Poppy seed

Poppy seed

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From
Encyclopedia of Food and Cookery

The tiny seed of a poppy plant, used a lot in European and Asian cooking. Although the plant belongs to the same family as the opium poppy, it is non-narcotic but does have some medicinal value – an infusion is said to relieve the pain of toothache.

Poppy seeds are often sprinkled on bread, rolls and savoury biscuits before baking, and baking enhances their nutty flavour. In central European countries, such as Austria and Hungary, poppy seeds are combined with sugar and raisins, peel or spice to make a strudel filling. For cakes, they may either be cooked in milk until soft or ground into a sort of flour.

The best poppy seeds are said to come from Holland, and are slate-blue in colour. In some countries, poppy seeds are crushed for their oil (they contain about 50% oil), which may be used as salad oil.

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