Know your Spices and Spice Plants

Know your Spices and Spice Plants
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Munnar, This is our recent vacation spot, We really Had some good experience in Munnar, It’s a hill, with beautiful nature, every where with beautiful flowers and spices.. I learnt few spice knowledge from our vacation, we got a wonderful guide in spice garden, who share so many things which i came through new points.. 
And of course if you had a plan to visit Munnar, don’t miss the spice garden also take a Note and Pen, I clicked few photos and grabbed few things in my mind, but i clarified few doubts. and after visiting this garden, i felt the knowledge i had earlier was extremely out of subject, and here i found few interesting info behind the Indian Spices.. 
How we select Spice, will see the price, name and quantity and before cooking as per recipe we add those Spices, i know this post is quite lengthy, but i must share these info with you all.. 
Bay Leaf:
In Tamil we call this as திரளி இலை, We generally use this Leaf for sweet dumpling, the pungent Smell of the Leaf and flavour will transfer to the dumpling while steaming, Our South TamilNadu had a special festive to celebrate the pooja with this sweet dumpling(kozhukattai), we do kozhukattai in Poovaraus leaf, Banana Leaf, Palm Leaf, and in This Bay leaf, For Karthigai Deepam Our negihbour used to prepare all kind of kozhukattai and they distribute those sweet and savoury tumbling to neighbours.
Here comes the Truth, Earlier i was thinking the one which we used for Kozhukattai and for Spices are the same, but they are two different kinds from the same family, the Bay leaf which used for spices will be dry in shade also the cinnamon sticks are take from the stem of bay leaf plant.. the one used for kozhukattai is another variety plant.. Bay leaf looks short in size, sir and quality of the leaves vary form the soil.. Below picture shows how the “Bay Leaf looks in Raw”
Bay Leaves are Pungent and have a sharp and bitter taste.. with many spices and flavourings, the fragrance of the bay leaf is more noticeable than in taste.. the components of bay leaf are one is Essential  oils used in perfumery.. All around the World this spices had a unique place, in south Asia, we use this for Biryani, Garam Masala, Fresh or Dried Bay leaves, are crushed before the cooking and they are tempered in ghee or oil to extract the flavours to the whole dish.. 

Bay Leaf1
Cinnamon Plant, the same bay leaf plant, leaves are called to be bay leaf, and the steam are know to the Cinnamon, When the stem are matured enough, they swirl out the Stem to get the Cinnamon Sticks, the one which we found in the grocery is simple swirled stick, and i thought these are cut down from a separate plant, but never thought how the leaves of cinnamon stick looks.. Here i scratch few sticks with my nails to test he aroma, thats awe.. really awe..
Cinnamon are used for weight losing agent, i don’t know exactly how to use the spice for weight loss, but so many soups, savouries, sweets, cakes can be prepared with cinnamon..
Cardamom/Yellaki, earlier i was thinking this is from some tree, they all look unique in size and flavour.. here, i showed how young cardamom grow in plant, a long bunch of sticks raise from the ground, and They bloom some shell shaped flowers.. from their bunch by bunch i cardamom will grow..
 Luckily i got a click with Cardamom flower.. This is also the spice which added with biryani, Kheer, Sweets, Garam masala.. cardamon are small in shape, after drying they vary in weight and in size.. the small had more flavour and taste.. tis also used in many medicinal purpose.. some beauty products are also using cardamom for the natural flavouring..
Cardamom 3
 See this is  a long shot, how cardamom grown from the ground.. only the farmers know when they will matured, and every 10-15 days they harvest the matured Cardamom from plant..
Nowadays the cardamom are mainly used in making tea.. the flavor will give some refreshment for morning sip..
After seeing the Cardamom flower, i though cloves will also formed from some small plant, but here is the picture what i saw in the garden,these are from tree, You can see the Small buds will from the tree, and only after the flower bloomed the color will change to dark, thats is meant to cloves.. the leaves though fully flavoured..
I thought these are some fruits.. they look like papaya.. This is Cocoa, once they turned ripe, fruits will be harvested.. and you can see 30-40 cocoa seeds inside the Fruits, they preserved, dried and powdered to cocoa powder, First time i saw cocoa plant and very excited to see these beauties..
 A young Cocoa is here.. Nowadays cocoa are the main Flavour ingredient in all chocolate, cakes, milkshakes.. Morden days had a great welcome for Cocoa and cocoa products..
Cocoa plants are mainly cultivated in hills for the proper temperature..
 These are called to Malabar coriander, Very long i had a plant in home, we used to make Rasam on this, i don’t know the really name for this i found this plant in the garden i  clicked to share here.. the fragrance of the leaves are similar to coriander, only 1 or 2 leaves is good enough to make a cup of rasam..
 Malabar coriander, they used this coriander for herbal medicines.. they had a big a ground of cultivation for this coriander..
Coriander 2
Here comes the most interesting Fruit.. Fig, They are grown bunch by bunch from top to bottom, two varieties of figs are there in production, one will have as fruit, this one will be preserved for Dry figs, but both the figs had good amount of Rich Iron Content best for Kids to All Aged people.. So earlier i thought both fruit fig and dry fig are same, but here i heard both are different variety..
 See how beautiful they are.. in Bible There is few spotting with Figs.. Very happy to see these Beauties..
 These are Fig leaves… These Leaves are sewed by Adam and Eve for dress, they are the first morden Designers rite..
 These Figs are ready to Harvest..
Insulin Plant, I know this plant from my childhood, my  Dad used to eat this Leaves for diabetic control, but what part of this plant will be consumed for medicine?? The Roots are used for diabetic medicine not the leaves, The Leaves have 10% of medicinal effect but the Roots of this plant have 90% of medicinal effect, should boil the dried few pieces of Insulin roots in one lt. water, with in 24 hours the water should consumed, regular usage of this drink will control pancreas to secret more insulin ..
Insulin Plant
 So Now you get the awareness rite.. so don’t waste the insulin plant roots, while replantation you can see the good matured roots, chop them, put them sun dried, and store in airtight container, then make the the drink..
Insulin plant2
Kanthari Mulaku, small Hot chilli.. this is the best for cholesterol control ingredient, I remember mom used to make chutney with this chilly, this is the country variety chilli, so many varieties and shapes are there in this family, purple Kanthari, Nellikaai Kanthari, Paal Kantahari, And so may varieties are there..
Kanthari mulaku1
 Lemon Jasmine, No fruits will grow in this plant this flowers and leaves of the tree is used for making some fragranced perfume..
Lemon JAsmine
 Nut meg, They grow in tree, looks like some Fruit, once they matured, t these fruits are harvested and they separate the mace from the Seeds, so both the spices are form same tree, mace and nutmeg is also used in Garam masala, biryani, some non veg preparations, also for few sweets and deserts too..
This also a know plant for me, but the info i gathered is completely new, earlier  i thought Black pepper, Green Pepper , White pepper are different variety pepper, but these all are from the same plant, the young pepper are dried and called to be green pepper, Fully ripped pepper are called to red pepper, If they Dried as it, then they are black pepper, if the skin of ripped pepper are peeled and dried that is know to be White Pepper, All those pepper are good in Herbal medicine.. for cold, cough, and For digestion..
 Pepper can be prepared with rasam, soup and these pepper are include in so many recipes and medicine.. the picture below is the young pepper plant..
 Good bunch of Peeper grown in a healthy plant. these pepper plant are cheaper variety, they need a supportive tree to sustain the life..
Pepper mint, this is the main ingredient used in polo sweet, paste,  mouth fresheners, i though mint leaves are used for all those, but Peppermint is different in size, the leaves had the taste.. they extract the juice of peppermint and these juices are used for making some mouth fresheners, paste..
 Pineapple plant, this picture is for young generation who don’t the Pineapple plant.. Tropical fruit of India.. Good ripped fruits are used in juice, Jam and so many things..
 Krishna tulsi, this is the tulsi used in all herbal ingredient, best for cough and cold.. consume 2 leaves of tulsi a day, and improve your immune, these are so virgin, God’s plant, many people worship this plant for the purity..
Uthiratchai, First time i saw this Tree, This tree is 70+years old..
Coming to an end.. i shared the photos and my small thought in this post, and definitely will continue few more useful info in coming post.. Hope you all had a great time with this LOOOOng Post..

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