In India Cardamom is often referred to as the “queen of spices” (pepper is considered the king). A member of the ginger Zinziberaceae family the spice cardamom intensifies both savory and sweet flavors. Cardamom’s aroma is rugged, but gentle, fruity and biting. The taste is light and lemony. Our Cardamom pods come from India.
Cardamom also suffers from a bit of an identity crisis as it is sometimes misspelled as cardamon or cardamum and it is often confused with Grains of Paradise. During the harvesting process the timing is critical to ensure not only optimum quality but maximum yield as well. When fully ripened the cardamom pod splits open, which allows the seeds to be blown away or fall to the ground and get exposed to the air – so the pods must be picked while still in the slightly immature green state and just as the seeds begin to turn dark (inside the pod). The seed-containing Cardamom capsules are then sold as green or bleached pods.
In addition to the cardamon seed powder we also offer cardamom seeds and whole cardamom pods. Most often recipes call for the whole or ground seeds rather than the full pod. Top quality cardamom seeds are ripe, with a hard shell, and are a dark brown in color.
There’s nothing subtle about cardamom and its complex flavor is slightly floral, sweet and spicy with citrusy notes. The aroma will open up your sinuses with a strong menthol scent while leaving the tongue with a warm antiseptic sensation comparable to eucalyptus with peppery undertones. Some have described it as spicy and cola-like.
Cardamom is a staple ingredient in Berbere, Curry Powder and Garam Masala. We also carry the uniquely flavored Black Cardamom Pods.
Cardamom works well in combination with caraway, chili powder, cinnamon, coriander, cumin, ginger, paprika and pepper.
One of our favorite recipes using cardamom seed powder is the sweet and savory Cardamom Spice Cake.