The bright red flowers of the wild poppy in Central Europe bloom from the end of May and mark the beginning of early summer. The botanical name is derived from the Latin, somniferum = sleeping. The plant contains alkaloids in its milky sap from which opium can be obtained. The poppy has been used in southern Europe since the Neolithic Age, i.e. for about 8,500 years. It has been used in various ancient cultures, e.g. the Sumerians and Greeks used it as a sleeping and healing agent as well as for ritual purposes. The poppy came to Egypt from Cyprus. During antiquity, the poppy was of great importance for the healing arts due to its analgesic effect, making medical interventions possible.
The poppy is an annual herbaceous plant with a height of 30 - 150 centimeters. The spherical capsule fruits that develop after pollination contain numerous seeds. The poppy seeds are harvested from June to August. Main growing areas are Czech Republic, Turkey, Australia and Hungary. In Germany, about 8,000 tons of poppy seeds per year are processed.
The blue poopy is used in desserts, pastries, poppy seed cake, poppy seed strudel and as a topping for bread rolls. The poppy is often used in Habsburg cuisine.
For several years, the morphine content in blue poppy seeds has been the focus of food safety supervision. Within Europe, only Hungary prescribes a limit of 30 mg / kg, otherwise there are only recommended guideline values. Many customers prefer goods with values of <20 mg / kg or <10 mg / kg, some even <4 mg / kg. The alkaloids of the poppy are mainly in the milky sap of the plant, which is located in the tubes of its stems. The highest concentration is found in the pericarp of the capsule. The blue poppy seed itself has no or only a low morphine concentration. However, if it rains on the field when the goods dry after harvesting, the seeds absorb the alkaloids from other plant parts and the concentration increases. The natural morphine concentration is usually 10-20 mg / kg. Values of 4 mg / kg or less can be achieved by treating the product with hot steam, which also reduces the microbiological values.