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Poppy seeds info Tips and Information

Poppy seeds info and tips will help you in your cooking and food preparation.These are very useful and quite interesting information that you learn once and then apply at any time you need it.


poppy seeds info
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The word poppy instantly brings to mind opium which is obtained from the poppy plant. In fact it is this narcotic that gives the poppy its botanical name Papaver somniferum which refers to its ability to promote sleep. Opium contains compounds from which morphine and codeine are extracted and these are responsible for the heady effect of the drug. The use of poppy was known to the ancient Greeks and it reached India and China by the 8th century. By and by it became an important ingredient in the indian kitchen. Today though the drug opium is banned in many countries poppy seeds are eaten all over the world.

How they grows
Poppies grow widely in China Turkey Iran Holland Canada and France. India is a major producer. Poppy the spice is the seed of an annual plant which bears large leaves and bright red flowers with a dark purple centre. As the flowers die away they leave behind a seed capsule which is oval and is crowned by a spiky stigma. These capsules are dried then cracked to reveal vertical chambers containing thousands of seeds.

Appearance and taste
indian and European poppy seeds vary greatly in appearance. Both are very tiny and light but the indian variety are ivory to beige and the European variety called Maw is dark grey. There is also a Turkish variety which is tobacco brown. Contrary to belief poppy seeds do not give you a high. When cooked they have a distinct nutty aroma. Their graininess is often used to give texture to indian dishes.

Buying and storing
Poppy seeds are always sold whole. They are simple to grind at home and dry roasting them makes this task easier. indian cookery uses only the cream coloured seeds as the grey ones affect the colour of the final product. Store the seeds in a clean jar taking care not to spill any.

Medicinal and other uses
Poppy seeds are effective for fever inflammation and irritation of the stomach. Powdered and mixed with honey they are a recommended cure for dysentery. The oil is used in soaps and in artists paints.

Culinary uses
In India poppy seeds are usually ground with other spices and used to thicken curries for meat fish and vegetables. Poppy seeds are cooked with jaggery and coconut enveloped in a case of flaky pastry and deep fried to make a delicious sweet called karanji. They are also sprinkled over naan bread and cooked in a clay oven called a tandoor. In Turkey poppy seeds are made into sweet halva and in the middle East they flavour bread and desserts.
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