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How to Make Home Made Natural Vanilla Extract

Vanilla – a love we’ve all been cherishing since childhood and a taste that has magically captivated our enchanted taste buds! Well, this means there is no need to tell you about how heavenly food with Vanilla tastes like but what if we tell you that you can simply make your own Vanilla……. yes…. at home!

What you could use Natural Vanilla extract for, are mainly:

- confectionary items such as cakes & puddings
- added to tea (a match made in heaven)
- added to coffee (the perfect combination of two natural aromas & tastes)

However you can just basically use Vanilla for anything as a substitute for sugar where it

- (if used as a substitute for sugar) can reduce high blood glucose levels
- treats inflammation
- has antidepressant effects hence treats depression and anxiety (home remedy since 17th century)
- is heart healthy
- is liver healthy

Apart from all that, the benefits of making your own extract of Natural Vanilla is that it’s

- 100% natural
- Stronger aroma
- Stronger taste
- Less processed

compared to Vanilla essence which is synthetic and has little or no vanillin (vanillin is the organic compound in vanilla beans responsible for it’s flavour!)

Depending on your preference there are two types of Natural Vanilla extractions you could choose from:

- Alcoholic Natural Vanilla extraction
- Non alcoholic Natural Vanilla extraction

Alcoholic Natural Vanilla Extract

Ingredients

- 5 -6 Natural Vanilla beans* (in the form of whole pods) (click here to purchase online)
- An alcohol (vodka/ bourbon/brandy/rum)

Preparation:

Step 1: Cut open the Vanilla beans in the middle to make a slit using a sharp knife lengthwise
Step 2: Place the strips of Vanilla beans in glass jars
Step 3: Pour 8 ounces of alcohol (preferably vodka) into the jar, submerge the beans, seal it with an air tight lid & shake it a few times
Step 4: Let the Vanilla beans infuse the alcohol for at “least” 8 weeks (the longer you keep it, the stronger the aroma gets so for optimal flavor: let it sit for 6 months and for the best outcome, 12+ months)

Remarks:

Yield – 1 of an 8 ounce cup (240ml)
Shake the jars once a week.
You can refill the jars with a little vodka as you wish.
You can keep using the extract by refilling vodka & replacing the old beans with fresh ones.
You can re-use the same Vanilla bean for several batches
Use Grade – A Vanilla Planifolia for best results. (click here to purchase online)

Non Alcoholic Extraction

Ingredients:

- 3 Natural Vanilla beans* (in the form of whole pods)
- Food-grade glycerin
- Water

Preparation:

Step 1: Cut open the Vanilla beans in the middle to make a slit using a sharp knife lengthwise
Step 2: Place the strips of Vanilla beans in glass jars
Step 3: Mix glycerin & water with 3:1 ratio and pour the mixture into the jars
Step 4: Let the Vanilla beans infuse the glycerin solution for at “least” 8 weeks

Remarks:

Since glycerin acts as a preservative so you should be able to keep this extract for 4 years.
Glycerin based extracts are sugar-free and gluten-free.

STORAGE INSTRUCTIONS:

Jars with either type of Natural Vanilla extract should be stored in a cool to moderate (room) temperature without direct sunlight. (so a closed kitchen cupboard would be ideal)

If you're someone who loves Natural Food, the Grade - A Gourmet Bourbon Vanilla Beans would fancy you as it gives a unique rich, dark, creamy flavour with an overwhelming buttery aroma.

For more information on Natural Vanilla Extraction and Online purchasing: contact the Leading Natural Vanilla Supplier in Sri Lanka. Kagroo Exports and Plantations Pvt Ltd*



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Thursday, 17 June 2021 10:04

Natural Vanilla Vs Artificial Vanilla



VANILLA… The best flavor for desserts…YUMMY!

Did you ever notice, "Where does the vanilla flavor come from?"

Vanilla is a widely used exotic flavor enhancer in most of the recent industries; food, beverage, pharmaceutical, and tobacco. Furthermore, after saffron, vanilla is the second most costly spice in the world. Are you aware that there are two varieties of vanilla called natural and artificial? Due to quality, price matters, and economically driven scams, natural and artificial versions of vanilla have been identified. Because the demand for cultivated vanilla far outstrips supply, fake vanilla tastes are utilized in the food sector in addition to natural vanilla. But which ones are the most effective? And, more importantly, does it make a difference in our baking or productions?

Natural Vanilla

'Vanilla Planifolia' is the scientific name for spice, which is native to Mexico and Central America. Vanillin is the major component of vanilla, and this component gives the vanilla its flavor and commercial worth. In Sri Lanka, natural vanilla is an important commercial crop, and high-quality vanilla beans with long pods are harvested. Natural vanilla is coming from the vanilla orchid, which produces a pod containing vanilla beans. Cured and fermented beans are crushed up and soaked in alcohol and water to make the liquid extract you see in the grocery stores. The natural vanilla flavor is made out of a variety of ingredients, including animal glycerin, propylene glycol (antifreeze), and a slew of other synthetic and/or hazardous compounds in the world. Whole pod, vanilla powder, vanilla extracts, vanilla sugar, are some forms of natural vanilla. Vanilla production is highly expensive, and harvesting takes place a couple of years after planting. Natural vanilla extract costs three to five times more than artificial vanilla preparations as a result of this. Thus, chemists have been creative with the materials they've utilized in the lab to create artificial vanillin.

Artificial Vanilla

This was a big breakthrough in the flavor industry since it meant that scientists could create artificial vanilla without utilizing the vanilla bean. Artificial vanilla extract is any vanilla extract created using a petrochemical process, and you may get bottles of this type of vanilla extract at your grocery shops. Vanillin is manufactured from inexpensive raw materials such guaiacol, eugenol, ferulic acid and rice bran or lignin, a natural polymer found in wood. On the other hand, petrochemicals are the most important precursor. Artificial vanilla has been linked to headaches and allergic reactions in the past. Consumption of this artificial chemical has no health benefits.

Natural and Artificial Vanilla

What about the difference in tastes? When it comes to baking, you're unlikely to notice the difference. “It can be noticeable if you just smell the bottle or taste it with a little bit of milk,” said Alyssa Bakke, a sensory scientist at Penn State University. But, according to detractors, the artificial stuff is either less tasty natural vanilla has a considerably fuller mouthfeel and aroma than ‘artificial vanilla,' which contains just synthetically created ‘vanillin.' Natural vanilla is ideal for sweets that require a strong vanilla flavor, such as ice cream or cupcake icing. Because the more complex flavor compounds will remain in the final product's flavor character. Serious bakers should use only real vanilla extract, and if you're really serious, actual vanilla beans or vanilla bean paste used for all baking purposes, according to cooking websites. Artificial vanilla is generally less expensive, but the health implications must be considered. It might not be worth it in baked items, where you're likely to miss the rich taste compounds of natural vanilla. Vanilla collected from nature is safer than vanilla synthesized artificially.

The bottom line is, ‘It’s very hard to find a mouth-watering sweet dish without ‘VANILLA’



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Thursday, 17 June 2021 06:18

Immunity Boosting Spices


Immunity is the ability to resist a particular infection or toxin by the action of specific antibodies or sensitized white blood cells. This immunity boosting has become one of the mostly discussing topics during this Covid-19 pandemic. The most common actions to achieve an immune boost are through our food and diet. As Sri Lankans we have a very good culture of incorporating different types of spices to our daily diet. So with this fact, we can look for the best spices which have a great power in improving our immunity against several diseases. Nutmeg, cinnamon, cardamom, coriander, clove, black pepper ,ginger ,fennel and garlic are some of the spices which are beneficial in this regards. Since all of us are looking for alternative natural ways to boost our immune systems, especially at this time, We can add these spices to smoothies, soups, stews ,baked goods and of course to our daily culinary to help keep our body healthy.

Nutmeg
This is a highly valued spice from a dark leaved evergreen tree cultivated mostly in Mathale, Kandy, Kegalle area. There are two spices derived from its fruit: nutmeg and mace. nutmeg is a slightly sweet ground spice used to flavour drinks, puddings, confectioneries, meats, sauces, baked goods etc. It contains powerful antioxidants which protect cells from damage caused by free radicals and also has anti-inflammatory properties which can help to prevent adverse health conditions such as arthritis, diabetes and heart disease. Nutmeg has strong antibacterial properties that can help boost the immune system. We can add a bit of nutmeg powder to our tea also. During this time when protecting our health is at an all-time high, it’s always handy to have a jar of nutmeg in your kitchen cupboard.

Cinnamon
Cinnamon comes from the inner tree bark of several evergreen trees and is often used to flavor cereals, drinks and baked goods, snack foods, tea, and traditional foods. This aromatic spice is a rich source of antioxidants like polyphenols and proanthocynidins which contribute in boosting our immune system against viral, bacterial and fungal infections. Also it help in reducing the chances of respiratory diseases and seasonal infections. Cinnamon is packed with valuable nutrients including Vitamins A, B6, C, E and K and when compared with other spices , it came out on top for protecting your body from free radicals. Adding cinnamon to your diet can also help to prevent heart disease, neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.We can also prepare tea by adding cinnamon to it as a daily practice.

Cardamom
Cardamom is a spice made from seed pods of various plants in the ginger family. They are spindle shaped and have a triangular cross section. This has an intense, slightly sweet flavor that some people compare to mint.it is a rich source of minerals and antioxidants that aid in blood detoxification and resolve digestive issues. The small pods are often used in curries and in Ayurvedic medicine to help prevent respiratory infections, coughs, colds and asthma due to its inclusion of vitamin C .

Coriander
The most popular spice for its well-known quality of immunity boosting these days. The health benefits of consuming coriander are many. The tiny seed helps to reduce blood pressure and can prevent cellular damage caused by free radicals. They also contain potent antioxidants which help to fight inflammation within the body. The compounds include terpinene,quercetin and tocopherols which may have anticancer,immune-boosting and neuroprotective effects.

Black pepper
This, the most traded spice in the world, was often referred to as ‘black gold’ as it was an expensive commodity only the wealthy could afford. Sri Lanka produces Ceylon pepper, a distinct variety of black pepper with a pungent flavor that is formed by the terroir of the country. Today, black pepper is frequently used to season pasta dishes, sandwiches, soups and even used in Ayurvedic oils. Including it in our daily diet can help boost our immunity. The health benefits are many, not only does it add delicious flavour to recipes, black pepper also protects your body against inflammation, respiratory infections, free radicals, premature ageing, certain cancers and heart disease.

Clove
Clove is a plant grown in parts of Asia and South America. They are the aromatic flower buds of clove tree. People also use its oil,leaves and stem for medicinal purposes. This is another spice that has incredible immunity boosting abilities. Clove contains a chemical called eugenol that help to decrease pain and fight against infections. This medicinal spice is used in many ayurvedic remedies for cough and cold and also works well to shield our body against infections. This can be used in our gravies, include it in making tea or flavoured hot water.

Ginger
Ginger is a flowering plant whose rhizome, ginger root or ginger is widely used as a spice. It is often used to flavour sweets, tea, wine, seafood, meat and vegetarian dishes and is bursting with nutritional value containing many Vitamin B numbers including B1, B2, B3, B5, B6 and B9. Ginger can fight flu symptoms and nausea, reduce muscular pain, it has anti-inflammatory benefits, plus it can treat chronic indigestion and lower blood sugar levels. Drinking ginger tea or fresh ginger juice can prove to be beneficial in keeping us strong during the flu season.

Fennel
Fennel derives from the carrot family, growing as part of a flowering plant in several Mediterranean regions. It’s often used in teas, salads and dipping sauces and its potent aniseed flavour makes it popular for use in curry recipes. Fresh fennel bulb is a good source of vitamin C, critical for immune health , tissue repair and collagen synthesis. Additionally Vitamin C acts as a potent antioxidant in your body, protecting against cellular damage caused by unstable molecules called free radicals. Also it contains Vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6 and has high nutritional values of calcium, iron, magnesium and manganese. It means that fennel can help with anemia, respiratory disorders and assist with boosting your immunity.

Turmeric
This is a well-known spice for its healing powers. It is a much popular spice in Sri Lankan culinary, in fact we use it in preparing almost every curry in our household in order to enhance flavor and colour. Turmeric contains a special substance called lipopolysaccharide, which acts as an antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal component and stimulate our immune system. This is a natural way to help boost the immune system by increasing the immunomodulating capacity of the body. So by adding some extra turmeric into our diet during flu season to help give our immune system a little boost. Turmeric is an anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogen, It not only boosts our immune system but it helps cleanse our lymphatic system.

Garlic
Garlic is a species in the onion genus, Allium. This is used widely as a flavouring agent in cooking, but it has also been used as a medicine throughout ancient and modern history. Some researchers suggest that raw garlic has the most benefits. But in some studies,they have said that both raw and cooked garlic can be much beneficial to our health. Whole garlic contains a compound called alliin. These compounds are said that they will boost the disease fighting response of some types of white blood cells in the body when they encounter viruses , such as the viruses that cause the common cold or flu .Garlic has also been used to treat different types of diseases like bronchitis, hypertension, liver disorders and diabetes etc



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Saturday, 14 November 2020 12:37

Five ways to use Ceylon Cinnamon


Spices are not only flavors, most of their components can make your life more healthy and tasty. People add spices to their day today food as a tradition, as a habit or as a medicine. But did you know that these spices are the core of many dishes and bakery items as well. Among all those awesome spices Ceylon Cinnamon or True Cinnamon is one of the key players in many dishes. Here are some few best ways where you can use Ceylon Cinnamon in day today life which you can take the maximum benefit of Cinnamon.

The Cinnamon most often found in Super markets is Cassia Cinnamon except in Sri Lanka. But mark my words, you can't compare this Cassia Cinnamon or Fake Cinnamon with Ceylon Cinnamon which also called true Cinnamon. The rich aroma and all the medicinal properties of True Cinnamon will provide your dishes a distinct flavor as well as healthy diet. Here are some ways which and why you can use Ceylon Cinnamon for a healthy life and a tasteful meal.

1. A healthy digestion with Cinnamon
High fiber content in Cinnamon helps you to maintain a better digestive health. Here you can use both Cinnamon Powder and Cinnamon Sticks for your evening tea or with some clean water. You can measure the amount of cinnamon you consume if you use Cinnamon Powder.

2. An answer for Cold and Flu
Cold and flu are the most common illnesses which hit us many times a year. But you can't let them to take your day-off from work. Cinnamon is a better medicine for it. Low coumarin content in Ceylon Cinnamon is ideal as a remedy for cold and flu. You can use Ceylon Cinnamon along with your diet, either to food items or with a beverage. As per your requirement you can use whole sticks, powder or extract. Also a cup of hot water mixed with cinnamon will also control your running nose.

3. As a good remedy for loose your weight
Ceylon Cinnamon helps the weight loss by lowering your cholesterol levels. Here are some ways to add Ceylon Cinnamon to your diet to help weight loss.
- Mix Cinnamon with some honey and lemon and consume daily.
- Take a cinnamon mixed cup of water during the day.
- Add some Cinnamon to your beverages such as coffee, juices or drinks.
- Add some cinnamon to your meal when cooking.
- When consuming oats or cereals add some cinnamon on them.

4. Cinnamon as a better Skin cure.
You can use Ceylon Cinnamon to glow your skin and makes you more youthful. Due to the antibacterial and anti-fungal qualities of Cinnamon, it aids in enhancing the complexion as well as removal of dead skin and restoring glow of your skin. All you need to do is make a simple scrub using sea salt, olive oil, almond oil, honey and finally Ceylon Cinnamon and use as usual. This will helps to improve your blood flow to the outer surface of your skin as well.

5. Moreover add more cinnamon to your diet because in one table spoon of Cinnamon there are four grams of fiber, zero fat and sugar, 68% of manganese and 8% calcium. So adding Cinnamon to your food can enhance the nutrition levels of the food you consume. Cinnamon will add a unique taste and an extra glamour to your meal for its distinct aroma. Let this grate Sri Lankan Spice to add an extra flavor to your meal while helping you to retain a healthy well-being.

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Tuesday, 10 November 2020 13:41

Spices and Health


Most of the spices are grown and used in South Asian Region of the world. Sri Lanka also plays a major role in spice cultivation and exporting to the market. As the topic above spices are directly combined with the good health of the people living in South Asian or most Asian countries. Growing immunity to controlling many diseases and health issues are good health benefits of these significant spices. Many spices have their own antimicrobial properties which provides resistance to battle against diseases. Also they help to keep our body warm in many occasions. Lets take few Sri Lankan Spices one by one.

- Cloves:
Many are aware that cloves are one of the best agent that provide relief to the problems related to our teeth and gums. But there are more. Cloves are rich in antioxidants and has antiviral and anti-inflammatory which helps to avoid cold, cough and fever. Also they help to loosen your mucus in the throat helping to cough it up.

- Ceylon Cinnamon :
Cinnamon has been used for traditional medicines from thousand years back by Ancient Ayurveda Medicines in Sri Lanka and many other Asian countries. It is an excellent cold reliever and helps to dry out dampness and warming of the body. Cinnamon is specially great for people who are suffering from high blood sugar. It gives a sweet taste to food without adding sugar, and many studies indicate it can help to lower blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes. Also cinnamon provides many heart healthy benefits such as reducing high blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels. However it not an replacement for a diabetes medication but it will be a helpful addition to a healthy lifestyle.

- Turmeric :
Turmeric is an a famous germ killing agent where people use in many occasions. It is a good home remedy for cold and flu, and repairing body cells. Turmeric is an anti-inflammatory antiseptic which helps to battle against cold and dry painful cough.

- Black Pepper:
Black pepper contains many nutrients like vitamin C, flavonoids, antioxidants and antibacterial properties, which acts as natural remedy for cough and cold along with a delightful spicy aroma. Drinking a cup of pepper tea in the morning or pepper with honey is the one of the best traditional medicine to prevent cold and related diseases. It fights dehydration of skin as well, keeping your skin baby soft in winter if consumed with hot water.



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Ceylon Cinnamon or True Cinnamon which are commercially cultivated, harvested and processed in Sri Lanka are the only source of True Cinnamon to the world spice market. Sri Lanka produces Ceylon Cinnamon by peeling off the thin bark of the tree C.zeylanicum of the Lauraceae family which is native to Sri Lanka and drying it while rolling them in to quills. Making quills is unique to Sri Lanka. Sri Lankan Cinnamon farmers produces few grades of Ceylon Cinnamon depending on few parameters which are given by the Department of Agriculture, Sri Lanka. These grades are mainly depend on their outer appearance, moisture content, length of a quill, diameter of a quill and foxing. And these grades have respective prices along with those quality parameters.

- Ceylon Cinnamon Grades:

- Alba:
Maximum diameter of a quill - 06 mm
Minimum number of 42 inch whole quills per kg - 45
% of rough quills per kg - None
Minimum length of quills in a bail - 200
Maximum % of single quality quills per bail - 01

- C00000 Special (C5Sp):
Maximum diameter of a quill - 06 mm
Minimum number of 42 inch whole quills per kg - 35
% of rough quills per kg - 10
Minimum length of quills in a bail - 200
Maximum % of single quality quills per bail - 01

- C00000 (C5):
Maximum diameter of a quill - 10 mm
Minimum number of 42 inch whole quills per kg - 31
% of rough quills per kg - 10

- C0000 (C4):
Maximum diameter of a quill - 13 mm
Minimum number of 42 inch whole quills per kg - 24
% of rough quills per kg - 10

- C000 (C3):
Maximum diameter of a quill - 16 mm
Minimum number of 42 inch whole quills per kg - 22
% of rough quills per kg - 15

- C00 (C2):
Maximum diameter of a quill - 17 mm
Minimum number of 42 inch whole quills per kg - 20
% of rough quills per kg - 20

- C0 (C1):
Maximum diameter of a quill - 19 mm
Minimum number of 42 inch whole quills per kg - 18
% of rough quills per kg - 25

- M00000 Special (M5sp):
Maximum diameter of a quill - 16 mm
Minimum number of 42 inch whole quills per kg - 22
% of rough quills per kg - 50
Minimum length of quills in a bail - 200
Maximum % of single quality quills per bail - 02

- M00000 (M5):
Maximum diameter of a quill - 16 mm
Minimum number of 42 inch whole quills per kg - 22
% of rough quills per kg - 60

- M0000 (M4):
Maximum diameter of a quill - 19 mm
Minimum number of 42 inch whole quills per kg - 18
% of rough quills per kg - 60

- H1:
Maximum diameter of a quill - 23 mm
Minimum number of 42 inch whole quills per kg - 11
% of rough quills per kg - 25
Minimum length of quills in a bail - 150
Maximum % of single quality quills per bail - 30

- H2:
Maximum diameter of a quill - 25 mm
Minimum number of 42 inch whole quills per kg - 09
% of rough quills per kg - 40

- H3:
Maximum diameter of a quill - 38 mm
Minimum number of 42 inch whole quills per kg - 07
% of rough quills per kg - 60

The availability of relevant grades will depend on the weather and many other conditions in Cinnamon growing areas in Sri Lanka.

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Wednesday, 21 October 2020 08:05

Sri Lankan Areca Nut


Areca nut is the seed of the fruit of ‘Areca catechu’, from the family of palms which is mainly grown in South Asian and Asian region as well as few other parts of the world. Areca nut is one of the main ingredients in widely used chewing products along with betel leaves in many Asian an Oceanic countries which runs back to thousand years as a tradition among those people in these regions. Moreover Areca nut is the fourth most common addiction around the globe after tobacco, alcohol and caffeine. Consumption of Areca nut is mainly seen in India, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Taiwan and many South Asian islands which has a clear bond with their culture, religions and tradition. It is believed that Sri Lanka is one of the native country for ‘Areca catechu L’ which has some significant factors varying from other Areca nuts from the same family.

Areca nut consists carbohydrates, fat, proteins, fiber, polyphenols (flavonols and tannins), alkaloids, and mineral matter as major compounds. Alkaloids are the main chemical compound in Areca nuts which provides their sensational flavors. Aflatoxin B1 (AFB1) is the main toxin in Areca nut which is one of the main factor when importing from country to another.

Areca nut is used as both fresh and dry form for human consumption mainly with betel leaves, tobacco and slaked lime ( calcium hydroxide - Ca(OH)2 ) according to consumer's choice. Also it is used in many religious activities in India and other South East Asian countries. Although Areca nut consumption has become a common behavioral pattern of many locals in above countries. Consumers chew them for hours which gives a hot stimulant sensation to the body and the brain which gives a high feeling. They chew them and saliva produced can be either swallowed or spat out.

When it comes to Sri Lankan Areca nut there is a huge demand for them from both foreign and local consumers due to it's authentic flavor and quality due to various chemical compositions. In Sri Lanka Areca nut is grown mainly in wet zone and partially in intermediate zone as well. Areca nut is not a commercially grown crop in Sri Lanka and now due to rising demand it has become a commercial crop among all other Minor Export Agriculture crops. The price of the Dried Areca nut fluctuates with the production throughout the year and with the government regulations as well. Usually farmers starts to make their harvest from late December to mid April in Sri Lanka which has a comparable dry season in the country that is favorable for drying Areca nuts to the best level. Sri Lankan dried Areca nuts has a average Moisture Content of 5 - 10% which is preferably better for both export and local production. Although we at KAgroo, we visit to our farmers and check every stock before purchasing and also we provide necessary technical information in order to provide a quality harvest for our end as well as for their end with a better income.



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Tuesday, 20 October 2020 13:16

True Cinnamon vs Cassia


Did you know that there are two kinds of Cinnamon in the world where one is healthy and true and other one is respectively unhealthy and fake?

Yes there are. True Cinnamon also known as Ceylon Cinnamon which is native to the South Asian island Sri Lanka is the one and only True Cinnamon in the world. And the fake cinnamon or it is called as Chinese Cinnamon or Cassia Cinnamon is the second one. These two varieties have identical features where we can identify Ceylon Cinnamon from Cassia Cinnamon easily.

In Sri Lanka, Ceylon Cinnamon is produced using the bark of the tender shoots of the plant ‘Cinnamomum verum’ which are mainly cultivated in South and Central region of the country. The thin bark is then dried in the sun and rolled together by hand into long "quills", which are later graded and cut into custom sizes. Cassia Cinnamon is produced using the bark of the plant ‘"Cinnamomim cassia’ which is mainly cultivated in Tropical Forests in Southern China. The strips of the inner bark are dried in the sun and curl up naturally forming thick shards. Identically Ceylon Cinnamon bark is thin and rolled using few dried barks to a quill where Cassia Cinnamon has a single curled bark when dried.

When it comes to the flavours True Cinnamon has a medium sweet taste, but rather it enhances the perception of sweetness in other ingredients. This makes it perfect for sweet bakes and desserts, and for drawing out sweet notes in savoury dishes. Cassia Cinnamon has a sweet, warming taste, but it is bitter and lacks the floral and citrus notes of True Cinnamon. Its deeper, spicier and has a less subtle flavor.

The absence of Coumarin in True Cinnamon and presence of Coumerin in Cassia is the main reason which emphasizes True Cinnamon is much healthier than Cassia Cinnamon. Coumarin is a flavouring substance which is contained in relatively high concentrations in Cassia Cinnamon. In especially sensitive persons, even comparatively small quantities of coumarin can cause temporary liver damages and increase the risk of cancer.

Also True Cinnamon sticks has a lighter brown and fragile appearance with a smooth texture and easy to snap or break while Cassia Cinnamon's bark is darker, thicker and more loosely coiled and harder to snap or break.

In the world market most of the ground cinnamon contains Cassia Cinnamon than True Cinnamon where True Cinnamon powder is majorly produced and exported from Sri Lanka.



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Thursday, 21 May 2020 12:17

Pepper - The Masterpiece of Spices


Pepper ‘Piper nigrum’ which belongs to family Piperaceae commonly called as the "King of Spices" is one of the most popular spice used in all over the world in making food dishes. Sri Lankan Pepper is known as the world’s best pepper when comparing to its quality and chemical features.

In Sri Lanka, pepper mainly cultivated in Low Country, Mid country Wet and Intermediate agro-climatic zones. Also the entire extent is about 30,000ha and the major districts which cultivate pepper are Matale, Kandy, Kegalle, Badulla, Ratnapura, Monaragala, Nuwara Eliya and Kurunegala. It is often grown either as a mono crop or as a mixed crop within the coconut and tea plantations using live and dead standards as support. Pepper is a perfect crop for home gardens where it is often trained on the prevailing tree species also. Although the origin of black pepper is believed to be Malabar Coast of India, Sri Lanka too is a home to variety of wild pepper types. When considering the large genetic variability of “Piper nigrum L” found in Sri Lanka and therefore the presence of pepper wild relatives, it's believed that Sri Lanka also an area which originated pepper. Some commercial black pepper varieties have been introduced to Sri Lankan farmers by Department of Export Agriculture since the existence of economic black pepper trade rising with the demand in many countries. High yielding pepper line called “Panniyur-1” from India and “Kuchin” from Malaysia was introduced within the 1970s but MB21 and GK 49 are high yielding and superior quality local selections which were popular among black pepper cultivators. At Harvesting correct stage of maturity is important to supply top quality peppercorns. Harvesting starts when one or two of the berries on the spike begin to show orange to red color and the berries are hard to the touch. The pungency of peppercorns increases throughout its maturity.

In Sri Lanka Black Pepper widely used as a "hot" cooking spice and seasoning. In Europe as well as Sri Lanka Black Pepper has been using as a food preservative and for adding heat and flavour to meats. Extracts of black pepper (Oleoresin and essential oil) are also extracted from whole berries, and have been used as both spice and flavoring agents within the food industry, Black pepper has become a kitchen staple in households worldwide with its subtle heat and bold flavor, it’s versatile and may enhance almost any savory dish. A dash of ground black pepper are often a tasty seasoning for cooked vegetables, pasta dishes, meat, fish, poultry, and lots of more. It also pairs well with other healthful seasonings, including turmeric, cardamom, cumin, garlic, and lemon peel. For an additional kick and a touch crunch, try coating tofu, fish, chicken, and other proteins with coarsely ground peppercorns and extra seasonings. This versatile flavor-enhancer is worth adding to daily cooking routine, as its bold flavor may be a welcome addition to almost any dish. Additionally it has industrial uses in perfumery and pharmaceutical industries.

Sri Lankan black pepper has higher Piperine content which conduces to fetch a premium price in international spice trade. Sri Lankan pepper, like other spices from the island, is well-known for its superior inherent properties. For instance, Sri Lankan pepper has higher Piperine content as above mentioned, which provides it a superior quality and pungency. Normally Piperine content in Sri Lankan black pepper is 2 to 6 times above in other countries. Also Black pepper is a good source of manganese and vitamin K, copper and dietary fiber, and a source of iron, chromium and calcium

Medicinal Properties of Pepper

Black pepper mainly rich in antioxidants which plays a main role as free radical scavengers. Free radicals are unstable molecules which will damage body cells. Those excess radical damage can cause major health problems. for instance, it's been linked to inflammation, premature aging, heart disease, and certain cancers. In order that as Black pepper rich in a plant compound Piperine, which have potent antioxidant properties may help prevent or delay the damaging effects of radicals and that they act as free radical scavengers then decrease the danger of disorder like cardiovascular diseases and cancers. Also it has anti-inflammatory properties. Means, it's going to effectively fight inflammation against chronic inflammations which may be an underlying factor in many conditions, like arthritis, heart condition, diabetes, and cancer. For example, in studies in rats with arthritis, treatment with Piperine resulted in less joint swelling and fewer blood markers of inflammation but, Piperine suppressed inflammation within the airways caused by asthma and seasonal allergies.

However, the anti-inflammatory effects of black pepper and Piperine haven't yet been studied extensively in people. Piperine has been shown to improve brain function in animal studies. In particular, it's demonstrated potential benefits for symptoms associated with degenerative brain conditions like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Also bioprine suspected as having cancer-fighting properties. Though no human trials are performed, test-tube studies found that Piperine slowed the replication of breast, prostate, and carcinoma cells and induced neoplastic cell death Another test-tube study observed that Piperine from black pepper was the foremost effective at enhancing the efficacy of traditional treatment for triple-negative carcinoma. Piperine has shown promising effects in laboratory studies for reversing multi-drug resistance in cancer cells.

What more, the compounds in black pepper may improve blood glucose control with improvements in insulin sensitivity and should lower cholesterol levels Black pepper extract has been studied for its potential to scale back cholesterol level. Additionally, black pepper and Piperine are believed to spice up the absorption of dietary supplements that have potential cholesterol-lowering effects like turmeric and red yeast rice

There are more, Black pepper may increase the bio-availability of the many nutrients like selenium, beta-carotene, curcumin and vitamins A and C also some beneficial plant compounds, like those found in tea and turmeric. That’s why it's always recommended to feature a pinch of black pepper in turmeric preparation and dishes to raised absorb curcumin. Also it's going to promote gut health. The makeup of your gut bacteria has been linked to immune function, mood, chronic diseases, and more. Preliminary research suggests that black pepper may increase the good bacteria in gut and It also stimulates appetite and helps the assembly of digestive enzymes within the pancreas it also accelerates the intestinal transit. Among the ailments that black pepper was administered to patients who are suffering from diarrhea, constipation, arthritis, insect bites, and pulmonary and cardiovascular troubles. Also it can be often use as pain reliever. Though it's yet to be studied in humans, studies in rodents suggest that the Piperine in black pepper could also be a natural pain reliever too.

Black pepper extract, containing Bioperine has been used extensively in Ayurvedic medicine to treat fevers, digestive disorders, urinary difficulties, rheumatism, neuralgia and boils warming spice consistent with Ayurveda. It is often utilized in combination with other spices, because its component Piperine increases. In C.T.M (Chinese Traditional Medicine) pepper is described as a spice capable of warming the body, wont to dissipate cold and melt phlegm. together with other warming spices like ginger and cinnamon it are often utilized in infusions to fight cold and flu.




Written by :
Ms. R M O Kavindya Bandara,
BSc in Food Science and Nutrition Sp (Reading),
Wayamba University of Sri Lanka.

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Sunday, 10 May 2020 14:18

Moringa


What is Moringa?

Moringa ‘Moringa oleifera’ is considered the plant with most nutrients in the world and called as the Miracle Tree. Unlike any other plant, it contains almost every nutrient such as Calcium, Iron, Vitamins and 18 varieties of Amino Acids. It is often called as the "Miracle Tree" by many researchers due to the innumerable benefits it provides.

Nutritional properties of Moringa contains mainly in the leaves. The leaves are harvested, dried and ground into a very fine water soluble Powder that is bright green in colour. Moringa Leaf Powder contain the following nutrients in extensive amounts and as per researchers Moringa Leaf Powder contain 90 Nutrients and 46 Antioxidant.
Protein
Fat
Carbohydrate
Fiber
Minerals
Calcium
Magnesium
Phosphorous
Potassium
Copper
Iron
Sulphur
Oxalic Acid
Vitamin A – B Carotene
Vitamin B – Choline
Vitamin B1 – Thiamin
Vitamin B2 – Riboflavin
Vitamin B3 – Nicotinic Acid
Vitamin E – Tocopherol Acetate
Arginine
Histidine
Lysine
Tryptophan
Phenylanaline
Methionine
Threonine
Leucine
Isoleucine
Valine

It is said that Moringa Leaf Powder provides 4 times the Potassium of Banana, 4 times the Fiber of Oats, 14 times the Calcium of Milk, 9 times the Iron of Spinach, 2 times the Vitamin A of Carrot, 2 times the Protein of Yogurt.

Health benefits of Moringa Leaf Powder
Protecting and nourishing Skin and Hair (Protein, Hydrating and Detoxifying Elements)
Treating Edema (Anti-Inflammatory Properties)
Protecting the Liver
Preventing and Treating Cancer (Niazimicin)
Treating Stomach Disorders (Vitamin B)
Fighting against Bacterial Diseases (Antibacterial, Antifungal and Antimicrobial Properties)
Keep Bones Healthy and Strong (Calcium and Phosphorous)
Reduce Mood Disorders
Enhancing Cardiovascular System (Antioxidant Elements)
Speeding the Wound Healing
Reducing Diabetes
Reducing Asthma
Reducing Kidney Disorders (Antioxidant Elements)
Reducing High Blood Pressure (Isothiocyanate and Niaziminin)
Improving Eye Health

Due to its Nutritional properties and Health benefits, Moringa Powder is used in a wide range of products from the Dietary Supplements to the Smoothie Mixes worldwide.

Moringa Cultivation
Moringa is grown mainly in the tropical climates. Since Sri Lanka is close to the Equator, Moringa has been cultivating domestically in Sri Lanka for many centuries. Moringa grows in a wide variety of soils and is highly resistant to drought makes it easier to cultivate even in the dry zone. Moringa tree grows extremely fast and generally reaches a height of 4 - 10 m within a short period of time.

Moringa Traditional Usage
Moringa is used in many dishes and for medicinal purposesin Sri Lanka. Moringa Drumstick is commonly used for preparing the Drumstick Curry. While Moringa Leaf is added to Prawns and Cuttlefish dishes to reduce the heat. Moringa Bark is used for preparing the Sri Lankan style Pickle. Moreover, Moringa Bark is used in Indigenous Sri Lankan Medicine to cure Indigestion and other Stomach Disorders.

Moringa Modern Usage
Moringa Leaf Powder is considered the best way to integrate this magical nutritional pack into your diet. Moringa leaf powder can be added to your savoury dishes such as roast vegetables, potatoes and meat dishes, but it is also making a great addition to smoothies and biscuits. Also it can be added to Yoghurt or Milk, Infusions and Teas.
Also, you can buy the Cellulose Capsules filled with the Moringa Leaf Powder which is the most easiest way to add this miracle leaf to your life as a dietary supplement.

How Moringa Leaf Powder is Made?
Process begins with the harvesting of the leaves from the tree. Then they are delicately dried at low temperatures. After the leaves have been dried , they are ground into a fine bright green powder that is neither too light nor too dark. The powder must be very fine and contain no stems. It has a fairly strong rich nutty smell and a bitter and slightly sweet flavor. High quality Moringa Leaf Powder must fully dissolve in water without leaving any sediment.



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We at KAgroo, are focusing on producing and exporting highest quality Spices, Herbs, Essential Oils, Oleoresins and Other Value Added Products.

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