Inside the Spice Cabinet: Grains of Paradise

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Grains of paradise, which also go by unique names like guinea grains, guinea pepper, and alligator pepper, are tiny seeds that pack a punch have the power to titillate your taste buds with exotic flavor.

What Are Grains of Paradise?

Taste: Earthy, warm
Most Popular Use: Spice blends

Grains of paradise are small, irregular-shaped, brownish seeds native to the west coast of Africa. They’re a woody, aromatic spice was widely used in Europe from the Middle Ages until the 19th century, when it’s popularity began to fade.

A member of the ginger and cardamom family, this exotic spice carries a similar aroma and taste you might associate with cardamon, coriander, citrus, ginger and nutmeg.

How To Use Grains of Paradise

Grains of paradise are most commonly use in the cuisines of West and North Africa, and is sometimes included in the Moroccan spice blend, raw el hangout. The seeds are often used in various craft beers, gin, and aquavit. Grains of paradise can also be ground using a pepper mill or spice grinder to be included in spice blends, or used whole in brines, soup, and marinades.