If we look at Kerala’s history, we find that it is closely related to its trade, which was completely dependent until recent times on the state’s spice trade, which dates back to 3,000 years. Our land was so rich due to these spices, that traders traveled to our place, not only for the purpose of commerce but also to gain control of the land.
Earlier known as the ‘Spice Capital of the World’, Kerala is famous for rich and exotic and aromatic herbs and spices known for their culinary and medicinal properties.
Kerala’s significant spice cultivating regions include Kumily, Vandanmedu, Thekkady, Munnar, and Kattappana.
Munnar, as we all know, is the favorite destination of travelers from around the world. The overall picture of Munnar, which lies at 1600m above sea level, including the tea plantations, elegantly designed towns, rare flora and fauna, dams, high peaks, makes it a perfect place for a pleasant retreat. Another sight that entices tourists is the Neelakurinji flower that appears once in 12 years. And yes, who can forget the spice gardens of Munnar, which add the richness of flavor and aroma to the place.
Let us know more about the major Munnar spices.
A cardamom plant begins bearing capsules from the third year of planting. After harvesting, the capsules are rubbed on wire mesh and polished. Then they are graded and stored in polythene-gunny bags in order to retain the green color and to avoid exposure to moisture.
Cardamom, ‘the Queen of Spices’ is used as a flavoring agent in your foods as well as drinks due to its strong, unique taste and intense fragrance. It is an indispensable ingredient in biryani and pulao. This versatile pod finds use in spiced tea, masalas, and a large variety of sweets and desserts. Cardamom has medicinal uses as well.
Pepper was and is the ‘King of Spices’. Pepper grows best in a warm and humid climate. In about 180 to 200 days, the berries mature and are ready for harvest. The mature pepper berries are sun-dried for 3-4 days, after separating from the spikes by threshing. White pepper is produced by retting mature berries in clean water for 5-7 days. Then the outer skin is removed and the seed is dried after thorough washing.
The most loved spices of all, pepper finds many uses in our cuisine as well as in medicine. Peppercorns are used in dishes as a whole or are ground and added. It lends the food a unique aroma and flavor.
Clove trees start flowering, 7-8 years after planting. When the unopened flower buds turn their color from green to pink. They are then dried for 4-5 days until they become crisp and dark brown in color.
Clove is popular for its rich flavor and spicy aroma. It is used in a variety of Indian meat, rice, and vegetable dishes. Ground clove is found in garam masala.
Cinnamon plants are harvested about 3 years after planting, in May and November. The bark of the shoots is split on the day of harvest and dried in the sun for 2-5 days. Oil is extracted from leaves and tender twigs through distillation.
Cinnamon adds flavor and a spicy, nutty taste to dishes. Desserts taste heavenly with cinnamon. Cinnamon ginger chicken curry tastes sweet due to this spice.
Nutmeg and Mace
Nutmeg trees bear fruits the whole year, but the period from December to May is the peak harvest season. When the fruits are fully ripe, the nuts split open. The fruits are de-husked and then, the red feathery aril (mace) is removed, flattened out, and sun-dried for 10-15 days. The nuts are dried for 4-8 weeks, separately till the kernels rattle within the shells.
Both nutmeg and mace are used as condiments in some lip-smacking recipes. Mace gives a very delicate nutmeg flavoring to soups and stews. A small amount of mace enhances many dishes, adding fragrance. It flavors light-colored cakes and pastries. Nutmeg also elevates the taste of soups. It also adds flavor to sweet dishes like pies, puddings, custards, and cookies.
Munnar Spices Available Online
Spices are part of a well-stocked kitchen as they are essential in regular home cooking. The various spices enliven the whole process of your cooking.
Keralaspicesonline.com is India’s first online spices supermarket store offering you over 25 major types of spices. The spices are exclusively handpicked from the spice gardens of Munnar, along with other places in the Idukki district, and thereby, the best quality spices are made available to you at the lowest prices.
You can choose from the whole range of 100% pure, authentic, fresh, organic spices and add a tantalizing taste to your dishes. Buy Munnar spices online and relish their freshness and goodness.