munnar
               Spices


Munnar and its neighbouring villages cultivate over twelve varieties of spices including ginger, garlic, cardamom, vannilla, pepper, cinnamon, clove and nutmeg. One of the main spice plantations in Kerala is in Munnar. The spice plantations in Kerala are good to wander about because in these plantations different spices are cultivated at the same time as different sections in the farm. It is well known for its plantations and tea estates.

     
Munnar is popularly called as the tea town of Kerala. During the rule of the British, Munnar was developed in order to cultivate tea plants. This area is almost completely covered by tea estates and dense forests and is a centre of tourist attraction. Here, one can also taste the various spices being grown here and breathe the fragrant air. The spice plantations in Kerala are captivating farms to wander in, since different spices are cultivated in different sections of each plantation. In the spice plantations in Munnar, the spices grown include ginger, cardamom, vanilla, clove, nutmeg, peppar and garlic. Tea of various types and quality are also available here.

CARDAMOM

The scientific name is "Elettaria Cardamomum Maton", grown mainly in Kerala, Tamilnadu and Karnataka, on the shady slopes of the western Ghats. Cardamom of commerce is the dried ripe fruit often referred as the "Queen of Spices" because of its very pleasant aroma and taste. Cardamom is a perennial, herbaceous, rhizomatous plant. Based on the nature of panicles, three varieties are recognized viz. Malabar with prostrate panicle, Mysore with erect panicle, and Vazhukka with semi erect panicle. Indian cardamom is offered to the international markets in different grades: 'Alleppey Green Extra Bold' (AGEB), 'Alleppey Green Bold' (AGB) and 'Alleppey Green Superior' (AGS) are names that register instant appeal worldwide.Cardamom oil is a precious ingredient in food preparations.

    

PEPPAR

The scientific name is "Piper Nigrum". Pepper is a strong tasting spice. There are many different kinds of pepper and they come from completely different plants. Black pepper, white pepper and green pepper comes from the pepper plant. Black pepperis a flowering vine in the family Piperaceae, cultivated for its fruit, which is usually dried and used as a spice and seasoning. Black pepper is the world's most traded spice. It is one of the most common spices added to European cuisine and its descendants. Black peppers are native to India and are extensively cultivated there and elsewhere in tropical regions.



    
CINNAMON

The scientific name is "Cinnamomum zeylanicum". Cinnamon is a spice obtained from the inner bark of several trees from the genus Cinnamomum that is used in both sweet and savoury foods. Cinnamon trees are native to South East Asia, and its origin was mysterious in Europe until the sixteenth century. The spice is light brown in Colour and has a delicately fragrant aroma and warm, sweet flavour. Cinnamon has a long history both as a spice and as a medicine. It is the brown bark of the cinnamon tree, which is available in its dried tubular form known as a quill or as ground powder. The two varieties of cinnamon, Chinese and Ceylon, have similar flavor, however the cinnamon from Ceylon is slightly sweeter, more refined and more difficult to find in local markets.


    
VANILLA

The scientific name is "Vanilla fragrant". Vanilla is a flavoring derived from orchids of the genus Vanilla. It derives from the Spanish word "vainilla", little pod. Vanilla is the second most expensive spice after saffron, because growing the vanilla seed pods is labor intensive. Vanilla essence is largely used in foods in the preparation of ice creams, chocolates, bakery products, puddings, pharmaceuticals, liquors and perfumes. Vanilla is the second most expensive spice traded in the world market. The bean takes 10 to 12 months to reach full maturity. Vanilla is a climbing orchid cultivated for its pleasant flavour. It is one of the few contributions of the western hemisphere to the world of spices.


    
CLOVE

The scientific name is "Eugenia caryophyllus/Syzygium aromaticum". The clove tree is an evergreen that grows to a height ranging from 8–12 m, having large square leaves and sanguine flowers in numerous groups of terminal clusters. The word ‘clove’ is from the Latin word for ‘nail’ – clavus. The clove is native to the North Moluccas, the Spice Islands of Indonesia. They contain 14 to 20 percent essential oil, the principal component of which is the aromatic oil eugenic. Cloves are strongly pungent owing toeugenol, which is extracted by distillation to yield oil of cloves. This oil is used to prepare microscopic slides for viewing and is also a local anesthetic for toothaches. Eugene is used in germicides, perfumes, and mouthwashes, in the synthesis of vanillin, and as a sweetener or intensifier.

    
GINGER

Ginger is the rhizome of the plant "Zingiber officinale", consumed as a delicacy, medicine, or spice. It is from the family "Zingiberaceae". Other notable members of this plant family are turmeric, cardamom, and galangal. Ginger cultivation began in South Asia and has since spread to East Africa and the Caribbean. It is sometimes called root ginger to distinguish it from other things that share the name ginger. Ginger produces a hot, fragrant kitchen spice. Ginger powder is also used in certain food preparations, particularly for pregnant or nursing women. Fresh ginger is used for treating acute bacterial dysentery, baldness, malaria, poisonous snake bites, rheumatism, migraine headache, and toothaches. Dried ginger is used for chest pain, low back pain, and stomach pain. Some people pour the fresh juice on their skin to treat burns. The oil made from ginger is sometimes applied to the skin to relieve pain.


    
NUTMEG

The scientific name is "Myristica". The nutmeg tree is important for two spices derived from the fruit, nutmeg and mace. Nutmeg is the actual seed of the tree, roughly egg-shaped and about 20 to 30 mm (0.8 to 1 in) long and 15 to 18 mm (0.6 to 0.7 in) wide, and weighing between 5 and 10 g (0.2 and 0.4 oz) dried, while mace is the dried "lacy" reddish covering or aril of the seed.These are used in both savory and sweet dishes. Nutmeg has a warm flavor and affinity for rich foods. It is used to relieve bronchial disorders, rheumatism and flatulence as treatment for digestive, liver and skin complaints. It is also used in perfumery, soaps and shampoos.


    
GARLIC

"Allium sativum", is the scientific name of garlic, is a species in the onion genus, Allium. Its close relatives include the onion, shallot, leek, chive, and rakkyo. Dating back over 6,000 years, Garlic is widely used around the world for its pungent flavor as a seasoning or condiment. Garlic is rich in antioxidants, which help destroy free radicals -- particles that can damage cell membranes, interact with genetic material, and possibly contribute to the aging process as well as the development of a number of conditions, including heart disease and cancer. Free radicals occur naturally in the body, but environmental toxins (including ultraviolet light, radiation, cigarette smoke, and air pollution) can also increase the number of these damaging particles. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals and may reduce or even help prevent some of the damage they cause over time.

    


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