Vanilla is second only to saffron as the costliest spice. This is due to the labor intensity of growing and pollinating these plants. What is used in cooking is the long thin brown seed pod and the thousands of little black seeds the pod contains. There are only a few growers of vanilla in Hawaii, [ read more ]


Turmeric used in cooking is the root of the curcuma longa plant and part of the ginger family. The roots are smaller than ginger, light brown skinned with brilliant orange flesh. We are lucky that it grows well here in Hawaii as it is known all over the world for its usefulness in cooking, medicinally, [ read more ]


What we know as ginger is the root of the plant officially known as Zingiber officinale.  For centuries it has been eaten as a delicacy, medicine and a spice.  Cultivation for ginger began in South Asia, but now ginger can be found growing in East Africa and Carribean.  We use it in our cooking for [ read more ]

Galangal (khaa, blue ginger, laos)

Galangal, a tropical plant in the ginger family, is used widely in Indian and Southeast Asian cuisines.   Though the leaves and young shoots are also edible, it is the root that is most often used in cooking.  The root looks like a chubby version of young ginger – creamy in color and sometimes a [ read more ]