SPICES HAVE BEEN AROUND SINCE THE BEGINNING OF HISTORY. THIS WEEK WE ARE TAKING YOU BACK IN TIME TO LEARN THE HISTORY OF SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE SPICES
Black pepper is indigenous to a southwestern province of India, called Kerala. It has been sought after for centuries for its diverse properties and usages. Black pepper was known to be traded as early as 1000 B.C. by spice merchants. To keep the prices high, early spice merchants would make up fictitious stories about how the spice was obtained. Some of the stories include stealing the pepper from a vicious dragon. Black pepper’s value remained through the years and was even traded by Christopher Columbus. In fact, while in the West Indies, he filled the holds of his ships with what he thought to be black pepper. Unfortunately, when he got back to Spain, it was discovered to be just chili peppers.
Now you can find black pepper in our zesty Citrus Pepper Seasoning without having to fight any dragons.
Coriander’s history starts in the Anatolian region, an area found in modern day Turkey. From there it quickly spread to places like Egypt, India, southeastern Europe, and southern Russia. It was highly sought after for its medicinal properties. Early Hindu doctors suggested that coriander could aid in digestion, helped with insomnia, and ease the pain of child birth. Some even claimed that, in excess, it had narcotic properties. Coriander saw an incredibly large increase in popularity in early Greece and Rome. Scholars such as Hippocrates and Theophrastus took great interest in the spice and made several publications on it.
We can’t promise you’ll sleep better, but we can promise you’ll love our Thai Spice with coriander in it.
Cinnamon was one of the first spices to ever be traded in the world. It was also considered to be one of the most valuable spices, even said to be equal in value to gold. It was often given as a gift to kings and gods. In the 17th century, the Island of Ceylon was the top producer of cinnamon. More trees grew there than anywhere else in the world. The Dutch managed to take over that island in the same century. It was soon discovered that cinnamon trees were easily grown off the coast of India, and so the Dutch made sure burn down all those trees to keep their monopoly intact. Unfortunately for the Dutch, it was soon found that cinnamon trees can be grown in a variety of locations on the earth, and thus the Dutch monopoly of cinnamon ended.
We may not have a monopoly on cinnamon, but we do have the best Maple Cinnamon that you can find.
Cumin dates back to around 5000 years ago. It was a highly valued spice that was used by many civilizations. The Egyptians would use it in the mummification process of their pharaohs, and the Indians would use it for medicinal purposes. Its value was so high that there are references in the Bible to it being used for money. In the middle ages, it was popular because they thought it increased love and fidelity. Wives would give it to their husbands going off to war to keep them faithful.
It might not make you fall in love, but our Taco Seasoning with cumin will have you head over heels for more tacos.
Turmeric is one of the oldest spices known to man and has been used by Asian cultures for thousands of years for a variety of purposes. In Malaysia, people would make the turmeric into a paste and smear into onto a newborn baby’s stomach to ward off evil spirits. Other cultures would use it as a dye for their clothing. In India, they used it to clear up congestion as well as heal scrapes and bruises. Turmeric expansion began when the British colonized India. The British soldiers enjoyed the taste of it on their vegetables and began trading for it with Indian spice merchants.
Our Turmeric Yellow Curry doesn’t claim to ward off any evil spirits, but we haven’t seen any since we started using it.
- Westland, Pamela. The Encyclopedia of Spices. Marshall Cavendish, 1979.
- Butler, Stephanie. “Off the Spice Rack: The Story of Pepper.” History.com, A&E Television Networks, 17 Jan. 2013, www.history.com/news/off-the-spice-rack-the-story-of-pepper.
- “Coriander and Cilantro.” Coriander and Cilantro | Silk Routes, May 2013, iwp.uiowa.edu/silkroutes/coriander-and-cilantro.
- “The History of Cinnamon | MySpicer.com | Spices, Herbs & Blends.” MySpicer, 27 Feb. 2014, www.myspicer.com/history-of-cinnamon/.
- “Cumin in History.” InDepthInfo, www.indepthinfo.com/cumin/history.shtml.
- Beychok, Tina. “You've Already Heard of Turmeric, but It's History Is Critical for Health.” Chiropractic Economics, Chiropractic Economics, 24 Apr. 2018, www.chiroeco.com/history-of-turmeric/.