Where do poppy seeds come from?

Poppy seeds are a well-known cooking ingredient that every household must-have. These tiny black seeds are flavorful in nature and have a distinct taste when added to different dishes. Have you ever wondered where they come from, how they are grown, and why they are so popular? If so, keep on reading, and we will provide you with valuable insights.

The poppy seeds come from a plant called “Papaver somniferum,” also known as the opium poppy or breadseed poppy. This plant is native to the Mediterranean and is widely grown for its seeds and morphine-containing latex.

If you want to know more about poppy seeds, then in this article, we will cover everything you need to know about where they come from.

Types of Poppy Seeds

Before we dive deep, it’s important to note that poppy seeds are of different varieties. They can be categorized based on their color, origin, and taste. Here are some of the common types of poppy seeds:

Khas Khas

Khas Khas is native to India, and its seeds are used for both medicinal and cooking purposes. It’s also a key ingredient in many desserts like kheer, halwa, and barfi.

Blue Poppy Seeds

Blue poppy seeds are an Iranian variety and are commonly used in desserts and traditional dishes like falafel.

White Poppy Seeds

White poppy seeds are mainly grown in Europe and are popularly used in sweets and desserts.

Where are Poppy Seeds Grown?

Poppy seeds are grown worldwide, but the majority of the production is concentrated in Europe and Asia. In the UK, they are mainly grown in Norfolk, Lincolnshire, and Yorkshire.

The plant thrives in areas with cool summers and mild winters. It grows best in well-drained soils and can withstand droughts.

History of Poppy Seed Usage

Poppy seeds have been used for centuries in many cultures for medicinal and culinary purposes. They were cultivated in ancient Egypt, and references to them have been found in ancient Greek and Roman literature.

In traditional medicine, poppy seeds were used to treat insomnia, stomach issues, and respiratory problems. In modern medicine, morphine, a narcotic drug, is extracted from the latex produced by poppy plants.

Uses of Poppy Seeds

In Cooking

Poppy seeds are widely used in cooking, especially in Indian, Turkish, and Eastern European cuisines. They are mostly used as a seasoning in baked goods, bread, pastries, salads, and curries. They add a nutty and slightly sweet flavor to those dishes, making them more flavorful.

As a Natural Remedy

Poppy seeds have some medicinal properties that make them suitable for treating various health issues. They are rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals, which promote good health.

They can also help in reducing menstrual cramps, promoting sleep, and reducing anxiety levels. However, poppy seeds should not be taken in large quantities as they contain morphine and can have a negative impact on the body if used excessively.

Poppy Seeds Nutrition

Poppy seeds are a rich source of essential nutrients such as phosphorus, zinc, magnesium, and calcium. They also contain healthy fats, fiber, and protein. Here’s a breakdown of their nutritional value:

100 Grams of Poppy Seeds Contains: Calories 525
Carbohydrates 28 g
Protein 18 g
Fats 41 g

How to Store Poppy Seeds

Poppy seeds can go rancid if not stored properly. Therefore, it’s essential to keep them in an airtight container in a cool and dry place. They can last for up to six months at room temperature or up to a year in the fridge. Always check the expiry date before using them in your dishes.


Poppy seeds are a delicious and versatile ingredient that’s suitable for various dishes. They have a rich history and are grown worldwide. They are also packed with essential nutrients that are beneficial to overall health.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Q. Are poppy seeds illegal?
    • A. No, poppy seeds are legal. However, consuming large quantities of poppy seeds can lead to a false positive result on a drug test.
  • Q. How many poppy seeds should I consume?
    • A. The recommended daily intake is about one tablespoon of poppy seeds.
  • Q. How long do poppy seeds last?
    • A. Poppy seeds can last for up to six months at room temperature or up to a year in the fridge.
  • Q. What’s the difference between white and black poppy seeds?
    • A. White poppy seeds are mainly used in sweets and desserts, while black poppy seeds are mostly used as a seasoning in baked goods, bread, pastries, and curries.


  • https://www.thespruceeats.com/about-poppy-seeds-1807671
  • https://www.healthline.com/health/poppy-seeds#benefits
  • https://www.bbc.co.uk/food/ingredients/poppy_seed
  • https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-235/poppy-seed