Grains of Paradise ??

511105I learned something new today! I was watching the Food Network (my addiction) this morning, and a guest chef on Bobby Flay’s show brought some Grains of paradise spice for his jerk marinade. I had never heard if it before, and here is what I found out.

Grains of paradise is a small reddish-brown, round seed, found on the west coast of Africa. It is a member of the ginger and cardamom family, sometimes called Melegueta pepper, Guinea pepper, or alligator pepper. It packs some heat but also tastes of ginger, cardamom, coriander, citrus and nutmeg.

This spice was popular in Europe in the 13th and 14th centuries, but faded away after that with the availability of less expensive spices such as black pepper, cloves and nutmeg. But today it can be found in some beers, and gins. It can be purchased in some specialty food stores and online.

If you have used it before, let me know!

Make Your Own Spice Mix

For those spice mixes that you know you will only use once in a great while, try making your own with spices you probably already have in your pantry.

chinesefivespiceFor example: Chinese Style Five Spice

Mix equal parts (powdered): fennel, anise, ginger, cinnamon, cloves.

Now you have incorporated the five basic flavors of Chinese cooking; sweet, sour, bitter, savory and salty.

Look at you now! You’re a chemist. Put it on you resume.