Monday, April 16, 2012

Poppyseeds Pop

Poppy seeds are one of those ingredients that are always overlooked. They are not only decorative , they also add flavor to anything. They're a fun way of sprucing up ordinary foods from bagels to salads. Sprinkle just a few or add a handful to create an entirely new dish.

Poppy seeds come from the same poppy that creates opium.It is an oilseed, mostly used in baking however it can be washed to make what's known as poppy tea.Don't worry about being drugged if you eat a poppy seed bagel or have it sprinkled in salad. The opiate level is very low. There are only trace amount s in each seed.Black poppy seeds are most prevalent in the US however in Europe they can be both black and white. Premium ones from Holland are slate blue in color.The seeds may appear round to the eye however look a little more closely and discover that they are really kidney shaped.

German and Polish bakers use poppy seeds the most, namely in baking, Buns and cakes often are laced with them for color and crunch. Central Europeans love a strudel made with a poppy seed paste.They can also be crushed and mixed with honey to make a candy bar that is popular in the Balkans and in Greece. Poppy seeds are also ground in a fine paste and mixed with rum, vanilla,orange zest, raisins, almonds walnuts or heavy cream to create a thick filling for rolls.Jewish cuisine calls for poppy seeds during the festival of Purim. Indian cuisine goes the other way using the white variety in savory dishes such as korma. Here in the US , the seeds are best known for gracing bagels  and adding extra zip to salads whether on their own or in dressings.

Poppy seeds really do make foods pop. They are a great addition to any dish. Try them in savory or making a traditional strudel or cake! They bring crunch and fun, along with a distinct flavor.

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