Herbs & Spices

Hibiscus or Jamaica Flowers

Originally from Africa or India, hibiscus flowers arrived in Mexico in colonial times and have become deeply integrated into Mexican cuisine. Often used to prepare agua de jamaica, or freshly flavored water, fruit popsicles or Jell-O, the dried flowers infuse the liquid with a deep, vivid red color. They are not just any Hibiscus flower…

Achiote or Annatto Seeds

Achiote or Annatto seeds is a spice that grows heavily in the Yucatán area and is unique and native to this area. The seeds come from the Annatto tree, which grows beautiful pink flowers that produce a prickly pod which has dozens and dozens of these seeds inside. The seeds have a beautiful brown, brick,…

Banana Leaves

Incredibly long leaves from the banana tree, the banana leaves have a beautiful deep green color and a strong fragrant smell. They are often used in Mexican cooking to wrap and cook many kinds of foods including tamales, meats, fish and poultry. They are both malleable and strong. Cooking in them not only concentrates the…

Piloncillo

Piloncillo is the rawest form of sugar cane. The same thing as cane juice but in a solid form. It typically comes in a block, with the shape of a cone, square or round. It can be substituted for brown sugar. However, the flavor of piloncillo is more rustic. Reminds me of foods eaten in…

Cinnamon

The cinnamon mostly used in Mexican cuisine is called Ceylon, or Canela in Spanish, and it is also known as true cinnamon. It is quite different from Cassia, which is mostly found in US stores. However, as time moves on, one can find true cinnamon in an increasing number of stores here.

Epazote

The epazote herb is one deeply Mexican ingredient that has no substitute that I know off. It has a very unique, clear and deep flavor that adds a lot of character to a dish. Hard to describe, it has that I don’t know what, that somehow makes a distinct difference.