Poppy seeds are counted among the so-called superfoods. The benefits are mainly in the high content of calcium and vitamin E, it also contains a significant amount of minerals such as copper, zinc, magnesium and iron, as well as vitamins B5, B3 and B1. For example, this tiny oilseed contains nine times more calcium than a walnut.
Anyone who drives through the Czech landscape has surely noticed fields of white poppy flowers. Last year, yellow rape or purple clover won the rural visual impression, but this year the poppy is most often seen from the roads.
This year, poppy plantings have increased by 12.5 percent compared to last year. The Czech Republic is already a great power in the cultivation of food poppy. About 85 percent of the 26,000 tons of annual production is exported to the world. Russia takes the most Czech poppy.
The climate here is favorable for these mini-balls, and the poppy has a long culinary tradition here. Most people in the world associate poppy with drugs, but the Czech one was bred so that there is only an insignificant amount of morphine in it and the use of the local variety is only food.
Czechs are world leaders not only in production, but also in consumption. We eat about 430 grams per year per capita. In second place in cultivation of food poppy are the Turks, but they do not eat it themselves.
For many foreigners, eating poppy is a kind of legal way to consume drugs. In Wallachia (a distinctive peculiar region on the border of Moravia and Slovakia), there is a story that two Americans refused to eat poppy seed cake/pie, although it was eaten en masse by all the locals, including children, and renamed the product "opium pizza".
However, farmers see the possibilities of poppy expansion in a non-traditional concept of a tiny crop: in oil and vegetable milk. Both are gradually becoming popular among people who already enjoy a healthy diet and the reduction of animal products in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Poppy seed oil can be used as a substitute for olive oil, it has similar properties, is great fresh salads. In the future, in addition to the already traditional almond or oat, poppy milk will be of greater importance, which can be easily prepared by macerating poppies and then pressing them. It is a great source of calcium, not only for vegans or people suffering from food allergies or intolerances.
There are not many countries in the world where poppy seeds are eaten. Apart from the Slavic countries, it is also popular in Israel or Kazakhstan, its consumption is not prevented, for example, in India. The largest customer of Czech bred blue grains is Russia, Czech producers cover three quarters of the local market. Last year, poppy exports to Russia amounted to 332 million Czech crowns (ILS 51 mil.) Poppies are also exported in limited quantities to Israel, where, similarly to the Czech Republic, they prepare traditional sweets and pastries from them, such as various rolls, plait, burekas, buns, muffins, cheese cakes with poppy seeds and especially during Purim "Ears of Aman" (Hebrew Ozney Aman).
Prepared by the team of CzechTrade Israel