Tuesday, April 24, 2012


(Papaver somniferum)
Seemingly round, poppy seeds are actually kidney shaped and come in either slate-blue or off-white. 
Blue poppy seeds, also called European or Holland poppy seeds, have unparalleled flavor and sweetness and are a little larger. 
Off-white poppy seeds are a little less sweet and are often referred to as Indian, Middle Eastern or Asian poppy seed since they are featured in these cuisines adding texture and flavor. 
They both are nut-like in flavor, however, the blue seeds are recognized as the best quality seed and comprise most imports to the United States.
Although native to Mediterranean regions, India, China, Turkey and Iran, today, Holland and Canada are the main producers of poppy seeds.  The poppy seed has been cultivated for over 3,000 years and actually comes from the plant that produces opium; however the seed does not have the same sedative effect but may interfere with accurate drug testing!!  Because of the plant’s narcotic effect, Papaver somniferum may not be grown in Britain or the United States without a permit even though it is hardy to zone 5.  It grows best in semi-shade and requires moist soil.  Cultivated varieties flower in July and have white to purple flowers that produce a capsule full of seeds - almost a million seeds are said to be in one pound!  Other varieties of poppy such as Corn poppy, the renowned Flanders Field Poppy, Iceland poppies and Oriental poppies are grown as ornamentals that offer show-stopping blooms when massed in the garden.
Poppy seeds offer a nutty crunch no matter where they appear, but are a classic addition to buttered noodles, fruit salad dressings and fragrant yeast breads. Sprinkled onto coleslaw, the seeds add contrast in color and texture.  The mild sweet-spicy undertones are brought out by roasting or baking.  Although difficult to grind, the ground seeds are used to thicken sauces especially curries. 
Poppy seeds have a high, flavorful oil content and should be refrigerated or frozen during the summer months.  The oil expressed from the seeds is used for culinary purposes and is a substitute for olive oil.
Poppy seeds can be used
either whole or crushed in cooking & bakery

To grind poppy seeds,
first lightly roast the seeds
or cover them with boiling water for 1-3 hrs
then use a pestle and mortar to grind.
HONEY & POPPY SEED HEARTS3/4 cup butter, softened                 
2/3 cup sugar
3Tbs honey                                       
2 tsp lemon or orange peel
1 tsp baking powder                                    
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp baking soda                          
1 egg
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour                       
1 egg white
1Tbs water                                             
1Tbs poppy seed     
          Beat together butter, sugar, honey, peel, baking powder, cinnamon and baking soda.  Beat in egg until combined then beat in as much flour as possible and stir in remaining with a wooden spoon.  Divide dough in half, cover and chill 2 hours.  On lightly floured   surface, roll out half at a time and cut into heart shapes.  Place 2 inches apart on lightly greased sheet.  Brush with beaten egg white and water mixture and sprinkle with poppy seeds.  Bake at 375 degrees for 8-10 mins.
POPPY SEED DRESSING1 cup vegetable oil                           
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup white vinegar                                  
2Tbs minced onion
1 tsp salt                                            
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1 1/2 tsp poppy seeds
Combine first 6 ingredients in blender; process on low speed 30 seconds. Stir in poppy seeds. Cover and chill. Stir before using. Serve on fresh fruits or spinach.
“And God said, See I have given you every herb
that yields seed which is on the face of the earth. . . “
Genesis 1:29

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