Poppy Seed Pleasures: A Seed to Nosh On

When I think about poppy seeds memories of sharing the huge poppy seed muffin from Costco with my dad immediately comes to mind. But other than this fading childhood reflection, poppy seeds don’t frequent my mind or my plate as often as the wonder seed should. Poppy seeds are one of those containers that hang out in my spice section, but are rarely used.  However, the kidney shaped seed is such a simple and versatile ingredient to add to our eats for their flavor and surprising health benefits. Time to get poppy seedin’!

Small in size, the seeds of a poppy flower are actually an overlooked source of protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals. Among many nutrition highlights the miniscule seed is rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Plus the seeds also pack a punch of iodine, zinc, copper and magnesium making the itty bitty seeds a worthy component to add to your dishes. Guess that poppy seed bagel you splurged on had more than you bargained for!

Poppy seeds and their mild, nutty crunch are much more than the black confection you are likely envisioning in your mind at this exact second. In fact, poppy seeds come in more than one color and texture.

Blue Poppy Seeds: The common black seeds are actually known as “blue” seeds. They are nutty and have a slight sweetness that you are likely familiar with. Blue seeds are usually found in baked goods like breads, bagels and cakes.

White Poppy Seeds: The white poppy seed is often used in Indian or Middle Eastern cuisine to add thickness, texture and flavor to sauces. There is a slight flavor difference between the white and blue variety although some note that it is slightly less sweet. The major reason to choice the white option is because it has less impact on the color of the food when being used as a thickener whereas the common black seed is more eye-popping.

Poppy Seed Paste: The paste form of poppy seeds is often used for filling pastries and added with other ingredients such as honey, juice or milk. Poppy seeds can easily be ground by using a spice grinder (which will grind much more easily after toasting) or with a mortar and pestle.  You can also purchase poppy seed filling at your local store.

Poppy Seed Oil: Poppy seeds can be pressed to form poppy seed oil. Made from the small, dark seeds of the poppy flower, the rare oil has a subtle flavor that is great for dipping bread or being used in salad dressings.

How can you start incorporating all of these varieties into your menu? Get poppy seed savvy in the kitchen using the blue or white variety in these delectable recipes:

The poppy seed is much more alluring than you thought, right? Get this sexy seed on your plate!

How do you use poppy seeds? Share your recipes and thoughts on the forgotten seed below.

Feature image courtesy of hatebox via sxc.hu
White and Blue Poppy Seeds via
Poppy Flowers via 

 


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