Do you tend to stick with the same few spices? Are you ready to up your flavor game? If so, it’s time to think beyond the salt, pepper and occasional oregano and embrace cardamom, a bold yet slightly sweet aromatic with hints of mint, lemon and smoke.
Nicknamed the “Queen of Spices” for its ability to enhance both sweet and savory dishes, cardamom comes from the seed pods of numerous plants in the ginger family. The pods (and their seeds) can be used whole or they can be ground into a fine powder. Ten cardamom pods yield approximately 1-1/2 teaspoons of powder.
There are two kinds of cardamom: green cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum) and the less popular black cardamom (Amomum costatum). You may also encounter “white cardamom,” which is essentially green cardamom that has been bleached by the sun.
Among the world’s oldest spices, cardamom originated in southern India over 4,000 years ago. It was favored by ancient Egyptians, Greeks, Romans and Vikings and made quite an impression on British colonists who set up cardamom plantations in the 19th century. Cardamom has also built up an impressive worldwide fanbase in recent years. The biggest commercial producer of the spice is Guatemala.
Cardamom is especially popular in Indian, Middle Eastern and Swedish cuisine. A simple internet search will yield recipes for everything from cardamom-infused granola, rice, soups and sauces to cardamom smoothies, cookies, ice creams, curries and sweet breads. It is commonly used to flavor beverages, such as coffee and tea, and makes a great addition to hamburgers and meatloaf.
The rich spice is also believed to offer many health benefits. It contains antioxidant, antiemetic and diuretic properties. And did we mention that it’s an excellent breath freshener?
If you’re ready to spice up your life with cardamom (you really should give it a try!), check out some of our top product picks:
This 2.2-oz. tin of organic, gluten-free cardamom pods boasts a whole lot of palate-pleasing flavor! “Crafted in small batches,” it is ideal for use in coffee (such as our spiced MCT oil coffee), tea and cakes as well as fruit and meat dishes.
These potent cardamom seeds are co-op grown in Guatemala by growers who are committed to “quality, sustainability and ethical trade.” Plus, they’re organic and non-irradiated, not to mention downright delicious.
You won’t need a mortar and pestle with this fine, fragrant cardamom powder. It’s ready for use in all your favorite dishes!
What tastes even better than almond butter? Almond butter blended with cardamom and creamy cashews. Low in sodium and free of gluten and GMOs!
Want to unwind with a cup of ancient healing tea? It doesn’t get much better than this one, which is enlivened with a burst of sweet, spicy and warming flavors.
Searching for a unique, natural, nourishing lip balm? Made with “rich, cold-pressed organic sesame seed oil,” this balm boasts “notes of spicy Guatemalan cardamom,” along with soothing almond and Turkish rose.
This clinically proven dental floss “removes up to 55 percent more plaque” and features a natural cardamom flavor. Great for those with braces!