October 8, 2020

Tea and Spices

by admin in Day Tours

Tea

Ceylon tea has become a household name and a trademark name for high- quality tea. Even after independence in 1970, the demand for Ceylon tea continued to grow, until the island became the largest exporter of tea. Ceylon tea is famed for its outstanding quality and superior, unparalleled taste and variety of tea. According to the 2017 EU Surveillance Report, Ceylon tea was marked as the cleanest tea in the market with regard to the pesticides and other chemicals usually found in tea. In 1997 and 1999, ISO declared Ceylon tea as the cleanest as well when it came to pesticide residue. The
island was also the first to achieve the status of being “Ozone Friendly Tea” by the Montreal Protocol Treaty.

Tea Types

There are five areas where tea is grown in Sri Lanka, each yielding a different flavour and taste of tea. Tea originated from the Camellia Sinensis plant, but it’s the weather, soil and elevation of the tea plantation that brings about this change in flavour and taste.

Ceylon black tea

Is world renowned and the most popular in the market.Tea leaves are plucked by the skilled hands of tea-puckers, where only two leaves and the bud is nipped off. Once the leaves are collected, they are then left to wither, before being rolled, fermented, dried and finally sifted. Once the sifting process is complete, they are separated into different grades of tea. Each grade of black tea has different colours and intensities.

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Green tea

Is the second most popular type of Ceylon tea. Once plucked from the same Camellia Sinensis bush, the leaves are withered, heated and then rolled, before being dried and sifted. To make green tea, the process of fermentation is skipped.

White tea

Is a special and exclusive type of Ceylon tea and quite possibly the most expensive due to its rarity. White tea is often referred to as Silver Tips. To make white tea, only the buds from the tea plant are plucked at dawn. They are hand rolled individually and not fermented. White tea is light in color and subtle when compared to Ceylon black tea, and is packed with more antioxidants than the other two types of tea, thus making it one of the healthiest beverages.

Spices

Asia, most specifically Southeast Asia, has always been quite famous for its spicy foods. The region’s cooks have dabbled with the science of spices for millennia and are very experienced and used to cooking using spices. The fact that most spices are grown around the tropical regions of Southeast Asia
played a large part in this. Sri Lanka has been the center of the spice trade throughout history.

In history, Sri Lanka was named as Tabrobane, Serendib and Ceylon, because it was famous for its high quality spices and it has been maintained relations with the Greeks, Romans and Arabs through its spice trade. The Portuguese, Dutch and English found this country attractive because of its high quality spices and ivory during the colonization in Asia.
On the other hand, Sri Lanka has a micro climates and soil types for which are suitable for these spices.

These are some main spices that Sri Lanka cultivates.

Pepper

Pepper, commonly known as the “King of spices” and it accounts for occupies largest percentage in the international spice trade. It is most widely used as a chilly replacement all over the world. Black pepper of commerce is the mature dried berries of the woody perennial evergreen climbing vine, Piper nigrum. Pepper is cultivated over an area of 32,800 ha of Sri Lanka and Matale, Kandy, Kegalle, Kurunegala and Nuwara Eliya are accounted as major districts of cultivation.
It can be grown either as a mono crop or as a mixed crop in the coconut and tea plantations using live and dead standards as support. Pepper is an ideal crop for home gardens where it can be trained on the existing tree species as well.
Sri Lankan black pepper has higher pipevine content which conduces to fetch a premium price in international spice trade.

Cinnamon

Cinnamon is a spice obtained from the inner bark of several tree species from the genus Cinnamomum. Cinnamon is used mainly as an aromatic condiment and flavoring additive in a wide variety of cuisines, sweet and savory dishes, breakfast cereals, snack foods, tea and traditional foods. Sri Lanka is very
famous in all over the world for producing high quality cinnamon since the colonial periods of Portuguese, Dutch and English.

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Cardamom

Cardamom is used to spice both sweet and savory dishes. It is widely employed in Indian, Middle Eastern, Arabic, and Swedish cuisine.  Cardamom is found in the  garam masala  spice mixture that seasons meat and vegetable dishes, and in hot beverages such as masala chai and Turkish coffee.

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Clove

Cloves are the flower buds of the clove tree, an evergreen also known as Syzygium aromaticum. Cloves contain fiber, vitamins, and minerals, so using whole or ground cloves to add flavor to your food can provide some important nutrients. Sri Lanka produce cloves and export.

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Curry leaves

Curry leaf is an important leafy vegetable and the leaves are widely used in Sri Lankan cookery for flavoring foodstuffs. Curry leaves also have some medicinal benefits. Curry leaves contain high amounts of vitamin A, which is beneficial for the eyesight.

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Turmeric

Organic Turmeric is an herbaceous perennial plant native to Sri Lanka as well as Southern Asia which grows up into a height of 90-180cm. It really is developed mainly for the root beginnings which are useful for food preparation, for medication and as a dye. Also has some health benefits. It might help avoid prostate cancer, prevent the growth of existing prostate cancer as well as eliminate cancer cells. Lemongrass and citronella Citronella is a grass native to India and Sri Lanka. The long, fragrant leaves are narrow, linear, and stiff. The essential oil is extracted from plants grown in Sri Lanka.

Nutmeg and Mace

Nutmeg and mace are two distinctly separate spices, derived from the same plant. In Sri Lanka there are no special varieties of nutmeg. However, as usual method of propagation is by seeds, and these seeds should be taken from selected mother trees, for high yields, large nuts and heavy mace.

Vanilla 

Vanilla is a flavoring derived from orchids of the genus vanilla. In Sri Lanka, central hill countryside gives good weather (Wet weather condition) condition to grow the vanilla. The most popular and growing areas are Kandy, Nuwara Eliya, Matale, and Kegalle.

Ginger 

Ginger is a flowering plant that originated from China. Ginger can be used fresh, dried, powdered, or as an oil or juice, and is sometimes added to processed foods and cosmetics. It is a very common ingredient in recipes. Though the cultivation of ginger has widely spread throughout Sri Lanka, the
main growing areas are still found in the wet zones. These are the districts of Kegalle, Colombo, Kandy, Kurungala, and Gampaha. During the past years, the total area of growth of this plant has been over 6000 hectares.

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