Poppy seeds are obtained from the poppy plants. Their scientific name is papaver somniferum. Poppy plant is a biennial herb of East Mediterranean and Asia Minor origin belonging to the Papaveraceae family, in the genus: Papaver. The taste of poppy seeds is nutty and pleasant.
The seeds, indeed, are very safe to use as food and contain negligible quantities of toxic alkaloids of the opium poppy.
The health benefits of poppy seeds are
Aids in the prevention of heart disorders.
Poppy seeds contains a considerable amount of linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid that offer protection against heart disease.
Supports bone maintenance and development.
Iron and phosphorus is found in poppy seeds which helps in the maintenance of muscles and bones.
Prevents constipation and other digestive problems.
Poppy seeds have high amounts of dietary fiber, which aids the digestive system in metabolizing and smoothly processing ingested food, preventing constipation and other digestive problems.
Enhances brain function.
Poppy seeds contain iron and magnesium which helps in maintaining brain function and regulates development of neurons.They also aid in the production of neurotransmitters.
Assists in red blood cell production.
The abundance of copper and iron in poppy seeds improves red blood cell formation, which helps in the prevention of anemia and other blood-related conditions.
Poppy seeds can be eaten at any time if day. It goes well with everything.
Uses of poppy seeds
Helps deal with sleeplessness.
Taking a teaspoon of poppy seed oil before going to bed helps to ease the symptoms of insomnia by promoting relaxation.
A topical solution for eczema and inflammation
. Poppy seeds have anti-inflammatory compounds that may help reduce itchiness. Make a thick paste by pounding the seeds and then adding a few drops of lime juice. Apply this solution to the affected area to ease skin conditions.
A skin moisturizer.
Grind some seeds and add some milk to make a paste. For dry skin, add honey. Apply it to your face and let it sit for about 10 minutes, then rinse.
Dandruff treatment. Poppy seeds can be used for the treatment of dandruff. Mix soaked poppy seeds with hung curd and a teaspoon of white pepper and apply to your scalp. Leave for about an hour and rinse off.
How to buy and store poppy seeds
Buy good quality whole fresh seeds from the authentic store. Store seeds poppy in cool, dry, dark place, in airtight containers where they will stay fresh for up to six months.
Ways to use poppy seeds
Here are some serving methods:
- Poppy, in general, is used either in the form of whole seeds, ground or as thick or thin paste in recipes.
- In India and Pakistan where its seeds popular as “khus khus,” gently fried poppy ground in a mixer to prepare a thin paste which then added as a thickening agent in dips, curries and sweet dishes.
- In South India, poppy seed milk is used to prepare sweet recipe popular as kuskus payasam with added milk, coconut milk, cardamom, raisins, and sugar.
- In Central Europe, especially in Austria and Hungary, the seeds are used in s a popular sweet pastry dish like Strudel and Germknodel.
- The seeds widely employed in confectionery like stuffing, rolls, bagels, sweet bread, biscuits, and cakes.
Season in which poppy seeds are available
Poppy seeds are available in the month of april.
How to make potato curry in almond and poppy seeds gravy recipe
5 – Potatoes, medium size, boiled
1 – Onion, finely chopped
Green chillies – as per taste
10 – Curry leaves
1 Tsp – Panch phoran or Cumin seed
1 – Tomato, large , diced
1 tsp – Turmeric powder
1 Tbsp – Coriander powder
1 Tsp – Curry Powder
1 Tsp – Pepper Powder
1 Tsp – Paprika powder
Oil for cooking
Salt as per taste
Almond and poppy seed paste. (Grind to a fine paste, equal amounts of Almond and poppy seeds. Use a mixer or food processor and add just a little water.)
Heat 2 Tbsp of oil in a pan, splutter the panch phoran (which is mixture of several seeds) or just the cumin seeds.
Add the chillies and onion, saute for 1 minute.
Add the tomatoes and fry for 1 minute.
Prepare the spice paste by mixing the given spices with water. Fry this spice paste until oil separates from it. (Separation of oil from tomato or masala (spices) is the indication that masala is done.)
Add potato and salt, mix well and coat with the spices.
Now Add 1/2 cup of water and let it simmer for 1 to 2 minutes on medium heat.
(At this point, the curry is almost ready. If you do not wish to add the almond and poppy seed paste you can simply serve the potato curry like this. However, adding this paste enhances the taste of the curry and also helps in adding weight to the gravy.)
After adding the almond and poppy seed paste, cook on low heat for a minute or two.
Adjust the seasoning.
Serve hot with any kind of bread or rice.
How to make aloo pasto
1 cup Poppy seeds
2 Potatoes (Aloo), diced
1 Onion , sliced (optional)
1 teaspoon Kalonji (Onion Nigella Seeds)
2 Green Chillies, slit
2 tablespoons Cooking oil
2 tablespoons Mustard oil
1/2 teaspoon Turmeric powder (Haldi)
Salt, to taste
2 tablespoons Coriander (Dhania) Leaves , chopped
To prepare Aloo Posto (Potatoes in Poppy Seed Paste), get prep with all the ingredients and start by soaking khus khus in enough water for 15-20 minutes.
Grind soaked khus khus to make a fine paste and keep aside.
Heat vegetable oil and mustard oil together in a Wok/Kadai (You can use any of them either).
Add kalonji and wait till it crackles.
Now add sliced onions if using, and then the green chilies. Sauté for a while and add potatoes and fry.
After a while, add turmeric powder and mix well. Cook till potatoes start to soften.
Add the khus khus paste and a little water, stir, and season with salt.
Mix well and close the lid. Cook in low flame till khus khus thickens.
Add finely chopped coriander and turn off the gas.
Serve Aloo Posto hot with Rice, Bengali Luchi and Phalguni dal with a dash of lemon juice.
There are no side effects of poppy seeds have been found. The only risk is for sports people.
Sports personnel, however, need to keep in mind that they may test false positive when consumed food items containing poppy seeds for banned opiate substances like morphine, codeine, etc. However, these compounds may not be high enough to produce narcotic drug side effects.
Fun facts about poppy seeds
- The use of opium poppies goes back to Sumerian ancient civilization, which recorded their use in the form of images.
- Enormous poppy fields feature in both the film and book version of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz – a chapter in the book itself is even entitled ‘The Deadly Poppy Field’
- Major John McCrae’s poem, In Flanders Fields, was supposedly written on the evening of the 2 May, 1915, during the Second Battle of Ypres, in memory of his friend, Alexis Helmer
- The poppy’s use in medicine was reworked in George R.R.Martin’s Game of Thrones – where a medicine entitled ‘milk of the poppy’ is used.
- Poppies bloom from mid-June right through to October.
- Persian literature cites red corn poppies as the flower of love.
- Poppies are frequently found weeds on agricultural land, however they were welcomed as they proved the soil was fertile.
- Opium poppies are grown commercially in Berkshire, Dorset, Hampshire, Oxfordshire, Lincolnshire and Wiltshire for use in medical opiates such as morphine
- Poppy seeds can remain active in the soil for 8 years.
- Main different garden strains exist, such as Shirley poppy, Iceland poppy, California poppy, Himalayan and Welsh.
- Poppies are featured on the back of Canadian $20 notes
- Poppy seeds do contain opium alkaloids, meaning that if poppy seeds are ingested, in the most innocent of ways, it can give false readings during a drugs test. As a result, people travelling on planes between countries are advised not to carry poppy seeds, and in Singapore they are classified as ‘prohibited goods’.
- Average seed numbers per plant can range from 10,000 to 60,000.
- Opium poppies feature on the Royal College of Anaesthetists coat of arms.