Suppression

Cardamon

Category: Food

Type

Voluntary

Introduction and description

Cardamom (or cardamon) refers to several plants of the similar genera Elettaria and Amomum in the ginger family Zingiberaceae. Both genera are native to India, Pakistan, Nepal and Bhutan; they are recognised by their small seed pods, triangular in cross-section and spindle-shaped, with a thin, papery, outer shell and small black seeds. Guatemala is the biggest producer and exporter of cardamom in the world, followed by India. Some other countries, such as Sri Lanka, have also begun to cultivate it. Elettaria pods are light green while Amomum pods are larger and dark brown.

It is the world's third most expensive spice by weight, outstripped in market value only by saffron and vanilla. 

Medicinal uses

Cardamon is used in a number of traditional medicine systems - traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurvedic medicine in India, Pakistan, Japan, Korea and Vietnam.  It is being extensively researched because of its potential healing properties when eaten.

Individual seeds are sometimes covered in a sweet coating and chewed and used as a breath freshener - "cardamom to neutralize the toughest breath odors" and green cardamom is generally used in South Asia to treat infections in teeth and gums and to prevent and treat throat troubles, indicating it has antibacterial action and possible antiviral action.

The spice contains a number of interesting substances medicinally - α-terpineol 45%, myrcene 27%, limonene 8%, menthone 6%, β-phellandrene 3%, 1,8-cineol 2%, sabinene 2% and heptane 2%. (Phytochemistry, 26, 207, 1987) Other sources report 1,8-cineol (20 to 50%), α-terpenylacetate (30%), sabinene, limonene (2 to 14%) and borneol.

Nutrients

The table below shows some of the mineral and vitamin content of cardamon.  Like many spices, it has a high potassium content.
Source: US National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference
Release 26   Software v.1.3.1 Nutrient values and weights are for edible portion

Nutrient

Unit


Value per 100 g

Proximates

Water

g

8.28

Energy

kcal

311

Protein

g

10.76

Total lipid (fat)

g

6.70

Carbohydrate, by difference

g

68.47

Fiber, total dietary

g

28.0

Minerals

Calcium, Ca

mg

383

Iron, Fe

mg

13.97

Magnesium, Mg

mg

229

Phosphorus, P

mg

178

Potassium, K

mg

1119

Sodium, Na

mg

18

Zinc, Zn

mg

7.47

Vitamins

Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid

mg

21.0

Thiamin

mg

0.198

Riboflavin

mg

0.182

Niacin

mg

1.102

Vitamin B-6

mg

0.230

Vitamin B-12

µg

0.00

Vitamin A, RAE

µg

0

Vitamin A, IU

IU

0

Vitamin D (D2 + D3)

µg

0.0

Vitamin D

IU

0

Lipids

Fatty acids, total saturated

g

0.680

Fatty acids, total monounsaturated

g

0.870

Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated

g

0.430

Cholesterol

mg

0

Method

Cardamom has a strong, unique taste, with an intensely aromatic, resinous fragrance. Black cardamom has a distinctly more smokey, though not bitter, aroma. Little is needed to impart flavour. It is best stored in pod form because once the seeds are exposed or ground, they quickly lose their flavor.

Sweet - Cardamon is used in sweet dishes, for example, baking in Nordic countries, such as in the Finnish sweet bread pulla or in the Scandinavian bread Julekake. In the Middle East, green cardamom  is used as a spice for sweet dishes. In South Asia, green cardamom is often used in traditional sweets.

Drinks - It is also used in drinks. It is an ingredient in Far East masala chai (spiced tea), as well as a traditional flavouring in coffee and tea in the Middle East. Cardamom pods are ground together with coffee beans to produce a powdered mixture of the two, which is boiled with water to make coffee. It has been known to be used for gin making and in tisanes

Savoury - Cardamon is a common ingredient in many savoury dishes and is a staple spice in Indian cooking. Black cardamom is sometimes used in garam masala for curries. It is occasionally used as a garnish in basmati rice and other dishes.

One of my favourite fresh chutneys is made using chopped dates, chopped spring onion, ground cardamon and tamarind paste. 

How it works

see observations

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