More Spices

 

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Artisan Black pepper 

A riddle authored by Saint Aldhelm

 I am black on the outside, clad in a wrinkled cover, yet within I bear a burning marrow.
I season delicacies, the banquets of kings, and the luxuries of the table, both the sauces and the tenderized meats of the kitchen.
But you will find in me no quality of any worth, unless your bowels have been rattled by my gleaming marrow

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Annatto 

Have you heard of annatto? It is a red plant extract that is used to color food, textiles and even body care products. Annatto comes from achiote shrub seeds, and is mainly used as a red food coloring. Achiote seeds have been used by tribes for centuries. It has many health benefits, which include reducing acid, killing bacteria, fighting free radicals, and lowering blood pressure. Traditionally, the crushed seeds of the achiote shrub are soaked in water. Ancient Mayans used it to color food. The Piura tribe makes a tea with it that is used topically to treat skin conditions. 

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Vanilla (Coming in 2020)

Mrs. Rebecca Northen's book. Home Orchid Growing, states that there is a gimmick to pollinating Vanilla flowers. Quoting from her book - "Hand pollination was a mystery. Placing the pollen on what appeared to be the stigma produced no results. Finally, a Creole worker discovered that the stigma was covered by a shield, which had to be lifted in order to place the pollen on the stigma. After pollination, the shield snaps back into place."  Natural pollination yields few beans, so each orchid flower needs to be hand polinated to give the greatest yield possible.