Most consumers know that culinary herbs and culinary spices aren’t the same. They’re just not certain how the two seasonings differ. Culinary herbs are often the green, leafy part of aromatic trees, bushes, or shrubs. These include parsley, chives, marjoram, thyme, basil, caraway, dill, oregano, rosemary, savory, sage, and celery leaves. Culinary spices come from the bark (cinnamon), root (ginger), buds (cloves, saffron), seeds (mustard, poppy, sesame), berry (pepper), or the fruit (allspice) of tropical plants and trees. As a general rule, spices should be added to a dish at the start of cooking so that their flavors can meld and blend with the dish. Add herbs near the end of cooking to make the most of their color and flavor.
The shelf life of herbs and spices varies quite a bit depending upon the particular type of spice or herb, so generalizations about all of them should be taken with a grain of salt.