Whole Cardamom Seeds: At a Glance
Cardamom, the Queen of All Spices, is often considered second to only saffron in value. It is one of the world’s most ancient and prized spices. Our whole cardamom seeds come from Guatemala and are of the green cardamom variety.
Compared with black cardamom, green cardamom has a sweet floral flavor with hints of eucalyptus. It works well with both sweet and savory dishes. It has less menthol and smoky flavor than black cardamom. Green cardamom is popular in Indian food and in baked goods in many Nordic countries.
Cardamom seeds are the decorticated seeds of the cardamom pod. Cardamom pods are the dried fruit of the cardamom plant, which belongs in the same family as several kinds of ginger, turmeric, and a number of other valuable spices and medicinal plants.
Cardamom seeds provide complex floral notes of lemon, mint, and camphor. They are used to intensify both sweet and spicy flavors.
Cardamom is also commonly used for its medicinal properties to treat stomach and digestion issues.
Cooking With Whole Cardamom Seeds
Cardamom seeds have a strong and complex flavor that complements both sweet and savory dishes. Notes of lemon, mint, and smoke are made even stronger by roasting or heating the seeds to release their oils. The seeds can be used whole, or ground them using a home mortar and pestle or a spice grinder. Grinding should only be done just before using the seeds to maintain their flavor.
Some ways to cook with cardamom include:
- In baked goods: Cardamom is often used in Sweden, Scandinavia, Finland, Norway, and other European countries in baked goods. It can be found in apple pie, pastries, cakes, cookies, and other sweet treats (such as Swedish cardamom buns).
- In beverages: From mulled wine to hot cider to coffee, cardamom seeds have been used to add a depth and flavor to many warm drinks. Ground with coffee beans, cardamom seeds give Turkish coffee a fragrant and festive twist.
- In savory meals: Blended with cinnamon, coriander, cumin, and other spices, cardamom seeds provide a nutty and spicy flavor to lamb curry. Cardamom seeds can be found in many meat and stew recipes around the world.
Cardamom is also known to have health and medicinal properties. Cardamom is used in many cultures for digestion, oral health, blood pressure, and as a diuretic and antidepressant.
Whole Cardamom Seeds: History and Origination
Cardamom originated in southern India, but today it can be found in Sri Lanka, Guatemala, India, China, and Tanzania. Families traditionally harvested completely ripe cardamom pods, drying them outdoors or using a wood fire.
Production of cardamom began in ancient times. In Sanskrit texts, cardamom was referred to as ela. In the third millennium B.C., Babylonians and Assyrians traded cardamom in Asia and the Mediterranean. In ancient Greece and Rome, cardamom was used in perfumes, and Greek physician Hippocrates wrote of cardamom’s therapeutic properties. Egyptians even used cardamom as a breath freshener.
During the medieval period, Venice was the main exporter of cardamom to the West. Then, in the 16th century, Portugal conquered the west coast of India, taking over the trade. Still, the trade did not become widely popular in Europe for three centuries. After World War II, cardamom was introduced to Guatemala, where it became one of the country’s main agricultural products.
Cultivation of Whole Cardamom Seeds
Cardamom comes from the perennial cardamom plant, which is of medium height, growing to about e meters. The fruit actually grows on leafy stalks at the base of the plant. These plants grow best under indirect sunlight.
The cardamom plant can grow at altitudes of up to 1,400 meters above sea level. It grows best in areas where the soil is thick and the landscape is covered with vegetation, including trees, to provide shade for the plants. In these areas, the soil remains moist and plants that grow close to the ground, like cardamom, tend to thrive.
The tree produces fruit when it is 2 or 3 years old. Fruit should only be harvested when fully mature and ripe; when ripe, the fruit is easily removed from the plant stem.
Clean cardamom pods are dried immediately after harvest to achieve maximum flavor potential. Traditionally, cardamom pods are dried in an open-air setting, but can also be dried using wood fires or electric dryers. The seeds can then be removed and stored.
About Our Whole Cardamom Seeds
Our cardamom seeds come from Guatemala, where it has been referred to as green gold. Today, Guatemala is the world’s leading producer and exporter of cardamom, followed by Sri Lanka and India. Cardamom is one of the country’s largest agricultural products.
The cardamom from Guatemala is Elettaria cardamomum, originating from India. It is a significant cash crop for smallholders in the country.
Our cardamom seeds are high quality and sourced from excellent producers in Guatemala.