12 Spices and Seeds Whose Growth Is Mysterious
Nature sometimes reserves wonders. Some spices and seeds often used in cooking or as appetizers sometimes grow unexpectedly. Continue reading this post, and you will be surprised!
1. The peanut
You have to pull out the stems to find the shells containing a couple of seeds: the peanut. The peanut grows in the ground on a plant at ground level. Once fertilized, the plant buries its fruit.
Good to know: 1% of people suffer from peanut allergy. The disease affects more and more people every year.
2. Sesame seeds
Before being used in burgers, bread sticks or Chinese noodles, sesame seeds grow in long vertical stalks about one meter high with tubular green shells.
These long hulls contain about 100 fresh seeds. Sesame also has white, yellow, blue or purple flowers that are also tube-shaped.
Good to know: a sesame seed is particularly rich in copper and omega 6.
3. The cocoa bean
On the branches and trunk of the cocoa tree grow funny shells that lean towards the ground: the pods. The fresh cocoa beans are covered with a whitish and acid pulp: the mucilage.
Dried and crushed, the cocoa beans give a paste that will be used in different ways to make powder or tablets.
Good to know: cocoa contains a substance that is seriously toxic for dogs.
Coming from Sri Lanka, cinnamon is the bark of the tree. The inner bark of the cinnamon tree is harvested on rainy days and early in the morning to extract its unique taste, which will be used to flavour tagines and essential oils.
Good to know: for a tasty dessert, sprinkle cinnamon on a sliced orange. Simple and delicious!
Before being sold in black pods, vanilla resembled an orchid. Once its pretty white flower is fertilized, the pods grow in its center, containing the tiny perfumed seeds.
Good to know: once the pods are harvested, they are immersed in boiling water to stop any organic transformation. Then, the pods are wrapped in jute cloths to evacuate the humidity. As soon as fermentation starts, they are exposed to the sun to stop the process: 2 weeks later, the pods are ready!
6. Black pepper
Black pepper comes from a tree with large leaves from which clusters of red berries emerge:
– The berries picked well before maturity will give the green pepper.
– Barely ripe, fermented and dried, the berries are called black pepper.
– Peppercorns harvested when ripe and removed from their pericarp (shell) produce white pepper.
Good to know: pepper contains piperine. This highly irritating molecule excites the nerves responsible for sneezing.
7. The almond
The almond grows in a thick shell on a tree. The almond tree also has pretty little white flowers.
Good to know: the wild almond tree produces inedible fruit.
8. The coffee tree
The coffee tree is a shrub with large leaves and clusters of white flowers.
Its red and yellow fruits are called “cherries”. Coffee is made from the two seeds they contain.
9. The cashew nut
The cashew nut grows on a cashew tree. This strange tree with a flared top sinks deep into the ground.
At the end of the dry season, strange pepper-like stalks ripen cashew apples. The kernel of the fruit developing under this stalk is the cashew nut.
Good to know: in some South American countries, the process is reversed, and the nuts end up in the garbage while the apples are eaten.
This spice comes from the purple flower of the saffron crocus. In the center of the flower emerge three red stems, the pistil, which is dried to become saffron.
Good to know: saffron should not be confused with turmeric. The latter, called “turmeric”, often usurps the appearance of saffron and costs less.
The tea tree is a shrub that can reach several meters high. Its evergreen foliage is plucked for tea once dried and scalded.
The shrub also produces small white and yellow flowers. Its fruits are green capsules containing seeds suitable for making essential oils.
Good to know: the oldest tea plant in the world is located in Pu’er in the Yunnan province of China. It is 3,750 years old.
12. The pistachio
The pistachio tree thrives in warm regions.
A fertilized tree produces clusters of red and yellow shells. When these shells ripen, they naturally open and fall off. Nets must be placed to avoid destroying the seeds they contain. The pistachio has purple skin and a green interior.
Good to know: pistachios (unsalted) are a source of vitamin B and fibre.
Now that you know more about these strange seeds and spices make them your garden!