Widely popular Indonesian spices in the world
The Spice Islands that Columbus was looking for were the Moluccas (or Maluku or Moluccan). At that time nutmeg and cloves were worth more than gold. Here are the top three most wanted spices, back then until now.
Cloves are the dried, unopened flower buds of the cenkeh (clove tree). Cloves is grown primarily in Indonesia, Zanzibar and the West Indies. The word “cloves” is derived from the French word for nail, chou , a reference to the cloves shape. Clove is strongly aromatic and sweetly which are used as a flavoring and scent for wines, chewing gum, perfumes, toothpaste and Indonesian cigarettes. Cloves are a key ingredient in Worcestershire sauce. In the past, they were prescribed as cure for toothache, bad breath and a low sex drive. Cloves originated from Ternate, Tidore and Bacan, Indonesian islands in the Moluccas. The Dutch cultivated cloves trees on the Molucca Island of Ambon and had a monopoly on the trade until the French introduced them to Zanzibar and the neighboring Pemba.
Indonesia is the world’s largest producers of cloves. Nearly all the cloves produced there are purchased domestically to produce kreteks (clove cigarettes). They are also cultivated in Brazil, the West Indies, Mauritius, Madagascar, India, Sri Lanka, Zanzibar and Pemba in Tanzania and Malaysia.
Nutmeg tree Nutmeg is the bright red and black kernel (seed) of a yellow, edible, apricot-like fruit from the nutmeg tree, a large evergreen, native to the Moluccas. The “filmy” red membrane of fruit that coats the nut is the source of mace, another spice which has a flavor quite different from nutmeg. The nutmeg kernel is an unreal-looking red color that looks hand painted.
Nutmeg itself is poisonous. Only a small amount of it should be eaten. The flavor and fragrance comes from myristica, a mild, poisonous narcotic. Other chemicals are similar to those found in the rave drug ecstacy. Nutmeg has historically been a hypnotic agent. Some people take it to get high. Large amounts can induce hallucinations, epileptic-style seizures and even death.
In the West, nutmeg it is grated and used as a flavoring in sweet, spicy dishes, fruit cakes, seafood sauces and liqueurs and is key ingredient for mulled wines and Christmas eggnog. In the Middle East, Iran and northern India it is used in delicately flavored meat dishes. The Chinese use it to preserve sausage. The Japanese put it in fish curry. The Dutch sprinkle it on mashed potatoes. Germans add it to sauerkraut. Funfact: Nutmeg is believed to be the secret ingredient in Coca Cola, which is said to be the world’s largest consumer of nutmeg. Nutmeg favored cordials consumed in Indonesia taste like Coca Cola without the fizz.
Cinnamon is the inner bark of a tropical evergreen tree. It has been known since ancient times. In ancient Egypt it was used as a medicine, a flavoring for beverages and as a cavity filler in mummies. In ancient Rome it was valued more than gold. Nero reportedly burned a year’s supply at his wife’s funeral to express the extent of his grief. In the Middle Ages, it was used as a flavoring in a variety of dishes, including mince pie, which is still eaten today.
Cinnamon varieties Cinnamon was one of the spices sought by early European explorers to Asia. Columbus was looking for it when he discovered America. Cinnamon has a sweet, woody aroma. In Europe and the United States cinnamon is used mainly in desert dishes or added to bread and other bakery items. In India, it is an ingredient in some curries, rices dishes and is used as flavoring for tea. In the Middle East it used as a flavoring for lamb, tangines and stuffed eggplants. Also, cinnamon is rumored to be the secret ingredient in Coca Cola.