bowl of myrrh resin

Just what are frankincense and myrrh? Certainly, they are part of many Christmas stories, but do you know what those products are and why they were so valuable? Here is more information on both of these plant-based products.

Frankincense and myrrh are both resins -- dried tree sap -- that come from trees of the genus Boswellia (frankincense) and Commiphora (myrrh), which are common to Somalia and Ethiopia.  Both are in the botanical family Burseruceae commonly called the incense tree family. 

plate of Christmas cookies

Sugar and spice make everything nice, especially Christmas cookies. But, do you know where your sugar and spice come from?

Plants make the sugar glucose during photosynthesis. Certain plants can take excess glucose, create sucrose then stored it in either the stalk or root. This is the sugar we use every day to sweeten treats from coffee to cookies. Sugar adds sweetness, gives a tender texture, and allows browning to occur in baked goods.