My India Trip – Spices

Nutmeg pod on tree showing split pericap, mace and seed. (Photographs by Sebastian John)

Spices are synonymous with Kerala. Every household with little bit of land will have some sort of spice cultivation – black pepper, ginger, turmeric, cardamom, nutmeg, etc. My family is no different. Earlier we had a farm where we grew a variety of crops including spices. After we sold that, my parents have been concentrating some agriculture on two plots we own.

We have nutmeg, peppers, bananas, betel nut, lemon, beans, curry leaves, and the ubiquitous coconut tree.  But the star is nutmeg (Myristica fragrans). My parents have about 30-40 nutmeg trees. My mom sells some of the nutmeg and mace to the local market. She uses the pericap as compost, and sometimes makes wine out of it.

People also eat the pericap with salt as a snack, or make chutney with green chillies, coconut and onions.

Nutmeg with mace (red).
Nutmeg with mace (red).

dried mace
dried mace
Nutmeg pods. The nutmeg is inside in each pod.
Nutmeg on tree.

Other produce at my parents place –

Pepper pods on wine.

Three types of bananas (Musa paradisiaca)

Apple bananas (Musa acuminata)
Apple bananas (Musa acuminata)
Plantains (Nenthran pazham)
Plantains (Nenthran pazham)
Robusta banana
Robusta banana
papaya
papaya
juvenile coconut on trees
juvenile coconut on trees
spices at Broadway, Ernakulam
spices at Broadway, Ernakulam
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