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The Vanilla Queen's Blog

July 19, 2009

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Sesame, Sesamum indicum, is a flowering annual plant with numerous wild cultivars in Africa, as well as some in India and Pakistan.  It is now

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Peanut, Arachis hypogaea, is not a nut but a legume.  However, as it is so universally used as a nut, and as most people refer

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Candlenut, Aleurites moluccanus, is native to the Indo-Malaysia region and was introduced in ancient times throughout the Pacific islands and into Asia.  It now grows

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Jatropha, curcus, is a member of the Euphorbiaceae family, a large group of shrubs and trees native to the Caribbean, Mexico and Central America.  It

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Souari, Caryocar nuciferum, is a large, elegant tree from Panama and Northern South America that produces a coconut-sized fruit with four nuts inside, surrounded by

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Macadamia, Macadamia integrifolia, and Macadamia tetraphylla, (also spelled macademia) are medium evergreen trees, growing to 25 – 30 feet.  They are members of the protea

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Cashew, Anacardium occidentale, is native to the tropical forests in Northeastern Brazil. The nut is actually a seed, but because it is attached to a

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Brazil Nut Fruit and Seeds

Brazil Nuts

Brazil Nut, Bertholletia excelsa, is native to Brazil, Venezuela, the Guianas, Eastern Columbia, Peru and Bolivia.  It grows in scattered forests along the banks of

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Turmeric, Curcuma longa, is a rhizome and member of the ginger family, Zingiberaceae.  It is native to tropical South Asia.  The plants are gathered annually

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Black Pepper

Black Pepper, Piper nigrum, comes from a flowering vine that produces a fruit containing a single seed.  The fruit, when dried and used as a

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Nutmeg and Mace

Nutmeg and Mace come from an evergreen tree, Myristica fragrans, which is indigenous to the Molucca Islands of Indonesia and is now also cultivated on

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Ginger and Galangal

Ginger, Zingiber officinale, is the underground stem or rhizome of the ginger plant, a lovely large-leafed plant with delicate white and pink flowerbuds that become

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Cloves, Syzygium aromaticum, Eugenia aromaticum or Eugenia caryophyllata, are the dried flower buds of trees in the Myrtaceae family.  The tree is native to Indonesia

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Cassia and Cinnamon

Cassia and Cinnamon are closely related trees native to Asia.  While they are often used interchangeably, their flavors are somewhat different.  As a result, I’ll

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Cardamom is a seed from pods produced by two varieties of the ginger family, Elettaria, known as green cardamom or true cardamom, and Amomum, commonly

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Annatto or achiote, comes from Bixa orellano, a tree native to the Americas.  While the tree is believed to have originated in Brazil, it spread

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Allspice is the fruit of the Pimenta dioica tree, native to southern Mexico, Central America and the Greater Antilles, and now grown in many tropical

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Sugars and Sweeteners

Sugar and Other Sweeteners Sugar cane, Saccharum, is comprised of a number of species of tall perennial grasses native to the tropical regions of South

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