Backhome Foods



  • Botanical Name: Cuminum Cyminum
  • Other Names: jeera, geera, white cumin
  • Forms: whole seeds and ground
  • Background: Cumin is an annual plant indigenous to the Middle East or the Nile Valley. Cumin is a very important historical spice, dating back to 5000 B.C. It was used by ancient Egyptians in mummification and is mentioned in both the Old and New Testament. It was also thought to encourage love and fidelity.  Today it grows throughout the Middle East and North Africa, with major producers include Iran, India, Turkey, and Morocco. Cumin is harvested when the seeds are ripened, and the while stalks are dried. The seeds are removed. The seeds have a pungent, warm, earthy aroma which becomes stronger when crushed. Toasting the seeds will make the powder even stronger with a smoky taste.
  • Health Benefits: Jeera aids digestion.


  • Botanical Name: Mystica Frangrans
  • Forms: whole and ground
  • Health Benefits: Nutmeg is known to be a digestive. It has a variety of other applications in Indian and Chinese medicine.
  • Background Information: Nutmeg is the seed or kernel of a tall tropical evergreen tree native to Spice Islands. Today it is also cultivated in Malaysia, Sri Lanka, and the West Indies. Nutmeg has long been used for medicinal purposes in China, India, and Middle East. By the 16th Century it was valuable in Europe as a spice and a curative. Nutmeg and Mace are considered aphrodisiacs. The ripe fruits are harvested from the tree and split open to revel a lacy covering of mace. This is removed and dried and the nutmeg seed are dried until they rattle within their outer shell. The shells are cracked open and the nutmegs are removed.

Curry Powder

  • Health Benefits: Powerful antioxidants found in curry powder serves as an anti-inflammatory agent.
  • Background: There are hundreds of curry powders found around the world. Madras curry powder will be the most familiar types to Westerns Cooks and in the Caribbean cooking. The heat levels of Madras curry powder can range from mildly spiced to very hot. A basic mix consists of coriander, cumin, dried chilies, turmeric, ginger, black pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom, and cloves. Typically, the whole spices are toasted together and then ground. 


  • Botanical Name: Eugenia caryophyllus
  • Other Names: None
  • Forms: Whole and ground
  • Background: Cloves are the unopened flower bud of a tropical evergreen tree native to the Spice Islands. They are an important part of the early spice trade. Indonesia remains the largest producer and these trees are now grown in Sri Lanka, Madagascar, Tanzania, and Grenada. The buds are removed from the tree by hand. This is a delicate produce as they have reached their full size but have not opened. The buds dried in the sun for several days.
  • Health Benefits: Cloves have many know health benefits. a very strong taste, and are antioxidant, antiseptic, anesthetic, and anti-inflammatory. They also contain a number of valuable organic compounds and volatile oils that are good at protecting against cancer, managing heart rate, balancing bodily fluids, improving digestion, increasing oral health, eliminate premature aging, and strengthen the membranes throughout the body.


  • Botanical Name: Zingiber officinale
  • Other Names: gingerroot
  • Forms: Fresh, dried slices, ground, dried rhizomes
  • Health Benefits: Ginger is considered a digestive and helps prevent motion sickness. Ginger tea can be drunk to soothe a sore throat or provide a nice, warming lift, it can be taken before traveling.
  • Background information: Ginger is an underground rhizome. It comes from a perennially tropical plant that is native to India or China. China and India are the biggest producers of ginger today, but it is also grown in the West Indies, Africa, Hawaii, and northern Australia. Fresh ginger is typically dried and then ground for use in seasoning dishes. 


  • Botanical Name: Cinnamonum verum, C. zeylanicum
  • Other Names: Ceylon cinnamon
  • Forms: quills and ground
  • Health Benefit: Cinnamon is a beloved spice around the world that is praised for its ability to reduce inflammation, eliminate pain, manage diabetes, eliminate infections, reduce excess gas, improve heart health, increase cognitive function, build strong bones, prevent cancer, and increase the health of the eyes and skin!
  • Background information: True cinnamon comes from the bark of a tropical evergreen tree native to Sri Lanka. Today Sri Lanka is the main producer, and its cinnamon is believed to be the best. Cinnamon is also cultivated in other tropical regions of the world. The bark of the tree is harvested during the rainy season when it is moist and easier to remove. “Cinnamon Peelers” are highly skilled, and often several generation of the same family will be involved in the harvests, each generation of the same family. The Cinnamon peelers cut the small branches and shoots from the tree and scrape of course outer bark. Next thin inner layers of bark or cut and rolled in scrolls or quills. The quills are air dried away from the sun. The broken quills are ground for use in ground cinnamon.