Dry spices have their own mystique. More than 2,000 years ago cinnamon, cassia, pepper, ginger, turmeric, and cardamom traveled from China to the Near East by camel caravans and ships. Most people did not know exactly where spices came from or what type of plants they grew on. Spices were rare and very expensive. Discuss the spices going into your Havdalah sachet. These are the ones I used in mine.
Cinnamon and cassia are very similar. They are the inner bark of evergreen trees that grow in China. Cassia was used in the incense in the Temple of Jerusalem. Its name is derived from the Hebrew word ketsiah, which means, “to strip off bark.”
Cloves originally came from the Spice Islands of Indonesia. They are dried flower buds from an evergreen tree of the Myrtle family. These trees can live for several hundred years. Chinese emperors made visitors chew on the aromatic cloves before they were permitted to speak. The Dutch East India company hoped to have a monopoly on the trade of cloves. However, Pierre Poivre, an adventurer from France, managed to smuggle out some seedlings. They were successfully planted in Zanzibar.
Star anise is a fruit that is native to Vietnam and China. It grows on an evergreen tree that is related to the magnolia. The fruit is shaped like a star and tastes like anise seeds, hence its name. It is harvested when it is green and dried in the sun until it turns brown. It traveled on the spice trade routes and was consumed by the ancient Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians. Star anise was first introduced to Europe in the 1600s.
Whole dried aromatic spices like cinnamon, star anise, cardamom, cloves, lavender, rosemary, mint, lemon balm, and thyme
Piece of organza or muslin, cut into a 5X5 inch (12X12 cm) square
Piece of ribbon
Encourage your children to experience each spice by looking at it, touching it, and smelling it. Steep the spices in hot water with some honey to savor them as a tea.
Place some aromatic spices in the center of the fabric.
Gather the corners of the fabric together to make a bag.
Tie the bag with the ribbon.