Friday, June 25, 2010

Choosing The Best Herbs - Florida Herb House

Howdy Herb Lovers And Bloggers Alike!

The botanical definition of herbs is that a herb is any annual or perennial plant with a non-woody stem. However, culturally, the term herbs has come to cover plants which have a specific benefit to us humans. This covers plants which can be used purely as food, but can also include plants which have medicinal benefits, or can be used for cosmetic purposes, or plants which have particular aromatic properties. Whether used for their pleasant aromas, to create a natural garden of medicinally beneficial plants, or for their amazing health benefits you have to be vigilant and use wisdom when choosing your healing and holistic herb. Follow our simple guide below!

Before you buy "Cheap Herbs And Spices" because you can save a buck or two ask yourself and the store you buy from these 5 important questions.

 1) Are the herbs and spices stored away from light?
Florida Herb House stores all their precious herbs and spices in dark rooms. This ensures the most powerful products arriving at your door with the highest quality flavor and nutritional value! Many larger herb companies simply do not have the means to keep their herbs and spices in dark rooms because their warehouses are simply too large. Our small storage space is under 2500 sq. ft. and is easily manageable with respect to perfect temperature, humidity, and light conditions. Most herbs are sensitive to light and their nutrients are broken down when left exposed to sunlight and artificial light!

2) Are the herbs and spices stored in cool low humidity conditions?
Florida Herb House stores all their precious herbs and spices in optimal conditions which include temperatures that do not exceed 75 degrees Fahrenheit or go below 65 degrees Fahrenheit as well as dehumidifiers for the highest level of quality herbs and spices delivered to your door. Trust Florida Herb House for the best herbs and spices your dollar can buy!

3) Are the herbs and spices truly organic certified?
All of the herbs and spices purchased from Florida Herb House marked "Organic" are organic certified through "QAI" Quality Assurance International and "OTC" Oregon Tilth Corp. We always have a copy of the organic credentials on file for anyone wishing to view it. Any herbs and spices that we sell which are not organic will be clearly marked as "Wildharvested", "Cultivated Without Chemicals" or "All Natural".

4) How are the herbs and spices I am buying packed and shipped?
All of Florida Herb House's herbs and spices are packed fresh to order in our exclusive flavor savor foil packets. These packets are completely recyclable and use about 1/10th the plastic of a typical two ounces spice jar. Most of our packets are resealable also for convenience. Only our small two ounce packets are not resealable as they are designed to be poured into your existing spice jars which helps "Save The Earth"!

5) Is there a certificate of analysis for the herbs and spices I am purchasing?
All Florida Herb House's herbs and spices have a valid "COA" (certificate of analysis) available to anyone wishing to have one. These COA's list the complete analysis of each herb/spice including tests for appearance, aroma, moisture, lead, ash, mold, bacteria and more. Should any of our herbs ever fail any of these tests then they are not on our shelves!

Stephen Sharp

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Chipotle Chili Peppers

You have probably heard the name "Chipotle" thrown about on your favorite food show or on the Food Network channel. Yes the Mexican chipotle chili pepper has gained much attention in the USA as a true spice.

Basically the chipotle pepper is a Mexican chili pepper which dated back to the Aztec era. These little peppers were loved by many then as they are today. Ancient history claims the Aztecs smoked the chipotle because the fleshy outer skin was prone to rot. Once smoked these little jalapenos provided a nice "punch" to any meal.

It is thought that chili peppers made their first appearance around 7,000 BC in Mexico. The first European to discover Chili Peppers was Christopher Columbus in America in 1493. It is said that he was actually looking for an alternative to black pepper. What he found was a small hot pod in which he called the "pimiento" after the Spanish word for black pepper. Within a century, chili peppers' popularity had spread worldwide.


[Chee-POT-tleh] peppers are smoked jalapeno chili peppers and are also known as chili ahumado. Today Chipotles are used widely throughout Mexico as well as in the United States. Quite popular in the South Western U.S. and California; Chipotles have found their way into the cuisine of many celebrity chefs from Hawaii to Manhattan. Most of the natural 'heat' of the jalapeno is retained in the drying process. Typically it is about 5,000 to 10,000 Scoville Units. This is considered a "medium" heat in comparison to other chilies.

Did you know these delightful little chili's are referred to as berries by many botanists? Yes botanists call them berries while others refer to them as fruits. The produce industry knows them as vegetables, but when they are dried,chefs call them a spice.

The botanical classification is "Capsicum Frutenscens". The word "capsicum" means that the pepper in question has a quantity of capsaicin in it. Capsaicin is the common name for the chemical component in chili’s that produce the "WOW" in peppers. The "hotness" of the pepper is measured on a scale called HU (Heat Units) or "Scoville Units" The more milder pepper, like the Bell Peppers range from 100 - 1,000 scovilles units. While the hottest peppers, like the Jalapeno and habanero, range from 5,000 - 300,000 scoville units.

Capsaicin is most commonly thought to be found in the seeds of peppers. It is most plentiful in the white ribs and seed coatings. If you want to make a Jalapeno less hot, simply scrape the seeds and stuff out. The same can be done with all peppers. This doesn’t necessarily mean that your Habanero is now mild though.

If you are as unlucky enough to burn your mouth on a hot chili then immediate consumption of dairy products like milk, sour cream or ice cream will help. The more fat in the product the better. Also, starchy foods tend to absorb the heat! A popular Mexican cure is to consume beer to cool the burn! Remember this tip: The smaller and thinner the pepper, the hotter it will be!

Want to try some of the hottest peppers on the planet? Try our Bird's Eye Chili's or Bird's Eye Powder at Florida Herb House or online at and in your next spicy recipe!

ITS AN A+!!!

3 to 4 tablespoons Florida Herb House organic chipotle powder
2 teaspoons ground Florida Herb House organic cumin
2 teaspoons Florida Herb House organic black pepper
2 teaspoons kosher =OR= 2 teaspoons sea salt
1/2 teaspoon Florida Herb House organic ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon Florida Herb House organic fenugreek
1/2 teaspoon Florida Herb House organic nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon Florida Herb House organic cloves
1/2 teaspoon Florida Herb House organic cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon Florida Herb House organic allspice
1/2 teaspoon Florida Herb House organic coriander
1 1/4 cups Florida Herb House organic cayenne pepper
3 tablespoons Florida Herb House organic paprika
6 cloves Florida Herb House organic garlic minced
2 cups water
3 tablespoons peanut oil

When you prepare this intoxicating, brick-red chili sauce, be sure to use your overhead stove fan or open all the windows. You might also want to tie a scarf around your nose and mouth while heating the spices in the sauté pan.
Place the red pepper flakes, cumin, black pepper, salt, cardamom, fenugreek, nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, allspice, and coriander in a medium, heavy-bottomed nonstick sauté pan. Cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly, until their aroma fills the air and the color has darkened slightly, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a blender and set aside.

In the same pan, heat the cayenne pepper and paprika over moderately low heat for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Add to the spice mixture in the blender along with the garlic, water, and peanut oil. Puree until smooth, stopping occasionally to scrape the sides of the container.

Return the pureed mixture to the sauté pan and cook over moderately low heat for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent the sauce from burning. Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature. Store in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 5 months.


Stephen Sharp
Florida Herb House