Cardamom spice characteristics


What is Cardamom?

Cardamom or ” Grains of Paradise ” (Elettaria cardamomum) is the fruit of a perennial plant native to India that is used as a spice and aromatic herb.

This fruit is a capsule formed by three cores, dehiscent at maturity from 1 to 4 inches long and 0.5 to 1 inch wide (depending on the variety).

Inside cardamon fruit there are between 15 and 23 very aromatic seeds. They are between 2 and 4 mm, black-red and covered with a membranous layer called aryl, which has a sweet taste.

What flavor is cardamom?

Cardamom flavor is very intense and penetrating, sweet and slightly spicy.

It reminds us the scent of citrus, because it shares the limonene in the essential oil. It also makes us think about eucalyptus, because it is high in cineol.

Whole capsules of cardamom seeds

How to take cardamom?

  • Whole capsules. They are the fruits that are picked before maturity and dried in the sun or artificial heat to prevent burst and release their seeds. The capsules are marketed as whole aromatic spice.

To cook with cardamom, the capsule is removed and used its seeds, which are rich in aromatic oils. This is the most common way to cook them and introduce them into teas, gingerbread, ice cream, cookies, pastries, etc..

  • Cardamom powder can also be found, which deserves no special interest because the delicate aroma of this spice quickly evaporates.
  • Cardamom has a very strong flavor, and should be used in very small amounts to avoid masking other flavors.
  • It can be combined with citrus aromas, clove, anise, cinnamon, star anise, coriander, cumin, nutmeg, black pepper, pink pepper and vanilla.

Cardamom properties

  • Digestive properties: cardamom is a digestive plant par excellence. It disguises halitosis, stimulates appetite, tones the stomach, calms the gut and promotes the elimination of gases.
  • Aphrodisiac: these aromatic beans have aphrodisiac and stimulant, indicated to treat erection problems.
  • expectorant: cardamom is one of the richest sources of natural cineol. This gives very interesting expectorant to treat cough, asthma and bronchitis.
  • Antiseptic: the ancient Egyptians used these seeds to maintain good oral hygiene and fight bacteria that damage the enamel. It is traditional in Arab countries chewing cardamom seeds as a remedy for halitosis, against bacteria that cause bad breath. It can also be a good remedy for tonsillitis.
  • Anticancer: cardamom, and all spices, possesses antioxidant compounds. A scientific study has found that this spice also stimulates the action of the body’s natural antioxidants.

* More information about the medicinal properties of cardamom.

Cardamom types

  • Green cardamom or Malabar cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum minuscula o minor): variety characterized by small and bright green berries. It is most widespread as a spice since it has an intense aroma reminiscent scent of lemon and eucalyptus.
  • Brown cardamom or Ceylon Cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum major): large berries with intense flavor due to its high content of camphor. It grows wild in Sri Lanka.
  • White cardamom: It refers to any variety of cardamon, usually Malabar, which has undergone a bleaching process that has diminished the organoleptic qualities. Not as aromatic as untreated varieties.

The traditional cuisine of cardamom

  • Green cardamom is often mixed with roasted coffee to prepare Arabstyle coffee, or Gahwa coffee, also called Bedouins coffee, symbol of hospitality in Saudi Arabia.
  • Cardamom has been used since antiquity in the cuisine of India and currently remains part of mixed spices like curry and Massala.
  • It is a delicious spice to prepare Chai Tea in Indian style.
  • The Scandinavian countries use cardamom seeds when they make donuts and pastries. It also takes part part in akvavit or aquavit, a Scandinavian popular alcoholic beverage.
  • In many countries in Europe, cardamom is known as an ingredient in teas, ice cream, fruit compotes and meat products. Also its popular its use for preparing fish in vinegar and acidic pickles vegetables (pickles).
  • Some varieties of gingerbread or ginger include these seeds in their ingredients.
  • The ancient Egyptians chewed cardamom after eating to have good breath, a custom that still exists in Arab countries. Also, in some regions of North Africa, the coffees are served with a few grains of cardamom to refresh.
  • Its flavor can be paired with salad or citrus fruit, as in marmalade and apple pies. The more adventurous palates have been surprised when preparing chocolates with cardamom.

* More information: see Recipes with Cardamom.

Where to buy cardamom

Cardamom is available in Arabic stores, Hindus stores, shops, spices, herbalists, markets and some supermarkets.

punto rojoMore information on cardamon.

This article was endorsed by Vicente Martínez Centelles - Founder of the web and director. Teacher of natural sciences, expert in plants, natural remedies and botanical photography.
Written by Editorial Botanical-online team in charge of content writing

10 November, 2020

Other interesting articles

This material is for informational purposes only. In case of doubt, consult the doctor.
"Botanical-online" is not responsible for damages caused by self-medication.