Sri Lanka became known to the world for its spice farming activities many years ago. When the British came to the country, Sri Lankans were content busying themselves with what they love doing the most-growing and selling spices.
However, this did not stop even after the British took over the gardens meant for planting spices. They cultivated pepper and cinnamon. From these, Ceylon spices came into being. They are now currently the best-selling type of spices across the world.
True Ceylon Cinnamon
This is one of the most appealing spices available in the market. Ceylon cinnamon is the dried bark of Cinnamonum zealanicum tree. It is the best all over the world. It is used as a flavoring agent to most desserts and as a complement to most Indian food. It is at its best when used in tea, coffee, apple pie, poultry, fruits, and tea, and mixes well with all other spices, including cardamom, nutmeg, and cardamom, among others.
Also known as ‘Gam Miris’ in Sinhala, pepper has dominated the spice industry for ages. Statistics put pepper as second to cinnamon. There are two types of pepper products known: the black pepper and the white pepper. The latter is produced by removing the outer pericarp of the seed.
Unlike pepper produced in other countries, what is actually found in Sri Lanka is of top quality. It is richer in piperine, making it the best quality. It is available in various forms, including oil and oleoresin extraction, and for grinding. It is grown as a mixed crop in the intermediate and wet regions.
Another great product which contributes greatly to the Sri Lankan economy is clove. Cloves are the products of the dried unopened flower buds of the Eugenia caryophyllus tree. Cloves are mostly used for the preparation of food dishes. In France, England, and Netherlands, it is mixed with apple and cheese pie. However, many use it on bread, and Americans love it the most on ham.
The dried fruit of the cardamom plant is the product of commerce and referred to as ‘Queen of Spice’. Sri Lanka produces the light green spice varieties of cardamom. Abundant rainfall and temperatures of 10-260°C are required for the cardamom plant to thrive. An elevation of 600m is also necessary. Kegalle, Matale, and Kandy form the major growing areas of Cardamom in Sri Lanka.
Nutmeg and Mace
Introduction of these plants into Sri Lanka took place in the 19th century. The nutmeg plant grows to a height of about 20m. Although they are obtained from the same plant, the two are of different types of spices. Mace is the membrane that covers the shell of the seed, while nutmeg is the dried seed itself. Uses of these include the milk flavoring, savories, and baked products.
With the growing demand for natural spice products, Ceylon species are more valuable due to the quality of natural production. In addition to flavor, Ayurvedic values of Sri Lankan spice products are good for maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
According to statistics, more than half of Sri Lanka’s exports in terms of agriculture comprises of spices, essential oils, and allied products. All these condiment varieties are what make up the food additives that are used to season and provide flavor and aroma to most cuisines around the globe.