Few spices can instantly transform a dish quite like cardamom. It’s perfumed, exotic and a little bit goes a long way – whether crushed and infused, or whether the seeds are scraped out of the pods with a knife tip and ground with sugar.
Quality pods are plump, green and aromatic, while low-grade cardamom is inconsistently sized and faded. The appearance is an indication of the potency and flavour. We’re confident that we’ve tracked-down some top cardamom, which really justifies its nickname as The Queen of Spices.
In the Middle East, perfumed pods are put in the spout of a dallah coffee pot to flavour the coffee as it’s poured, while in India cardamom is one of the key flavours in a chai. Whole pods might stud curries or pilaffs, or infuse sweet rice puddings – and are increasingly used in fusion-flavoured jams, compotes or crème brulees. Often the seeds are scraped out of the pods, and ground with sugar to season Scandinavian-style buns and bread.
ALSO KNOWN AS: True Cardamom, Elettaria Cardamomum
Cardamom wasn’t introduced to Guatemala until the 1920s, but production recently overtook India making it the world’s top cardamom exporter. It’s where our cardamom comes from – it's a haven for the plants which thrive in tropical rain, interspersed with intense sunshine. The ‘green gold of Guatemala’ – as it’s locally known – is hand-harvested and graded by size and colour, with large, and green pods commanding most at market.
COOK THIS SPICE
Cardamom pods should be stored in a dark, airtight container, to prevent them from becoming sun-bleached, and losing their potency.
Cardamom has been proven to posses antioxidant properties, (for more information click HERE). In Ayurvedic medicine it is used to destroy mucus, as a digestive aid and also as a breath freshener.