Country Profile of the Month: Turkey
I find the country of Turkey fascinating. So much of world history has taken place here.
Some of their most basic plant foods include: chickpeas, wheat, lentils, legumes and other vegetables for seasoning, such as onions, tomatoes and green peppers. In the Aegean part of Turkey, olives and artichokes are grown. Spices and herbs such as allspice, dill, oregano and mint are common seasonings, as well as, cumin, sumac powder, oregano, hot pepper flakes and cinnamon.
Important Plants from Turkey:
Capers – unripened flower buds from a prickly perennial plant grown mainly in the middle east. They are generally pickled in a salty brine and add a salty sour flavor to many dishes of Mediterranean cuisine.
Peppermint – we all know the flavor of peppermint from gums, teas, ice cream and lots of other foods. Peppermint oil is used as an anti-microbial, to alleviate headaches when the oil is inhaled and to treat coughs and colds.
Fennel – has a similar flavor to anise, but not of the same plant. It has anti-microbial properties and is used to treat stomach ailments.
Sage – grown in arid areas of the world. Used as an antiseptic and astringent. Beautiful fragrance and used topically for insect bites and burns.
Liquorice – used in many products for flavoring: tobacco, candy etc. It is used in Oriental medicine for stomach ailments, anti-stress, and respiratory problems.
As you can see, all of these plants have qualities to help aid digestion, so the more herbs we cook with the better! Enjoy!
Here’s Anthony Bourdain in Turkey: