Cardamom is a spice made from the seeds of several plants in the ginger family. It can be green or black and is used to flavor both food and drink. It has a strong, unique taste with notes of lemon, ginger and cinnamon, and a spicy, sweet, peppery aroma. The flavor of cardamom is best preserved when stored as whole pods so that the seeds remain intact, then the pods are ground into a spice. Cardamom combines well with other sweet spices such as fennel, and with pungent spices like cloves.
Cardamom was first grown in the mountains of Sri Lanka and brought to North America in the early 1900s. Commonly used in Indian cuisine, the spice is also used in baking sweet breads in Nordic countries, and as a spice for flavoring sweet dishes, coffee and tea in the Middle East. Also, cardamom is a frequent component in spice mixes, such as Indian masalas and Thai curry pastes.
In the 6th century, the spice found its way into traditional Hindu, or Ayurvedic, medicine, the world’s oldest holistic healing system. It was considered an excellent digestive, especially beneficial in relieving bloating and intestinal gas. Cardamom seeds are often chewed, originally as a medicine, but today typically for pleasure or to increase the flow of saliva.
Benefits of Cardamom
Some research suggests Cardamom may have the following benefits:
- Cancer Prevention