or spice and a major ingredient in curry powder. Its primary active ingredients are yellow and used to color foods and cosmetics. Today it is used as a dietary supplement for inflammation; arthritis; stomach, skin, liver, and gallbladder problems; cancer; and other conditions.
Ginger -fragrant underground stem (called a rhizome) widely used as a zesty flavoring in foods. It has risen to be among the top twelve spices most consumed in the United States.