(Artemisia pallens) The davana plant is a member of the daisy family and is native to southern India, where it’s traditionally used by Ayurvedic healers to balance the three energies.
Davana is small to medium in size and is an erect, herbaceous plant that can grow up to 40-60 centimeters in height. The leaves are deeply lobed with many small leaflets and are green with a blue, silver-grey dusting, growing in an alternate pattern. The leaves are delicate and feathery, and the plant also bears fragrant yellow flowers. Davana is aromatic with an herbaceous, fruity, and slightly woody scent with sweet notes of vanilla. The leaves and flowers yield an essential oil known as oil of Davana. Davana blossoms are offered to Shiva , the God of Transformation, by the faithful, and decorate his altar throughout the day.
Uses of Davana oil
- Davana oil is used in making perfumes of sweet and fruity fragrances.
- When applied on the skin, Davana is said to smell differently on different persons. This peculiar property is highly valued in high class perfumery to create fragrances with truly individual notes.
- Davana leaves and stalks are used in making bouquets, garlands, fresh or dry flower arrangements.
Drumstick tree seed – NEW OPTIONS!
Drumstick pods and leaves are used in Indian dishes such as sambar and avial. In most of the U.S., it can be raised as a container plant, and will start producing pods by the eleventh month. In Florida, it can be grown outdoors south of Fort Myers as well as in Arizona and Southern California.. Nutritionally, the leaves are rich in Vitamin C , Vitamin A, calcium, protein and potassium. The bark of the tree has been used to treat abdominal discomfort, boils, cold, rheumatism and scorpion bites, while the leaves have been found effective for the treatment of hypertension and conjunctivitis .
We currently offer 3 varieties of Moringa seeds
- Dwarf Variety PKM1
- Dwarf Variety PKM2-more branching and fruit than PKM1
- Full sized Moringa tree var Shah Jahan
We recommend soaking the seed in warm water overnight before sowing 1/2 in deep.
Sweet Basil (Ocimum basilicum)
Persian Basil (Reyhan)
Persian Basil is a Middle Eastern type basil that has large silvery green leaves and a distinctive aroma of spicy citrus.Persian Basil is eaten raw usually with kebabs. It is used extensively in salads and cooked dishes as well. It is slower bolting than Italian sweet basil varieties. When it does blooms it makes an attractive cut-flower. 2015 AAS Winner.
Reyhan is the Farsi word for this variety of Basil.
Thai Basil- Siam Princess (Ocimum basilicum)
Lemon Basil (Ocimum americanum)
Dill (Anethum graveolens)
This is another herb which both the seed and the leaves (dill weed) are used. Renowned for its digestive qualities, it has been used to ease colic, reduce flatulence and diarrhea and aid digestion. The three foot plant germinate in 2 weeks and the lacy leaves can be harvested after the plant is 12 inches tall. The seeds form in about 2 months.
Flat Italian Parsley
Coriander-Leisure-BULK OPTIONS NOW AVAILABLE!
This seasoning herb is an annual plant, which grows very rapidly in mild climates.
If you plant coriander seeds from the grocery store it can go into flowers and seeds quickly in hot weather conditions, therefore always plant a variety that is slow to bolt such as Leisure. In Latin America and in the US the leaves and shoots are called “cilantro” the Spanish translation of coriander.
The fragrant young leaves and shoots are used as a seasoning green in stir-fry or soup. Dried leaves and matured seeds are also used as seasonings in Indian cooking.
Nigella seed -Kalonji
Cumin (Cuminum cyminum)
Cumin is one of the most typical Indian spices, especially in the South. The fruits are used as a whole, and are fried (frequently together with onion) or dry-roasted before usage. Legumes, especially lentils, are normally flavored by cumin fried in butter fat. Powdered, it is an important part of curry powder and of panch phoron.
Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum)
Fenugreek or methi, is an ancient spice, used for making pickles, sambar and the Bengali spice mixture panch phoron. Fenugreek leaves are an important spice in Indian cuisine and can be found in yeast bread called methi naan. Iran traditionally uses the leaves in a thick sauce called ghorme sabzi made from fresh or dried vegetables. Try mashing the leaves and sprinkling them over curries and dry vegetable dishes just before serving for an unforgettable flavor.
In folk medicine , fenugreek has been used to treat boils, inflammation of the cells and connective tissue, and tuberculosis.
Here are some anecdotal benfits of fenugreek:
- Balance cholesterol.
- Soothe upset stomach and digestive problems.
- Reduce menstrual cramps.
- Reduce appetite.
- Reduce fat mass.
- Maintain liver and kidney health.
- Soothe muscle pain.
- Reduce fever.
Black Nightshade – Manathakkali
Solanum nigrum – edible strain
The ripe berries and cooked leaves of this edible strain of black nightshade are used as food in Tamil Nadu.
The thoroughly boiled leaves are used like spinach . The ripe black berries are described as sweet and salty, with hints of liquorice and melon.
It is nutritious containing high levels of Vitamin C, as well as niacin, riboflavin, calcium, phosphorus, and iron. It is also used in herbal medicine, the leaves and berries can be eaten as a treatment for ulcers.
The leaves are also eaten in Greece, and Turkey and Indonesia, and the berries are turned into jam in South Africa.
Related to Peppers,Tomatoes and Eggplant, in Kannada it is known as kakki soppu, in Telugu Kamanchi chettu and in Hindi it is called Makoi.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has noted the potential of a compound ( Uttroside-B) isolated from the plant to treat liver cancer, thanks to the findings of a team of scientists at Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology (RGCB). The compound is also found to be effective in treating fatty liver.
Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)
Fennel seeds are a component of the Chinese five spice powder, as well as panch phoron and Malabar garam masala. Fennel is popular for meat dishes, but even more so for fish and sea food; its sweet taste also harmonizes with the earthy aroma of bread and gives pickles or vinegar a special flavor.
In many parts of India, roasted fennel fruits are consumed as mukhwas , an after-meal digestive and breath freshener, or candied as comfit .
Spices and Herbs
Spices and herbs are defined as plant derived substances that add flavor to any dish. It is difficult to distinguish between the two. Spices can come from the following plant parts: roots, rhizomes, stems, leaves, bark, flowers, fruits, and seeds. Herbs are typically thought of as non-woody plants.
It is not known when humans began to use the first herbs and spices as flavoring agents. Garlic and onions were documented as being used 4,500 years before present. Humans used spices to help preserve foods before refrigeration. Both were also used in religious ceremonies.
Spices and herbs have historical importance and were once the source of great power and wealth. Arab traders established early spice trading routes. The Greeks expanded the trade routes to the Mediterranean. The Roman Empire had great control and power with the spice trade. Seafaring nations like Portugal, Spain, Holland, and Britain entered the lucrative spice trade and fought many wars to retain power. As plantations of pepper, nutmeg, cinnamon, and other important spices were established on tropical islands, the spice monopolies were disbanded.
Saffron is the most costly of all herbs and spices.
Spices can come from all plant parts. The following lists the part of the plant that is the source of your favorite spice.
Common Spices Derived from Seeds
- Black Cumin
- Black pepper
- Brown mustard
- Cayenne pepper
- Celery seed
- Juniper berries
- Sichuan pepper
- Star anise
- Tabasco pepper
- White mustard
- White pepper
Common Spices Derived from Roots, Stems, Bark, Leaves, or Flowers
- Bay leaf
- Chinese keys
- Curry leaf
- Field mint
- French tarragon
- Garden nasturtium
- Lemon verbena
- Makrut lime
New World Spices
The new world has contributed only three significant spices: allspice, capsicum peppers, and vanilla. Allspice was among one of the few spice treasures presented by Columbus to the court of his sponsors.
Vanilla is from one of the largest flowering plant families, the orchid family. The fruit is responsible for the flavoring. Vanilla extract is made by chopping fermented beans and continually percolating an ethanol-water mixture over them to dissolve out the vanillin.
Spicy Fun Facts
- Black pepper once served as currency to pay salaries and bribes
- You can eat the flowers of garden nasturtium, very spicy but good!
- Cinnamon sticks are actually bark.
- Why is saffron the most costly of all herbs and spices? The reason for its high price is based upon the fact that saffron comes from the stigmas of a crocus, Crocus sativus. No other part of the plant is used.
Culinary herbs are used to enhance the flavor of dishes. Many of the flavorful herbs are in the mint family and the carrot family. Both of these families have the presence of volatile oils that are formed in specialized glands or ducts in the leaves and fruits.
Native North American plants that have been used as culinary herbs include:
- Wild mint
- California bay
- Wild onion
For More Information
– History & Special Collections, UCLA Louise M. Darling Biomedical Library
Native North American plants used as culinary herbs. From left: wild mint, right top: California bay, and right bottom: loveroot.
COOKING WITH SPICES AND SEEDS
Cooking with Spices and Seeds
Centuries ago, spices were the treasures of kings, as much cherished and sought after as gold. Today, you don’t have to sail the Seven Seas to find them-they’re available at your supermarket. What are spices, exactly? Most consist of the seeds, shells, buds, fruit or flower parts, bark or roots of plants that grow in the tropical regions of the world.
If you want to crush or blend the seeds of spices, use a mortar and pestle, spice grinder or small electric grinder. Some cooks like to toast spices and seeds because toasting intensifies the flavor. Spices that are good for toasting include cumin, coriander, fennel seed, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon sticks and mustard seed. To toast, spread a thin layer of spice or seed in an ungreased skillet, and shake or stir over low heat. Watch so they don’t burn! When the aroma really strengthens, take the skillet off the heat and pour out the spice or seed. Let it cool, then store in a container with a tight-fitting lid.
Tips for Seasoning Mixes
– Seasoning mixes and rubs are highly concentrated blends of dried herbs and spices that flavor the outside of the food as it cooks.
– Store seasoning mixes tightly covered in a cool, dry place for up to 6 months. After 6 months, they begin to lose their flavor or the flavor may actually change.
– Rubs, a dry or wet concentrated blend of spices, are a great way to give food more flavor than just sprinkling it with seasoning. Start by moistening poultry, meat or vegetables with a little vegetable or olive oil or even water. Then rub a seasoning or mix onto the food. Cook immediately, or for a more intense flavor, cover and refrigerate the food from 1 to 24 hours.
A mixture of dry or wet seasonings rubbed completely over meat, using your fingers, before cooking. Rubs traditionally were used for barbecued meats cooked in dug-out earth pits, where the pitmasters had their own “secret rub.” You can add a rub and immediately cook or grill the food or, for more flavor, cover and refrigerate about 1 hour.
Rubs may contain sugar or salt or even ground nuts. The “wet” seasonings get their name from added liquid, such as oil, mustard and reduced liquids such as wine, mixed with the dry seasonings and creating a paste.
You can easily mix together seasonings from your spice cabinet, or purchase ready-to-use rubs at the super-market. Rubs also can be used to flavor a wide range of dishes such as condiments, soups and stews.
From “Betty Crocker’s Complete Cookbook, Everything You Need to Know to Cook Today, 9th Edition.” Text Copyright 2000 General Mills, Inc. Used with permission of the publisher, Wiley Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
This COOKING WITH SPICES AND SEEDS recipe is from the Betty Crocker’s Cookbook, 9th Edition Cookbook. Download this Cookbook today.