Poppy Seed Whole
Botanical Name - Papaver somniferum
Other Names - mawseed
Origin - Canada
Culinary Usages - Use to flavor bagels, pastries, pretzels, cakes and candies, as well as coleslaw and salad dressings. In the Middle East, poppy seeds are added to chutneys, curries, kormas, roasted root vegetables, casseroles and au gratin dishes. They are also fried in butter just until fragrant and then mixed into hot pasta.
The poppy seed (Papaver somniferum) is a tiny, kidney shaped seed from the poppy flower. It has been cultivated for some 3,000 years throughout Asia, Asia Minor and parts of the Middle East for food seasonings and as a medicinal herb.
Although the poppy is sometimes grown for its opiate properties, culinary poppy seeds are allowed to mature, leaving them devoid of opiates at the time of harvest. When used for food seasonings, poppy seeds only add a slightly sweet, nutty flavor and aroma to any dish. The warm flavor grows more pronounced and a bit spicier when a dish featuring poppy seeds is exposed to heat.
Poppy seeds are rich in unsaturated fatty acids, making them a healthful choice for organic seasonings. They can be used whole or crushed, though they are difficult to grind unless first roasted.
Poppy seeds are used as food seasonings in a variety of ways throughout the world. In Western cuisine, they flavor baked goods, such as breads and cakes, while they are ground and used to thicken sauces and curries in Indian and Turkish foods. European and Slavic cuisine uses poppy seeds to season fish, vegetable and noodle dishes.
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