Grains of Paradise are the seeds of the herb Aframomum melegueta and they have a flavor that is a bit like cardamom, with hints of pepper and ginger. They have been imported to Europe since ancient times, and were thought to be a substitute for black pepper in the Middle Ages, though this is not true.
Many recipes from medieval Europe call for Grains of Paradise, which are known as “Melegueta Pepper,” “Malaguetta Pepper,” or “Alligator Pepper.” The recipes use them whole or in powder form. The seeds are also used in brewing beer and cider, particularly those that are meant to be stored for long periods.
They are beginning to be used today by chefs who want their food to taste unique and exotic. If you cannot find Grains of Paradise at your local market, you can order them from our online store.
Grains of paradise are a spice from the ginger family, and their flavor is somewhat similar to cardamom. It’s sweet but with a strong black pepper bite. This makes for an interesting combination when cooking with grains of paradise.
In today’s age of industrialized food production, it can be difficult to find quality spices like grains of paradise. Fortunately, there are numerous online retailers who offer fresh spices at reasonable prices.
Grains of paradise are a spice that has a peppery flavor with hints of cardamom, coriander, ginger and rose. The seeds resemble black pepper but have fewer ridges and are smaller in diameter. They are sold pre-ground or as whole seeds. You can buy them at the grocery store if you know where to look.
In the United States, you may find grains of paradise in the spice aisle or in the bulk foods section of your local natural foods store or co-op. They are also available online.
Grains of paradise are available in whole or ground form. The taste of grains of paradise is described by some as being similar to that of cardamom and cubeb, but with a more pungent, almost biting aroma. Other descriptions include floral (similar to roses), peppery, and citrusy (especially the peel).
Grains of paradise are the African cousin to cardamom, and are used in a similar way in cooking and baking. The most common use for grains of paradise is as a spice for beer. Grains of paradise are also often used in fruit dishes, soups, and stews.
Grains of paradise have been used as a substitute for black pepper since at least the 14th century AD. They can be used whole or ground just like black pepper.
Grains of paradise are also commonly found in Creole cooking, particularly in Louisiana where they are used with unripe berries on gumbo filé powder (ground sassafras leaves).
Grains of Paradise are the seeds of the Aframomum melegueta plant. The plant is a member of the ginger family, and native to West Africa. The seeds have a taste and aroma similar to cardamom, with hints of pepper and citrus.
Grains of Paradise were once common in European kitchens, but fell out of favor due to competition from other spices, namely black pepper. They began to appear again in the late 1990’s as chefs rediscovered them.
Grains of paradise are a spice which have been used since the Middle Ages in Europe. They were originally imported from Africa, where they are still sold as a substitute for pepper. They are related to cardamom and ginger, with a flavor reminiscent of both.
The grains come from the outer shell of the seed of Aframomum melegueta, a plant native to tropical West Africa (Senegal to Cameroon). The grains grow around the seed, like cloves growing around an un-split nutmeg. They are the size of peppercorns, but oblong and mottled brown instead of round and black.
Like many spices, their flavor is mostly due to aromatic oils rather than any one chemical compound. The main oil in grains of paradise is called guineensine, but there are several others that contribute to the flavor. Guineensine is chemically related to capsaicin, the oil that makes chili peppers hot; perhaps this similarity explains why people sometimes describe grains of paradise as having a “peppery” or “hot” flavor too.
The name “grains of paradise” may have been inspired by Marco Polo’s description of his travels through Asia:
…the merchants bring thither … a very great quantity of
Grains of Paradise have been used by man for thousands of years. It is mentioned in the records of the early Egyptians, and was used by Greeks and Romans as a seasoning. The Arabs introduced it to the West. It was well known in medieval Europe, and was called the “Grains of Paradise”.
The botanical name of the plant is Aframomum melegueta. It is sometimes confused with grains of paradise (Aframomum granum-paradisi), which is a different species.
The plant has a ginger-like taste and was originally put into many drinks as an aphrodisiac. This spice is used mainly in Europe as a substitute for pepper.