Saturday, June 14, 2008

African Adventure: Zanzibar's Spices

Zanzibar is known as the Spice Island and for a very reason, many of the spices you find on the supermarket shelf or that you might cook with come from Zanzibar. We went on a spice tour to see what the spices look like before they end up in a small jar on a spice rack! In fact, most of the spices grown on Zanzibar were not naturally found on the Island, but were brought there from elsewhere at various points in Zanzibar's history. You see Zanzibar was a major trading center between the near and far east and the west and spices were so highly prized that they were often used as currency to trade for various items so they were grown on the Island. These days the most important commercially grown spice for Zanzibar is cloves, both the actual flower and the clove oil extracted from the stem and flower. Take a look at some of the pictures below and see what the spices you use really look like before they are harvested. My favorite two are nutmeg and tumeric.

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