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Natural healing power: healthy grains of paradise from Africa

Natural healing power: healthy grains of paradise from Africa


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Grains of paradise in the kitchen: Peppery spiciness from Africa
An African spice finds its way back into European cuisine. In the Middle Ages, the grains of paradise were also widespread in Germany and served as a cheap replacement for black pepper. With the discovery of sea routes to India and the associated triumphal march of the pepper, the grains of paradise were forgotten. Today the spice is used more often. It is also contained in traditional spice mixes for gingerbread, sausages and mulled wine.

Grains of paradise have a sharp to slightly bitter taste with a fruity note. Since the seeds are significantly milder than pepper, they go well with vegetables such as eggplants, potatoes, fish and other seafood. In African cuisine, they are primarily used for stews and stews, but are also part of popular spice mixes such as Ras el Hanout and Gâlat dagga. The dried seeds can also be combined very well with black pepper and cubeb pepper.

Grains of paradise are also called guinea peppers because they are native to tropical West Africa on the Gulf of Guinea. The plant with the scientific name Aframomum melegueta belongs to the ginger family and is cultivated in Liberia, Togo, Nigeria and Ghana, among others. 10 cm long capsule fruits are formed from the trumpet-shaped flowers, each containing 60 to 100 small seeds. In Africa, grains of paradise are used as a medicinal plant because their essential oils have an anti-inflammatory effect, support digestion and serve as a warming agent when chewed.

Grains of paradise are available in spice shops and on the Internet. If they are stored unmilled, cool, dry and protected from light, they can be kept for two to three years. The aroma can be intensified by briefly roasting without fat. Then the seeds are ground and added to the dish at the end of the cooking time. Heike Kreutz, aid

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