Basil, rosemary, cilantro, anise, cardamom, garlic, ginger and so many many more herbs. Or is it "erbs?" Decisions, decisions—how should I pronounce it so I don't look like an idiot in front of the green grocer or the posh Italian restaurant waiter? There are many ways to say "herb," but I wanted to find out once and for all how to pronounce "herb" so I can stop questioning myself. 

What are herbs? 

farmer's market, Fresh, natural, Green, Herbs
Caroline Ingalls

According to the University of Illinois, herbs are "an herbaceous plant that lacks a woody stem and dies to the ground each winter." Herbs can also be described as any plant that's been used for medicinal, culinary, or fragrance purposes. Based on these definitions, garlic, ginger, basil, catnip, cilantro, chives, fennel, lemon grass, and lavender are all herbs.

Herbs can be classified as annual, perennial, or biennial. Perennial refers to herbs that die off from the top and can be revived from their roots or seeds each year, and biennial refers to herbs that come back from overwintering crowns, roots, or bulbs.

#SpoonTip: Interested in learning more about herbs? Here are seven herbs you can easily grow in your dorm room

Types of Herbs

oil, vegetable, olive oil, basil, herb
Jocelyn Hsu

Herbs can be used for multiple purposes like cooking, decoration, bath cleansers, medicine, or making your dorm room smell better (I really need this). But being the aspiring culinary masterminds that we are, there are two categories of herbs that work for us are: robust and fine. 

Robust herbs are full bodied, rich in flavor, and are often used alone or mixed with a few other herbs. Robust herbs maintain their flavor when cooked and can be used in dishes that are roasted, braised, or grilled. Herbs such as rosemary, thyme, sage, and garlic are classified as robust.

Fine herbs mix well with other herbs and are often added toward the end of the cooking process. Fine herbs are used in salads or eaten raw. Dill, basil, and parsley are considered mild and fine herbs.

How to Pronounce "Herb"

Farmers market, Herbs, cilantro, parsley
Caroline Ingalls

Finalllllly getting to the point: how do we pronounce "herb?" The Cambridge dictionary gives two alternatives to pronouncing the word. The British pronunciation is "Herbs" with an "H" while American pronunciation is "erbs" without the "H." Quite simple, eh? Just like this simple vinaigrette recipe to go with your herb salad. "Herb" or "erb," it's really your choice. Hallelujah for democracy.