Herb Name:Dried Lotus Seed (also called Lotus Nut)
Herb Name in Chinese: 蓮子 (Lián Zǐ)
- Lotus seed is the mild-flavored round dried seed of the aquatic Lotus flower plant.
- Depending on how mature the plant is when the lotus seed is harvested, two types of seed is produced. The “brown peel” type is produced when the harvest occurs from ripe lotus seed heads. These seeds have a brown peel because their outer brown membrane has already attached to the seed. The other type, “white lotus seed“, is produced when the seed head is still young and fully green.
- In both types of lotus seed, the inner bitter-tasting germ is removed before being sold.
- Although oxidation would turn overstored lotus seeds to a yellow brown color, avoid seeds that are brightly white as they are probably bleached by the manufacturer with hydrogen peroxide, sodium hydroxide, or other toxic chemicals.
Lotus Seed Uses and Health Benefits:
- Lotus seed is often used in Asian cuisine for soups, congee, desserts, or pastries. In Asian pastry making, the seed is often grounded into a paste before being filled inside a moon cake or other pastry goods.
- Lotus seed is also used extensively in traditional Chinese medicine since they are known to be nutritious, restorative to one’s health, and expells heat (清熱) while being neutral in nature. Additionally, the seed is said to calm nerves, relieve thirst (from heatiness), and strengthen the spleen and stomach.
- See a soup recipes using lotus seeds.
- To prepare dried lotus seeds, rinse them in cool water before cooking.
- Lotus seeds with a brown peel can be soaked for a few hours before cooking as they are more firm than the white lotus seeds.
Where to Buy:
- Dried lotus seeds are often sold in Asian supermarkets in small packages. They can also be purchased in Chinese medicinal herb stores in bulk.
- Fresh lotus seeds are rarely sold.
How do you use your Lotus Seeds? Leave a comment below to share your ideas.
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Resources and further reading: Wikipedia