Mahlab Seed 60g details and description
Steenbergs Mahlab is a relatively rare spice that is popular in the Middle East and is sometimes known as St. Lucie's Cherry. Mahlab seeds are the kernels from inside a sour cherry tree that grows wild in the Middle East - the cherries are small, measly looking things with a positively mean amount of black fruity flesh, but the kernels have a sweetly perfumed and floral aroma that is reminiscent of cherries and the nuttiness of almonds. The flavour of Steenbergs Mahlab is nutty with a delicate almondy sweetness and then with a bitterness that you also expect from almonds. Mahlab spice is an essential to Lebanese food and we import ours this straight from the Lebanon. Steenbergs mahlab is part of the Steenbergs range of specialist spices.
The wild black cherry tree is a spreading deciduous tree of the same family as plums and peaches. It grows to 12 metres (36ft) high and has 6cm long (2.5 inches) bright-green, oval, serrated leaves and single, early-flowering white flowers. It develops a green fruit of 10mm (0.33 inches) that ripens to black, whereupon it is harvested. The fruit is dehusked and the central light-tan stone is used as the basis for the spice - this cherry stone is 5mm long (0.25 inches) and tear shaped. This is then ground to make Steenbergs Ground Mahlab. The aroma of mahlab is familiar with an almond-like, cherry-sweet fragrance that hints at marzipan, while its flavour is nutty but with a surprising bitterness. For further gen on mahlab, check out Gernot Katzer's Spice Pages and Ingredientia.