50 grams of the finest quality whole Poppy Seeds
Poppy seeds are less than a millimeter in length and are minute: it takes 3 300 poppy seeds to make up a gram and a pound contains between 1 and 2 million seeds. According to The Joy of Cooking “the most desirable come from Holland and are a slate-blue color.”
They are harvested from the opium poppy (Papaver somniferum) seed pods and have been cultivated by various civilizations. The Sumerians grew them and the seed is mentioned in ancient medical texts from many civilizations. For instance the Egyptian papyrus scroll named Ebers Papyrus written ca. 1550 BC lists poppy seed as a sedative. The Minoan civilization (approximately 2700 to 1450 BC) a Bronze Age civilization which arose on the island of Crete cultivated poppies for their seed. Since poppy seeds are relatively expensive they are sometimes mixed with the seeds of Amaranthus paniculatus which closely resemble poppy seeds.
Poppy seeds have long been used as a folk remedy to aid sleeping promote fertility and wealth and even to provide magical powers of invisibility.
Poppy seed is used as an ingredient in many foods. The tiny kidney-shaped seeds are used whole or ground often as a topping or filling in various baked goods.
The seeds of the poppy are widely used in and on many food items such as rusk bagels (like the Montreal-style bagel) bialys muffins and cakes for example sponge cake flavoring. Most scones fillings are spices including cinnamon and poppyseed. Poppy seeds are an ingredient in many baked goods. Across Europe buns and soft white bread pastries are often sprinkled on top with black and white poppy seeds.
In Lithuania and Eastern Slovakia a traditional meal is prepared for the Ku-c (Christmas Eve) dinner from the poppy seeds. They are ground and mixed with water; round yeast biscuits are soaked in the resulting poppy seed ‘milk’ and served cold.
In Central Europe poppy strudel is very popular especially during Christmas.
In the countries belonging to the former Austro-Hungarian Empire poppy seed pastries like traditional bejgli rolls are also called Mond Kuchen. These cakes predate Christianity; the poppy was dedicated to Diana the goddess of the moon. In German the seeds are still called mohn “moon seeds.” Recipes are handed down from generation to generation by women. “Moon cakes” are now usually made around Christmas time.
Poppy seeds can also be used like sesame seeds to make a bar of candy. The bars are made from boiled seeds mixed with sugar or with honey. This is especially common in the Balkans Greece and even in the cuisines of former Austro-Hungarian countries. Poppy seeds are also used as an ingredient in Clif Bar’s lemon poppyseed bar.
Fillings in pastries are usually made of finely ground poppy seeds mixed with butter or milk and sugar. Special poppy seed mills are available in Europe and elsewhere for this purpose or they can be ground by hand using a pestle and mortar. The ground filling is used in poppy seed rolls and some croissants and may be flavored with lemon or orange zest rum and vanilla with raisins heavy cream cinnamon and chopped blanched almonds or walnuts added. For sweet baked goods sometimes instead of sugar a tablespoon of jam or other sweet binding agent like syrup is substituted. The poppy seed for fillings are best when they are finely and freshly ground because this will make a big difference in the pastry fillings texture and taste. Some recipes for Mohnstriezel use poppy seed soaked in water for two hours or boiled in milk. A recipe for Ukrainian poppyseed cake recommends preparing the seeds by immersing in boiling water straining and soaking in milk overnight.
Poppy seeds are used in various German breads and desserts as well as in Polish cuisine. Like sesame seeds poppy seeds are often added to hamburger buns and make hot dog buns extra crunchy. Le Snak is a food product made by Uncle Toby’s of New Zealand consisting of three poppy-seed crackers and a portion of semi-solid cheese.
In India Iran and Turkey poppy seeds are known as Khaskhas or Has has (pronounced: “Hashhash” or in Persian: “Khash Khaash”) and is considered a highly nutritious food item mostly added in dough while baking bread and is recommended for pregnant women and new mothers. In Maharashtra India Khaskhas is used to garnish Anarsa a special sweet prepared during the festival of Diwali.
In Bengal (West Bengal and Bangladesh) white poppy seeds are called Posto. They are very popular and are used as the main ingredient in a variety of dishes. One of the most popular dishes is aloo posto (potato and poppy seeds) which consists of a large amount of ground poppy seeds cooked together with potatoes and made into a smooth rich product which is sometimes eaten with rice. There are many variants to this basic dish replacing or complementing the potatoes with such ingredients as onions (pnyaj posto) Ridged Luffa (jhinge posto) chicken (murgi posto) and possibly the most popular prawns (chingri posto). The cooked poppy seeds are sometimes served without any accompanying ingredients at all. The consistency of the dish may vary depending on local or household traditions. There are many other posto dishes. One dish involves grilling patties made from posto sometimes frying them (posto-r bora). Another dish involves simply mixing uncooked ground poppy seeds(kancha posto) with mustard oil chopped green chili peppers fresh onions and rice.
In Indian cuisine poppy seeds are used in many main dishes. Chachchari is a dish from Bengali cuisine and includes long strips of vegetables sometimes with the stalks of leafy greens added all lightly seasoned with spices like mustard or poppy seeds and flavored with a phoron. Oriya cuisine and Bengali cuisine includes posto a poppy seed paste cooked with assorted vegetables and/or potatoes. In the cuisine of Karnataka saaru is a gravy prepared with onions coconut tamarind cilantro and a combination of various spices (garlic ginger clove cinnamon poppy seeds star anise fennel chillies and coriander). Andhra cuisine also uses white poppy seeds called Gasaalu in Telugu in various recipes.
In American cuisine a thick sweet poppy seed vinaigrette is used for dressing fresh fruit or salad.
In Indian traditional medicine (Ayurveda) soaked poppy seeds are ground into a fine paste with milk and applied on the skin as a moisturizer.
The seeds themselves do not contain significant amounts of opiates. But a poppy tea consumed in some areas and often referred to as doda has been controversial for containing ground opium poppy plant especially the seed head and contains significant levels of opiates. Popular in some South Asian communities doda is created by grinding dried poppy husks or poppy seeds into a fine powder and then ingesting the mix with hot water or tea. In Canada doda is made from poppy plants brought in from Afghanistan and Arizona under the guise of legal purposes such as floral arrangements but is sold illegally from some meat markets.