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Grains of Paradise
Unassuming Grains of Paradise is a hard, nubbly little chestnut brown seed. It looks little bit like an underdeveloped peppercorn and doesn’t have a strong aroma, exuding a mild eucalyptus scent. Once you crack the seed open, its flavor explodes outward, and this unassuming seed becomes surprisingly complex. Floral and citrus flavors emerge with the first bite and rush up the nose, followed by a pungent juniper flavor and peppery burn that fades into a lingering piney bitterness. Grains of Paradise is closely related to ginger, galangal, turmeric and cardamom and contains .5% to 1% volatile oil.
This spice was written about in the first century CE by Roman historian Pliny the Elder (23-79CE), who called it “African pepper”. He experienced this north- and west- African spice thanks to the camel caravans that carried it along across the Sahara Desert. From there it was carried through trade routes to Sicily and into the boot of Italy. It was a popular spice in Europe during the Middle Ages (400-1400CE), called “grana paradisi”, evoking the Medieval concept of an earthly paradise filled with wondrous things, like delicious spices filled with complex flavors. In Hebrew, this spice is called “gargeri gan ha-eden”, which translates to “grains from the Garden of Eden”.
Ingredients: Grains of paradise