grains of paradise

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Grains of paradise.
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From medieval spice traders claiming that the spice grew only in Eden, in order to inflate prices.[1] Cf. French graines de paradis.


grains of paradise pl (normally plural, singular grain of paradise)

  1. The seeds or seed capsules of the Aframomum melegueta, used as a medicine and spice, especially as a substitute for black pepper and in flavoring alcoholic beverages.
    • c. 1460, John Russell, The Boke of Nurture, p. 126:
      ...graynes of paradise, hoote & moyst þey be...
    • 1743, William Ellis, supplement to The London & Country Brewer, 2nd ed., p. 288:
      When I found it [Two-Penny Drink] left a hot Tang behind it, it gave me just Reason to believe they had used Grains of Paradise, or long Pepper, both which will save Malt.
    • 1812, James Smyth, The Practice of the Customs in the Entry, Examination, and Delivery of Goods and Merchandize, ii, p. 84:
      Guinea Grains and Grains of Paradise are considered, by the Trade, as one and the same article.
    • 1844, Jonathan Pereira, “On Grains of Paradise”, in The American Journal of Pharmacy[2], page 97:
      "Gærtner has figured the fruit and seeds of a scitamineous plant under the name of Zingiber Melægueta, and which he considered to be identical with the Grains of Paradise."
    • 1850, Charles Kingsley, Alton Locke, Vol I, Ch. viii, p. 127: poisoned wi' grains o' paradise, and cocculus indicus.
    • 1994, Anthea Bell, A History of Food, Wiley-Blackwell, translation of original by Maguelonne Toussaint-Samat, →ISBN, page 495:
      "In fact this spice was making a second appearance in Europe: it was Guinea pepper, mentioned by Pliny as 'African pepper', and also known as Malaguetta pepper or grains of Paradise. Grains of Paradise had been very popular in the thirteenth century and again in the sixteenth; its popularity may have been due to the brilliant name thought up for it by some advertising genius born before his time."
    • 2006, Susheela Raghavan, Handbook of Spices, Seasonings, and Flavorings, 2nd edition, CRC Press, →ISBN, page 119:
      "Also called Melegueta or Malagueta pepper, guinea grain, or guinea pepper, grains of paradise were prized as a spice and as a substitute for black pepper in Europe during the Middle Ages."
  2. (uncommon) The Aframomum melegueta itself, a herbaceous perennial plant native to the swamps of the West African coast.





  1. ^ “Grains of Paradise”, in (Please provide the title of the work)[1], accessed 2009-06-08


Further reading[edit]