POPPY SEEDS / POSTODANA / KHUSH-KHUSH
Poppy seed is an oilseed obtained from the opium poppy (Papaver somniferum). The tiny kidney-shaped seeds have been harvested from dried seed pods by various civilizations for thousands of years. The seeds are used, whole or ground, as an ingredient in many foods, and they are pressed to yield poppyseed oil.
The Sumerians already grew them; and the seed is mentioned in ancient medical texts from many civilizations. For instance, the Egyptian papyrus scroll named Ebers Papyrus, written c. 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. Poppy seeds have long been used as a folk remedy to aid sleeping, promote fertility and wealth, and even to provide supposed magical powers of invisibility.
Poppy seeds are less than a millimeter in length, and minute: it takes 3,300 poppy seeds to make up a gram, and a pound contains between 1 and 2 million seeds. The primary flavor compound is 2-Pentylfuran.
To some extent harvesting for poppy seeds is in conflict with harvesting for opium. Poppy seeds of superior quality are harvested when they are ripe, after the seed pod has dried. Traditionally, opium is harvested while the seed pods are green and their latex is abundant, but the seeds have just begun to grow.
The seeds of other poppy types are not eaten, but they are cultivated for the flowers they produce. Annual and biennial poppies are considered a good choice to cultivate from seed as they are not difficult to propagate by this method, and can be put directly in the ground in January. The California poppy (Eschscholzia californica), for example, is a striking orange wildflower that grows in the Western and Northwestern United States.Read More