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Jewish Recipes --> Spices and Ingredients -- > Poppy Seeds

Poppy Seeds are tiny nutty tasting, blue gray seeds inside capsules on Papaver somniferum, a yellowish brown opium plant indigenous to the Mediterranean.

Geographical Sources

Poppies are native to Mediterranean regions, India, China, Turkey, and Iran. Today, Holland and Canada are the main producers of poppy seeds.

Poppy Seed is produced in various countries including the Netherlands, Australia, Romania and Turkey. The Dutch variety, noted for its uniform slate blue color, is recognized as the best quality seed and comprises most imports into the United States.

Traditional Ethnic Uses

Poppy Seeds are used to flavor breads, cakes, rolls, and cookies in European and Middle Eastern cooking. In Turkey, they are often ground and used in desserts. In India, the seeds are ground and used to thicken sauces. The seeds are also used in noodle, fish, and vegetable dishes in Jewish, German, and Slavic cooking.

Taste and Aroma

Poppy Seeds have a slightly nutty aroma and taste.

History/Region of Origin

Since antiquity, poppies have symbolized honor. Women in second century Crete cultivated poppy plants for opium and Hippocrates suggested opium in medicine. Islamic and Arabian countries used opium as a medicine and narcotic in the sixth century. By the 17th century, Asians used the poppy plant as an opiate. Europeans began trafficking the drug in the 19th century, culminating in the Opium Wars, in which China lost control of the industry. The Greeks used the seeds as flavoring for breads in the second century, and medieval Europeans used them as a condiment with breads.


Poppy Seeds are a classic addition to buttered egg noodles, fruit salad dressings, and fragrant yeast breads. Poppy Seeds add nutty flavor and texture to cookies, cakes, breads, strudels, pastry crusts, and pancake and waffle batters.

Claim:   The consumption of poppy seeds used on bagels and muffins can produce positive results on drug screening tests.

Result:   True.

Recipes:
Nutrition Facts
Poppy seeds
Amount Per 1 tbsp (9 g)
Calories 46
% Daily Value*
Total fat 3.7 g 5%
Saturated fat 0.4 g 2%
Polyunsaturated fat 2.5 g
Monounsaturated fat 0.5 g
Trans fat 0 g
Cholesterol 0 mg 0%
Sodium 2 mg 0%
Potassium 63 mg 1%
Total Carbohydrate 2.5 g 0%
Dietary fiber 1.7 g 6%
Sugar 0.3 g
Protein 1.6 g 3%
Vitamin A 0% Vitamin C 0%
Calcium 12% Iron 4%
Vitamin B-6 0% Vitamin B-12 0%
Magnesium 7%
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie need

Sept 2005 - 2013 - Kosher Recipes - Kosher Cooking - Jewish Cooking - Jewish Recipes - Jewish Foods