Grain of paradise is a sharp type of pepper, loved in West African and Surinamese cuisine. The small seeds are contained in a seed box, embedded in a jelly-like fluid, which hardens after drying.
We supply paradise grain as a seed pod - to peel yourself - and in peeled form, the so-called grains (seeds).
This (pseudo) pepper from Cameroon (sometimes we get our paradise grain from Ghana) is a member of the ginger family (Zingiberaceae), and is also known by names such as Guinea pepper and malaguetta pepper. It has been an important spice in West African and Surinamese cuisine for centuries.
Like all gingers, the plant grows in a warm, moist environment and likes some shade. The rhizome (rhizome) grows just below the ground. The plant grows to about 2 meters high and has elongated and pointed leaves, like bamboo. Trumpet-like flowers form close to the ground, which seem to come straight out of the ground, but are on pedicels. They are 15 cm long and light purple and soon fall off to give way to large reddish-brown 'pods' (10 cm). These contain red-brown seeds in a jelly-like liquid, the paradise grain.
It takes three years before sown plants lead to a usable harvest. From then on four years in a row can be harvested. The pods are picked when ripe. A modest part is sold fresh in West Africa, the lion's share is left to dry in the sun.
Unique. It is not always possible to obtain this, but the paradise grain that we currently supply is not cultivated, but comes from wild harvesting.
Grain of paradise tastes stronger and is sharper than regular pepper due to the paradol ketone, an anti-oxidant that is only found in these peppers, and in ginger..
The corn of paradise is closely related to other African pepper plants, the Aframomum danielli, whose seeds are called mbongo or alligator pepper, and the very rare Aframomum angustifolium, the Madagascar cardamom. Paradise grain is hardly sold unpeeled, as a rule only the loose seeds are available, also with us.
Odor and taste
Grain of paradise is a spice scented with forest and wet wood. At first it tastes sharp, afterwards pleasant citrus notes and notes of cinnamon, cloves and cardamom (a distant relative) come to the fore. The aftertaste is pleasant. Some of the flavor and aroma essential oils in paradise corn are:
- -paradol, the dominant pungent substance, is also present in ginger,
- -gingerol, better known as the sharpness of ginger, upon drying converted into -shoagol, twice as sharp as gingerol
- β-caryophyllene, sweet spicy and woody
- linalyl acetate, responsible for a pleasant citrus, bergamot and lavender scent,
- sabinene, responsible for the woody, camphor-like flavor of black pepper and nutmeg, among others
- β-myrcene, spicy aroma, with notes of fruits (mango, grape, peach) and mint,
- α-caryophyllene (humulene), hops, as in beer and cannabis
- d-limonene, responsible for the citrus aromas,
To reach the grains, the skirt of the seed pod must be removed and the core of the fruit flattened. This has to be done with care, because it is important to keep the seeds as intact as possible, in order to be able to separate them from the other contents of the capsule.
The grains are ground just like peppercorns. A good ras el hanout contains paradise grain, which is called 'gouza sahraouia' in Morocco. In many versions of ras-el-hanout, it is now replaced by Asian cubeb pepper, or black pepper.Paradise grain is on the rise again, not only in African cuisines, but also in beers, spirits and European cuisine
Grain of paradise is delicious with lamb dishes, zucchini, potatoes and eggplant.
- 100% fruits of the Aframomum meleguetta (unpeeled)
- origin: Cameroon
- available in glass, pouch and test tube
- glass jar contains 75 grams
- stand-up pouches with a content of up to 30 to 500 grams
- available in 10 ml test tube
- larger quantities on request
- the jar is available in a tasteful gift box, consisting of a cube box filled with black tissue paper
- for an overview of our gift packaging, please refer to the category gift packaging
- grind the pepper at the last minute to maximize the aroma
- keep the pepper in a dark, dry and cool place
- keep your paradise grain in closed packaging
- preferably store in a dark, dry and cool place
- best before April 2024 (04/24)
- this best before date is an indication
Do you want to know what paradise corn tastes like?