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EntertainmentHerbs & Spices of the Israeli Kitchen

Herbs & Spices of the Israeli Kitchen

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Last Updated on August 19, 2021

Herbs, spices & flavorings commonly used in the Israeli & Middle Eastern kitchen – a picture dictionary.

Hebrew: המטבח הישראלי הים תיכוני – תבלינים


Tonight you might grind a bit of pepper onto your salad or use it to perk up a steak, but did you know pepper was once so valuable that it could be used to pay the rent.  Pepper, along with other spices such as cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg, were used for flavoring food.  They were also used for making perfume, embalming the dead, preserving meat and sprucing up salve recipes in traditional medicine.

Israel’s flavors are drawn from the Mediterranean, Middle-Eastern and European kitchens.   These are some of the herbs and spices that are most popular in the Israel and you will find them in abundance in the markets and on supermarket shelves.

The English word is followed by the Hebrew transliteration and then the actual Hebrew word.






Aniseed – Anis – אניס


Baharat – Baharat – בהרט


Basil- Bazilikum – בזיליקום

bay leaves dafna   caraway kimel   carob haruv

Bay leaves- Aley Dafna – עלי דפנה


Caraway – Kimel – קימל


Carob – Haruv – חרוב






 Cardamon – Hel – הל


Cayenne Pepper – Pilpel Harif – פלפל חריף


 Celery- Selery/Karpas – סלרי / כרפס






Chilli – Pilpel Adom/Chili – פלפל אדום



 Chives – Irit – שום העירית



Cinamon – Kinamon – קינמון


cloves   cilantro kusbara   cumin

Cloves – Tzipporen – ציפורן


Coriander / Cilantro – Kusbara – כוסברה


Cumin – Kamun – כמון

 dill    fennel shumar   garlic shum 

Dill – Shamir – שמיר


Fennel – Shumar – שומר


Garlic – Shum – שום

 ginger    hawaij    

Ginger – Zingavil – זנגביל


Hawaij – Hawaij – חוויאג׳


Horseradish- Hazeret – חזרת

 lemon verbena    lime   Mace

Lemon verbena – Limonit – לימונית


Lime – Lime – ליים


Mace – Klipat HaMuskatit – קליפת המוסקטית


mint nana    mustard hardal    nigella katzach

Mint – Menta/Nana – נענע


Mustard – Hardal – חרדל


Nigella seeds – Katzach – קצח


nutmeg       paprika

Nutmeg – Egoz Muskat – אגוז מוסקט


Oregano – Oregano – אורגנו


Paprika – Paprika – פפריקה

 pepper   parsley     

Pepper – Pilpel – פלפל


Parsley – Petroziliya – פטרוזיליה


Pimento (Allspice)- Pilpel Angli – פלפל אנגלי

 rosemary    saffron    sage

Rosemary- Rozmarin – רוזמרין


Saffron – Zafran – זעפרן


Sage – Marva – מרווה

salt melach   sorrel     sumac

Salt – Melach – מלח


Sorrel – Hamtzitz – חמציץ



Sumac – Sumak – סומאק


 thyme   turmeric    vanilla

Thyme – Temin – טימין


Turmeric – Kurkum – כורכום


Vanilla – Vanil – וניל


Zaatar – Zatar – זעתר


Fresh herbs are plentiful in the markets.  Parsley, coriander, mint and others are sold in large bunches often for only one shekel on Friday afternoons.  There is nothing to beat the flavor of fresh herbs, but for the most part, we land up throwing most of the bunch out after a few days.  We’ve found a way to store them.  Take your herbs, rinse them off under the tap, you can cut of the stalks if you want, chop them finely (or in the food processor), add a drizzle of olive oil, fill an ice-tray with the chopped herbs (ice-trays that have lids) cover the ice-tray and freeze.  When needed take a cube or two and add them to your food during cooking.  Obviously this technique is not appropriate for decorating a plate of food or where fresh herbs are called for but they are fine in soups and stews.  

Join us on a a virtual tour through Jerusalem’s Mahane Yehuda market

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