The korarima seeds are one of the treasures of Ethiopia. The Venetians were truly bewitched by the spice which came by boat down the Nile in the 15th century. They believed that the Garden of Eden was at the Source of the Nile. That’s why it’s called the ‘‘grains of paradise”! This endemic spice which comes from the Basketo region, in the Ethiopian highlands, at altitudes of 2,000 m is now grown in home gardens.
The undergrowth of the humid forests of this region in the extreme southwest of Ethiopia, produces the best Korarima.
The fruits are harvested at maturity when the pod reddens at the foot of the plant. They are then cleaned using a sharp knife to swiftly remove dry remains at the top of the fruit, a process which the local farmers call circumcision. Then the pod is left out to dry in the sun on bamboo racks. This keeps the freshness in the seeds. You need to cut deeply into the pod to extract the ‘‘seeds of paradise’’.