Pepper and Capsicums

Pepper is the dried berry of the pepper-plant (Piper nigrum), a climbing vine ten to twelve feet high, indigenous to the East Indies, but cultivated in many tropical countries.

White Pepper

This is obtained by decorticating or removing the skin from the fully ripened black peppercorns—accomplished by maceration.

White Whole Pepper grains are grayish white. They are more nearly spherical in shape than the Black Pepper berries, and have light-colored lines running from top to bottom. The more common varieties are known as Siam, Singapore and Penang.

Red Pepper

The U. S. Standards describe Red Pepper as the dried ripe fruit of any species of capsicum, a genus of the nightshade family indigenous to the American tropics. It is now cultivated in nearly all warm and temperate countries, both commercially and in the kitchen-garden. The leading commercial varieties are Zanzibar, Africa, Indias, and Japan.


Paprika is botanically described as Capsicum annuum. The pods are large and brilliant to dark red. It grows in the temperate and torrid zones. It is cultivated principally in Spain (Pimiinton) and Hungary. The Spanish-grown product is sweet and mild, the Hungarian usually of a mildly pungent flavor. Paprika is used in cooking for its color as well as flavor. It is rapidly finding favor among American housewives.

Cassia and Cinnamon

The terms Cassia and Cinnamon, although they represent two separate species of the genus Cinnamomum belonging to the Laurel family, in commerce are interchangeable.


Is the thin, inner bark of the tree, of a pale yellowish brown color, and is found on the market in long, quill-like rolls, the smaller rolls being incased in the larger. The small dark spots on the outer surface correspond to points where the leaves were attached to the stem.

True Cinnamon is native to the Island of Ceylon, but is cultivated in tropical Asia, Sumatra and Java. The yield of Ceylon Cinnamon is relatively small. Its use in the United States is limited.


The ordinary commercial Cassia is the bark of the Cinnamomum Cassia, which comes from China, Japan, Indo-China and India. It is usually darker in color than true Cinnamon, rougher, and about four times as thick.

Cinnamon and Cassia range in value according to type and quality, although much depends on actual flavoring strength. They are chiefly valued in the order named—Saigon, Batavia or Java and China.

Nutmegs and Mace

The Nutmeg-tree, genus Myristica (natural order Myristicaceæ), native of the Malay Archipelago, usually grows to a height of twenty to thirty feet. While the greater part of the world’s supply of both Nutmegs and Mace comes from the Banda Islands, the West Indies are by no means to be overlooked.

The Nutmeg fruit is about three inches long and about two inches in diameter. It includes, first, the outer or fleshy membranous part; second, the substance covering the outer shell of the Nutmeg, known as Mace, next the shell, and finally the kernel or commercial Nutmeg.

After harvesting, which in some places is done with long forked sticks or bamboo poles, the red colored network (Mace) is removed and the nuts are placed over a fire in mesh bottom receptacles, where they remain for perhaps a month, being kept about ten feet away from the flames. They are next exposed to the sun for two or three hours daily for several days, or until the kernels rattle within the shell. They are then removed from the shell and assorted into three general grades.

Among the many varieties of Nutmegs the Singapore, Penang, West Indian and Macassars are most esteemed, the price being regulated by the type, size and quality of the nut.


Unlike the Spices treated in this series, Ginger is the root-stock of a plant known botanically as Zingiber officinale, an annual herb, three or four feet high. It is a native of India and China, but is grown extensively in tropical America, Africa and Australia.

The plant endures a wide range of climate. It may be grown at sea level or in mountainous regions, provided the rainfall be abundant or irrigation adopted.

It is found cultivated from the Himalaya Mountains, 5000 feet above sea level, to Cape Comarin.

The root is dug when the plant is a year old and after the stalk has withered.

Black Ginger, of which Calcutta and African are the common varieties, is produced by scalding the freshly dug roots. This prevents sprouting.

White Ginger is the decorticated product, the chief varieties being Jamaica, Cochin and Japan. Jamaica is the most esteemed. Jamaica Ginger is best known and most used here, although both Cochin and African Ginger are imported in a large way.

The different varieties of Ginger are imported by McCormick & Company, who distribute them under the Bee Brand and Banquet Brand guarantee. Green Ginger is the undried root. That received in the United States is the Jamaica variety.

Pimento, or Allspice

The Pimento (Pimenta officinalis), an evergreen tree belonging to the Myrtle family, is a native of the West Indies, but is found in Mexico, Costa Rica and Venezuela as well. The highest quality Pimento comes from the Island of Jamaica. The Mexican berry, while handsome in appearance, is inferior in flavoring quality.

The trees usually grow in groups of from five to twenty, but are sometimes found in forests. After the tree has attained a certain growth, the underbrush and other Pimentos are cut away, leaving the trees about twenty-five feet apart.

The Pimento flowers twice each year, but bears only one crop of berries.

The problem of harvesting is the most serious with which the planter has to contend. It is difficult to secure help among the indolent natives, and as the harvest season is short—because the berries must be picked just before they ripen—the loss from over-ripening is very great. After harvesting, the berries are exposed daily to the sun for a period of from seven to twelve days, being placed under cover each night.

Pimento, or Allspice, as it is generally known, is exported principally from Kingston, Jamaica, in 120 to 130 lb. bags, about one-third of the crop coming to the United States, while the remainder finds its way to England, whence it is exported to other countries.

As its common name implies, Allspice has a flavor which is suggestive of the combined flavors of many spices.

McCormick & Company import only the choicest Allspice grown and market it under their Bee Brand and Banquet Brand trade marks. It may be had either ground or whole.


Cloves are the dry flower-buds of an evergreen (CaryophyllusAromaticus or Eugenia caryophyllata) belonging to the Myrtle family, averaging in height twenty to forty feet. The Clove-tree is cultivated in Ceylon, India, Mauritius, the West Indies and Zanzibar. The different varieties derive their names from the district of origin or the city of exportation. Cloves from Amboyna, Penang and Zanzibar are perhaps best known and are in greatest demand.

The flowers grow in clusters. The green buds change to a reddish hue, at which stage they are removed from the tree, spread in the sun and allowed to dry. When allowed to fully fruit, the bud develops into a hard seed an inch long, with a pulpy cover. This is called Mother of Cloves.

The tree yields only one crop a year, the yield under normal conditions being about 300 pounds to the acre. The average consumption is estimated at 11,000,000 pounds per year.

There are a number of varieties of Cloves resembling each other in appearance, but vastly different in pungency and flavoring value.

The slender stems bearing the closed buds have, to a limited degree, the aromatic clove flavor, and as they sell for a very small fraction of the cost of Cloves, are frequently powdered and used for reducing the cost of Powdered Cloves, at the expense of quality and of common honesty.

McCormick & Company do not import, buy or sell Clove stems. Their Bee and Banquet Brands Cloves, whole or ground, are carefully selected for superior quality.

Seed, Herbs, Etc.


The Seed of the Carum Carui is indigenous to Northern Europe and cultivated to some extent in the United States. The seed is used as a flavor in the preparation of many foods.


Commonly spelled Cardamon. The Cardamoms of Java, Ceylon and Madagascar are much alike.


The product of the roots or tubers of the Manioc or Cassava is known as Tapioca. The plant is native to Brazil, but is cultivated in Jamaica and the Far East. There are two kinds of Tapioca—Pearl and Granulated. Both are made from the same rootstock under a slightly different process.


The leaf of a shrubby plant, a genus of the Mint family, native to the shores of the Mediterranean; usually called Sweet Marjoram.


Mustard-Seed comes from Russia, Germany, England and Holland, and to some extent from California. There are two chief divisions, yellow and brown. The brown seed comes largely from Italy and is known as Bari. The term Trieste is frequently applied to all brown Mustard-Seeds.

Mustard-Seed contains two oils, known as Essential and Fatty. The Essential Oil is soluble in water. In flavor and odor it closely resembles horseradish. The Fatty Oil is mild and tasteless, insoluble in water, and is sometimes used in place of olive oil.

In manufacturing Mustard-Flour the seed is warmed, subjected to hydraulic pressure, which releases from fifteen to twenty-five per cent of the fatty oil. The residue is called Mustard-Cake. It is ground and bolted on fine sieves, separating the Mustard bran or hulls from the interior, making ground mustard or flour. Brown seed contains a larger percentage of the essential oil, and, therefore, makes a hotter or stronger flour than the yellow variety, and must be blended with flour from yellow seed.


A perennial shrub about two feet high, native to Southern Europe, but cultivated in this country as a garden plant. Bee Brand Rubbed Sage is the finest Sage imported. It is rubbed and ready for use.



The Vanilla-Bean is the fruit of the Vanilla planifolia or flat-leaved Vanilla vine and is the source from which pure or true Vanilla Extract is made. This climbing perennial belongs to the Orchid family and is indigenous to Central and South America, but reaches its perfection of flavor in Mexico. The Mexican bean sometimes attains a length of ten inches.

One of the Extract Stills

When gathered, the beans are yellowish green, fleshy and without odor. Their color and odor is developed by a process of fermentation or sweating, which differs in various countries. The best method consists of sun-drying for about a month, the beans being pressed alternately between the folds of blankets and exposed to the air. After curing they are tied in bundles. Vanilla-Beans when cured exude and become covered with fine frostlike crystals of vanillin, the important active flavoring principle.

Next in value to the Mexican bean comes the Bourbon, which term is applied to all the Vanilla-Beans grown in the islands of the Indian Ocean, off the east coast of Africa, of which Madagascar, Réunion, the Comores, Mauritius and the Seychelles are most important. These beans are shorter than the Mexican, decidedly inferior in flavoring quality, and, therefore, less expensive. They more nearly resemble the Tonka bean in odor. The cheapest beans are the Tahitis and so-called vanillons or beans of the wild Vanilla (Vanilla pompona). They are little used in extract making, and properly so, as they have neither strength nor flavor.

The Tonka bean is here mentioned simply because it is so largely used in the manufacture of imitation Vanilla Extracts. It is the seed of the Dipterix odorata, native to Guiana. The pod is almond shaped and contains a single seed shaped like a kidney-bean. This bean is dark in color, having a thin, shiny, brittle skin, containing a two-lobed oily kernel. A hundred years ago these beans were found in the snuffbox of every gentleman and in the handkerchief case of every lady.

Further information regarding the Vanilla-Bean may be found under Flavoring Extracts on page 22.



Commercial tea is the prepared leaf or leaf-bud of an evergreen, indigenous to Asia, which in its wild state attains the general proportions of the American peach-tree. Botanically, it is known as Camellis Thea or Thea Chinensis. Under cultivation, it is kept pruned to within three to five feet high. The constant pruning encourages the growth of new branches and new leaves. The value of the Tea is in the young tender leaf.

Testing Tea

Teas are divided into two groups, which differ chiefly in the method of curing. A tea-plant may produce a leaf which commercially may be either black or green, depending on the treatment.

Green tea is prepared by steaming the fresh green leaf and then drying it. In this way the bright color is preserved.

Black Tea is the result of oxidization or fermentation, caused by exposing the leaves to the sun, which turns them black.

The best Teas are made from the young leaves, the different varieties being graded according to their age and position on the shoot.

Tea is produced in large quantities in China, Japan, India and the islands of Ceylon, Java and Formosa.

There are about 200 varieties of Teas, and, perhaps, ten times as many flavors. Tea ranges in value from a few cents per pound for stems up to $10.00 for the very finest leaf.

The Government inspects all teas entering the United States, and those below a certain standard are not allowed to enter the country.

Tea drinking in the United States is increasing, but the consumption is still far behind that of many other countries.

Banquet Extra Fancy Blended Tea

The Bee Brand Manual of Cookery

This book is the result of many years of conscientious effort to produce a work which would be worthy of the title—The Blue Book of the Culinary Art.

The old Colonial homes of Maryland and Virginia, long famous for their “Southern Cooking,” have yielded most of the recipes. Graduates of leading Schools of Domestic Science have thoroughly tested and in some instances revised the recipes, so that in the new edition we offer the Perfect Cook Book. The following pages are selected at random:

Chiffonale Salad

1 cup diced celery

1 cup pulp of grapefruit

5 sliced and peeled tomatoes

4 chicory leaves

French dressing

McCormick’s Mayonnaise dressing

Chopped olives

Chopped parsley

Green peppers cut in thin strips

Break the chicory leaves into pieces for serving. Marinate all the different vegetables and grapefruit with French dressing. Arrange in separate mounds on a serving dish. Garnish each with the olives, parsley and green peppers. Pass mayonnaise dressing.

Nuremburg Salad

1 lettuce

1 stalk of celery

4 cooked beets

1 peeled cucumber

Cold cooked chicken or game

4 fillets of anchovy

12 olives


Few grains of Bee Brand ground red pepper

1 chopped onion

1 gherkin

1 hard cooked egg

Pick the lettuce into little pieces, wash and dry it in a clean cloth.

Cut in strips the celery, cooked beets, cucumber, olives, fillets of anchovy, the cooked chicken or game; place all these on a dish or in a salad bowl, season with salt, red pepper, chopped onion and pour over them mayonnaise sauce, and mix all up together, then sprinkle over the gherkin finely chopped and hard cooked egg that has been rubbed through a sieve.

Endive, Banana and Pimento Salad

4 bananas (cut in rather thick slices)

1 canned pimento (cut in strips)

1 head endive or escarolle

Mix fruit and Pimento, pour over French dressing, and serve on the Escarolle or Endive.

American Beauty Salad

1 cup orange (skinned and cut in small pieces)

1 cup tart apples (peeled and cut in small pieces)

1 pineapple (fresh or canned, cut in small pieces)

1 cup heart celery (cut in small pieces)

Mix thoroughly and place in small moulds or after-dinner coffee cups. Pour over each mould lemon jelly (cooled but not stiffened), colored with a few drops of McCormick’s Bee Brand Red color. When well set and firm, turn out on lettuce leaves, and serve with McCormick’s Mayonnaise.

For an added garnish, half of an English walnut may be placed carefully in the bottom of each cup before it is filled with the mixture, or may be fastened to finish mould by means of a few drops of the liquid jelly and allowed to harden before sending to table.


Cream of Potato Soup

1 cup mashed potatoes

1 pint hot milk

1 extra cup milk

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons flour

½ teaspoon Bee Brand white pepper

¼ teaspoon Bee Brand celery salt

½ teaspoon Bee Brand onion extract

Make a white sauce of the flour, butter and extra cup of milk as in above recipes and add seasoning. Mix the mashed potatoes with the hot milk, combine with white sauce and serve at once.

Cream of Green Pepper Soup

1 quart clarified soup stock

2 onions

2 large or 4 small green peppers

Yolk of one egg

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon Bee Brand celery salt

½ teaspoon Bee Brand white pepper

Chop onion fine, cut green peppers in strips about ¼ inch long. Put stock and condiments together. Simmer slowly from 30 minutes to an hour. Just before serving beat the egg yolk and pour the hot soup over this. Serve in bouillon cups if desired.

Delicious Quick Soup

1 cup carrot cubes

1 cup potato cubes

1 large onion, sliced

1 cup celery, sliced

½ cup of fat from chicken or beef stock

1 quart water

4 tablespoons meat extract

1 bay leaf

1 teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon Bee Brand white pepper

⅛ teaspoon Bee Brand paprika

Melt the fat, and in it cook the carrot, celery and onion. Stir constantly; cook about 15 minutes. Cook the potatoes in boiling water, drain, rinse in cold water and drain again. Add to other vegetables with the broth and seasoning. Cook at least one hour. Remove bay leaf and serve.

Mince Pie

1 cup cooked and chopped lean beef

1½ cups chopped apple

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon Bee Brand cinnamon

1 teaspoon Bee Brand cloves

1 teaspoon Bee Brand allspice

1 teaspoon Bee Brand nutmeg

1 cup brown sugar

½ cup raisins

½ cup currants

½ cup citron

Moisten with one cup sweet cider.

Bake in two crusts. Just before serving pour through the slits in the crust one tablespoon of fine brandy. Serve mince pie warm.

This is particularly good served with plain vanilla ice cream.


Date Pudding

½ lb. dates

3 tablespoons butter

½ cup molasses

½ cup milk

1⅔ cups flour

½ teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon each of Bee Brand Cloves, Allspice, and Nutmeg

Stone dates and cut into small pieces. Melt the butter, add molasses and milk. Mix the dry ingredients and sift to blend them thoroughly. Add these to the butter mixture and lastly add the dates.

Pour into a buttered mold, cover with buttered paper and steam for one and one-half hours.



Spices: A Textbook Published by McCormick in 1915 with Vintage Illustrations

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