The following points highlight the top eight spices obtained from seeds. The spices are: 1. Bengal Cardamom 2. White Mustard 3. Indian Mustard 4. Black Mustard 5. Black Cumin 6. Poppy Seeds 7. Pomegranate 8. Fenugreek.
Spice # 1. Bengal Cardamom:
Amomum aromaticum Roxb; English—Bengal cardamom, Nepal cardamom; Hindi—Bari elaichi; Marathi— Veldode; Family—Zingiberaceae.
It is a perennial herb, grown in North Bengal and Khasia hills. The fruit ripens in September; the capsules are then carefully gathered by the natives and sold to the druggists.
The fruits and seeds are used as a condiment. It is one of the chief ingredients of garam masala’.
Spice # 2. White Mustard:
Brassica hirta Moench; Syn. B. alba (Linn.) Boiss.; English—White mustard; Hindi—Safed rai, safed rayan; Bengali—Dhop-rai; Marathi—Pandhora-mohare; Gujarati—Ujlo-rai, Tamil— Vellai-Kadugu; Telugu—Tella-avalw, Malayalam—Vella-Katuka-, Kannada—Bili-sasave-, Sanskrit—Siddhartha’, Persian— Sipandane-supid; Family— Cruciferae (Brassicaceae).
This is considered native of Europe and Western Asia. It is a herb, 2-6 feet high, with yellow flowers, hairy lobed leaves and a long-beaked pod with bristles. The small round seeds are yellow on the outside and white within.
The seeds contain a glucoside, sinalbin. When ground seeds, are treated with water, the glucoside breaks down through enzyme action, and yields a sulphur compound with a characteristic sharp and pungent taste.
It is used as a condiment in food stuffs and pickles. The powdered seeds made into a paste with cold water act as a stimulant. It is used also in medicine. The seeds yield fatty oil.
Spice # 3. Indian Mustard:
Brassica juncea (Linn.) Czern. & Coss; English—Indian Mustard; Hindi—Rai, sarson, sarson-lahi, gohna-sarson, barirai, barlai, badshahi-rai, shahzada-rai, khas-rar, Bengali—Rai sarisha: Kashmiri—Asur; Gujarati—Mumbai—sarson, rajika; Marathi—Mohari, rayan; Sanskrit—Rajika; Family—Cruciferae (Brassicaceae).
A tall, erect annual herb, 3-5 feet high, with bright green foliage; racemes terminal, with a rough reticulate testa. It is cultivated chiefly in the Punjab, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh. It is sown in October-November and cut in March-April.
The seeds are used as a condiment in pickles. The seed oil is used for pickles and cooking purposes.
Spice # 4. Black Mustard:
Brassica nigra Koch; English—Black mustard; Hindi—Kali rat, rai, lira, tara mira. Lahi, jag rai. makra rai; Bengali—sarisha’, Gujarati—Rai, kalirai; Mumbai—Rai, sarson; Tamil— Kadagho-, Telugu—Avalo; Kannada—Bile sasive-, Sanskrit—Rajika; Persian—yarishaf; Family—Cruciferae (Brassicaceae).
It is a native of Eurasia. In India, it is cultivated mainly in the Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. The plant is smaller than the white mustard. It has smooth pods with dark brown seeds, which are yellow inside. The seeds contain a glucoside, sinigrin. This glucoside yields on decomposition a volatile oil containing sulphur, which is responsible for the aromatic odour and pungency.
Ground black mustard seeds are used as a condiment in pickles. The seed oil is used for cooking purposes.
Chemical Composition of Brassica Seeds:
Moisture 7.6%; nitrogen substances 29.1%; nitrogen free extract 19.2%; ether extract 28.2%; crude fibre 11%; ash 5%; seed oil 27-33%.
Spice # 5. Black Cumin:
Nigella sativa Linn; English—Black cumin, small fennel; Hindi—Kalonji, kalajira; Bengali- Mugrela, kala-jira; Kashmiri—Tukm-i-gandna; Mumbai—Kalonji, kalenjire; Tamil—Karunshirogam; Telugu—Nalla-jilakra; Kannada—Karijirigi, kare-Jirage; Malayalam— Karun-chirakam; Sanskrit—Krishna-jirata; Persian—Siyah-danah; Myanmar—Samon-ne; Family—Ranunculaceae.
A herb It is a native of Southern Europe. In India, it is cultivated in the Punjab, Bengal, Assam and Bihar for its seeds. Its Sanskrit names indicate, its introduction at a very early period.
The seeds, possess a strong, pungent, aromatic taste, and therefore, are much used in curries, pickles and other dishes. They are also frequently sprinkled over the surface of bread along with sesamum seed. French cooks employ the seeds of this plant under the name of Quatre epices or toute epices, and they were formerly used as a substitute for pepper.
Spice # 6. Poppy Seeds:
Papaver somniferum Linn. var. album; English—Poppy seeds; Hindi—Post, Bengali— Pasto; Marathi—Posta; Gujarati—Posta-, Family—Papaveraceae.
It is native of West Asia. In India, it is cultivated in the East Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. The plant is an erect, rarely branched, usually glaucous annual herb, 60-120 cm. in height.
Leaves ovate-oblong or linear-oblong, amplexicaul, lobed, dentate or serrate; flowers large, usually bluish white with a purplish base or white, purple or variegated; capsules large, 2.5 cm. diameter, globose, stalked; seeds white or black, very minute, reniform.
As we know poppy is cultivated also for its seeds. In India, var. album, with wnite seeds has been cultivated for many years for the production of seeds (post) under licence in Dehradun and Tehri Garhwal districts of Uttar Pradesh, and in Jalandhar, Kapurthala, Hoshiarpur and Patiala districts of the Punjab.
In India, best seeds are obtained when the capsules have not been incised for extraction of opium. The crop yields 220-275 kg. of seeds per hectare.
Poppy seeds are considered nutritive and are used in breads, curries, sweets and confectionery. Poppy seeds contain upto 50% of an edible oil. The oil is odourless and possesses a pleasant almond – like taste. In India the oil is extracted by cold-pressing the seed in small presses.
The oil is widely used for culinary purposes. It is free from narcotic properties and used as a salad oil. The cake or the meal left after extraction of the oil from the seeds is sweet and nutritious and is eaten by poor people.
Chemical Composition of Seeds:
Moisture 4.3-5.2%; protein 22.3-24.4%; ether extract 46.5-49.1%; nitrogen free extract 11.7-14.3%; crude fibre 4.8-5.8%; ash 5.6-6.0%; calcium 1.03-1.45%; phosphorus 0.79-0.89%; iron 8.5-11.1 mg/100 g.; thiamine 740- 1181 ug/100 g.; riboflavin 756-1203 ug/100 g.; nicotinic acid 800-1280 ug/100 g; iodine 6 ug/kg.; manganese 29 mg/kg.; copper 22.9 mg/kg.; magnesium 15.6 g/kg.; zinc 130 mg/’kg.; lecithin 2.80%; Oxalic acid 1.62%; pentosans 3.0-3.6%; traces of narcotin, an amorphous alkaloid and enzymes- diastase, emulsin.
Spice # 7. Pomegranate:
Punica granatum Linn.; English—Pomegranate; Hindi—Anardana; Assamese—Dalim-, Bengali—Dalimb; Gujarati—Dalamb; Kannada—Dalimbari; Kashmiri—Daan; Malayalam— Mathalam pazham; Marathi—Dalimd; Tamil—Mathalam pazham; Telugu—Dannima pandu; Punjabi—Anardana; Sanskrit—Dadima; Family—Punicaceae.
A shrub or small tree, 5-10 m. high, native of Iran, Afghanistan and Baluchistan, found growing wild in the warm valleys and outer hills of the Himalayas between 900 and 1,800 m. and cultivated throughout India.
Leaves 2.0-8.0 cm. long, oblong or obvate, shining above; flowers usually scarlet red; fruits globose, crowned by persistent calyx, with a coriaceous woody rind and an interior septate with membranous walls, containing numerous seeds; seeds angular with a fleshy testa which is red, pink or whitish.
Though mostly found cultivated in many parts of India, the tree is also very common and gregarious in the gravel and boulder deposits of dry ravines in the outer Himalayas, upto about 1,800 m.
In Jammu, it is found gregariously on dry limestone soils in the upper extremities of subtropical forests; it is also found in Chamba, Kangra and Mandi districts of Himachal Pradesh and valleys below 1,800 m. in Jaunsar and Tehri -Garhwal districts of Uttar Pradesh. As a cultivated crop, maximum area is said to be devoted to it in Maharashtra, particularly in Pune, Sholapur and Satara districts.
In Gujarat, its cultivation is concentrated in Dholka taluka. It is cultivated in the districts of Almora, Aligarh, Tehri – Garhwal, Meerut and Farrukhabad in Uttar Pradesh; Uthukuli, Michaelpatti, Vellodu and Dindigul in Tamil Nadu state; Penukonda and Madakasira in Andhra Pradesh; Tumkur, Kolar, Bangalore and Mysore districts in Karnataka state.
Among the numerous types grown in India, the Bedana and Kandhari are considered the best.
The pomegranate is a sub-tropical fruit tree, growing best in semiarid climate where cool winters and hot summers prevail.
The fruit is a good source of sugars and vitamin C, and a fair source of iron but is poor in calcium. The sugar content increases with the age of the fruit and of the tree. The fruit contains 0.27% of pectin.
During ripening, the insoluble pectin changes into soluble pectin. The concentration of vitamin C is said to increase with maturity and ripening of the fruit, and in most cases the maximum amount is deserved in the nearly ripe fruit.
Anardana of Commerce:
The seeds along with the fleshy portions are dried and commercially marketed as anardana and are widely used as condiment. The source of anardana of commerce is said to be the wild trees, covering vast tracts of hill slopes in Jammu, and parts of Chamba, Kangra and Mandi districts of Himachal Pradesh.
The main areas from where anardana is collected are the Riasu, Udhampur, Ramban, Kishtwar and Bhadarwah Forest Divisions.
In these areas, fruits are hand-picked towards the middle of October, when they are ripe and brown red in colour. Seeds with the pulp are separated by hand from the rind and are dried in the sun for about 10-15 days when the colour of the seeds turns reddish brown. The main assembling centre for anardana is Udhampur (J & K State) from where distribution is done all over the country.
Spice # 8. Fenugreek:
Trigonella foenum-graecum Linn.; English—Fenugreek; Hindi—Methi, muthi; Bengali— Methi, methika; Punjabi—Methi, methri; Gujarati—Methi, methini, Tamil—Vendayam; Telugu—Menti kura; Kannada—Menthya; Malayalam—Ventayam; Sanskrit—Methi, methika; Persian—Shanbalid; Family—Papilionaceae.
It is a native of Southern Europe and Asia. It is grown mainly in Northern India. It is an annual legume with white flowers and long slender pods with a pronounced beak. The crop is sown in October-November. It is ready to harvest in April.
The seeds are chiefly used as a condiment to flavour curries made of rice, pulse, flour and meat, or as a relish with unleavened bread. The aromatic leaves are used as vegetable. The seeds are carminative, tonic and aphrodisiac.