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Name Variations Edit
- green cardamom
- brown cardamom
- black cardamom
About Cardamom Edit
Cardamom is a spice that is popular in many countries. It is believed that it was brought to India in 1214 AD. However, from then on it was grown in India and a number of other Asian countries like Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Sumatra, Nepal, Thailand, and even in other places like Central America.
Cardamom is a member of the Ginger family called Zingiberaceae. There are three variations of them, and they are Elettaria, Amomum and Aframomum.
Elettaria is commonly known as cardamom. It is also referred to as green cardamom or true cardamom, and is supplied from India to Malaysia
Amomum is commonly called cardamom, Siamese cardamom, Kravan, Java cardamom, Bengal cardamom, white/green/red/black cardamom, Guinea grains, or even grains of paradise. This variation is distributed in Asia and Australia
Aframomum is commonly known as cardamom or Madagascar cardamom, and is distributed in Madagascar and mainland Africa.
Just like the clove is used for cooking as well as medicinal purposes, so is the cardamom. It is used in a variety of dishes and is used to treat the teeth and gums just like the clove is used. However, it is also use to treat throat problems, pulmonary tuberculosis, inflammation of eyelids, lung congestion, and digestive disorders. Cardamom is also used to develop an antidote for venom from snake and scorpion.
In traditional medicine, species of the genus Amomum are commonly used. Amomum villosum has been used for treating constipation, dysentery, stomachaches, and other types of digestive problems.
Most commonly used for cooking purposes is the True cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum). It has a strong pungent aromatic smell, and is a spice as well as medicinal herb. The true cardamom plant is a perennial plant that grows up to be around 6–12 ft in height.
In Indian and other Asian cuisine, the green seedpods of the cardamom plant are dried. The seeds are extracted are used in either their whole or ground form. Ground cardamom is commonly used in Indian recipes, and is also one of the chief ingredients in masala chai. Cardamom is also used to flavor tea in coffee in places like the Middle East and Iran.
Indeed, the cardamom, especially the true cardamom is a herb that is widely used in foods as well as a remedy for a number of stomach and respiratory tract.
Production of Cardamom Edit
Ever since cardamom was brought to India, it has been propagated here, and it has spread to nearby regions. The ideas of growing this wonderful herb and spice has also spread along with it, enabling growers from all over to learn more.
Cardamom is propagated vegetatively through division of its rhizomes or also of its seeds. In order to conduct vegetative propagation, rhizomes that belong to clumps of growing plants are best suited. They are separated into small clumps and then are planted in prepared pits.
Seeds of the cardamom may be accumulated from well-ripened fruits. Thee fruits should belong to a healthy plant in order to make sure that newer propagated plants are healthy. They can be accumulated, washed and grown straight away.
Seeds of the cardamom can be sown in deep rich soil. The soil could be prepared with rotted organic matter on elevated beds. The cardamom plant favors loamy soils that are rich in organic matter. More specifically, the soil conditions that best suit the growth of the cardamom plant are acid ones of a pH that ranges 5.0 to 6.5.
The cardamom plant grows well in shady areas with moderate sunshine. The cardamom seed begins to germinate around 5-7 weeks after it is sown. They are ready for re-transplantation after they catch height of 25-30 cm and bear a couple of leaves.
Cardamom plants should be planted about 6-18 inches apart. You should not provide any physical support for seedlings. The plant beds need to be watered moderately, and too much watering will not suit the plant’s growth. It is a good idea to spray the cardamom plant with a Bordeaux mixture in order to prevent fungal attacks.
Weeding the cardamom plant regularly is important for production. You need to make sure you remove old and dying shoots too, and in addition to this regulating the shade, mulching, manuring, application of fertilizer are also important.
Cardamom plants are known to grow abundantly in altitudes that range from 900 to 1370 m above sea level. A warm and humid atmosphere and also distributed rainfall are essential for good growth of the cardamom plant. The best possible time for planting cardamom plants is thought to be from June to July.
Indeed, there are a number of important steps that are required in order to grow cardamom plants. These steps need to be followed carefully in order for newly grown cardamom plants to be produced properly.
Buying Cardamom Edit
One of the world’s ancient spices is cardamom. It is thought to be expensive like saffron, but is a spice and herb well worth adding to your food and worth using as a medicinal treatment. It is a spice that has been popular in quite a few regions and has been used by various people in history. The Vikings for one came across it and spread it in Scandinavia. Indo China, Sri Lanka, Guatemala and Tanzania are other regions that were used it in the past and still use it today.
The ancient Egyptians chewed onto cardamom seeds and used it as a tooth cleaner while the Greeks used it as a perfume. If you decide to buy cardamom and use it for a number of purposes you need to be careful. The reason for this is that there are many counterfeit cardamoms available in the market today. This is not to say that they are not real. They are real but they are not the original kind that has all the cooking properties as well as medicinal ones. To name a few of the cardamom alternatives, there are winged Java cardamom, Siam cardamom, Nepal cardamom, and bastard cardamom. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why the cardamom that we consider to be the genuine one is called the true cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum).
Generally, the two Indian cardamoms are Malabar cardamom and Mysore cardamom. The Mysore variety is known to contain elevated levels of cineol and limonene. This means that this cardamom has a stronger aroma to it.
Generally, you should be aware that a cardamom belongs to seeds of a ginger-type plant. The small black seeds of the cardamom are contained within a pod. You should also know that these seeds are contained in three double rows with around six seeds in each row. The cardamom pods may be anywhere between 5-20 mm in length. The larger cardamom is commonly known as the ‘black’ cardamom though it is actually brown. The smaller cardamom is green.
Though you may get the cardamom seeds open in the market, it is better to purchase them in their whole pods. In this way they will last longer, and storage is far easier.
You should store cardamoms separately in airtight containers in order to avoid their aroma spreading to other spices. Cardamoms should also be maintained in their pods until it is time to use this spice. If not, the cardamom will lose a lot of its aroma and will have less of an effect on the food. Also, keep in mind that when buying cardamom you need to make sure that the cardamom smells fresh and looks fresh too, and also has a strong enough aroma.
Cardamom Variations Edit
Cardamom is a very useful ingredient that is considered to be one of the most expenses of all spices. They are of several kinds, but can be categorized under one family, which is the Ginger family, called the Zingiberaceae. In this family, there are three variations. They are:
Amomum, which is commonly known as cardamom, Java cardamom, Bengal cardamom, white/green/red/black cardamom, Siamese cardamom, Kravan, Guinea grains, and even grains of paradise. This variation is known in Asia and Australia
Aframomum, which is known as cardamom or Madagascar cardamom is available widely in Madagascar and mainland Africa.
Elettaria, which is well known as cardamom, is also known as green cardamom or true cardamom. It is available all over India.
You need to be aware of the true cardamom and what its characteristics are. This is because the true cardamom has all the properties that are so well talked about regarding food spice as well as medicinal treatment. You should know that there are alternative cardamoms available that are of a lower grade. They are also known under the following names: Java cardamom, Siam cardamom, Nepal cardamom, and bastard cardamom. You need to remember that the only true is the Elettaria cardamomum.
In India, there are two general variations that you should know about again. These are the Malabar cardamom and Mysore cardamom, of which the Mysore variety is known to contain higher levels of cineol and limonene, which means that this cardamom has a stronger aroma.
Generally speaking, you can identify cardamoms according to their size, shape and smell. You should know that the cardamom belongs to seeds of a ginger-type plant. It is the small black seeds of the cardamom that hold the main aroma of the spice. They are contained within a pod.
You should also be aware that these seeds are contained in three double rows, with each row having six seeds. The pods may be between 5-20 mm in length.
Identifying what a real or true cardamom is important especially if you want the real spice for treatment and cooking dishes tat you want to turn out good. You should also know about storage and preparation procedures of cardamom as well.
Preparing Cardamom Edit
In order to prepare cardamom for cooking, there are several things that you need to know. First of all you should make sure that you have the right kind of cardamom. The right cardamom is the true cardamom that is also known as the Elettaria. This is believed to be the genuine kind of cardamom that may be used for cooking and also as a remedy for a number of stomach and respiratory conditions.
In order to prepare cardamom, you would also have to know about which foods they are used in. Generally, there are two ways that people prepare cardamom. You can either use it as a whole or remove the seeds and throw away the pod. In cooking biryani normally people use the whole pod. This is because cooking local dishes like biryani allow the cardamom let out its juices from its seeds as the dish cooks. The same procedure is applied to making masala tea, which is popular in India. The cardamom is boiled with the other ingredients in the tea to produce a unique tasting tea. Other dishes that the whole cardamom is used for includes dishes such as qorma, in which the qorma cooks up well and the juices from the cardamom emerge.
In addition to the whole cardamom being used, the pod is opened in some dishes. This helps the essence to spread as quickly as possible. This procedure is suited to dishes that cook over short periods or for introducing the spice into Indian sweets. Indeed, cardamom is used in a wide variety of foods that may be spicy as well as sweet.
Cardamom is a versatile spice that is used in a number of dishes, and is also used to chew onto to. There are a number of advantages by chewing onto the spice. You do not need to prepare it. You can simply start by sucking onto the whole cardamom, and this is good for the throat, respiratory tract, teeth, breath, and stomach too. Perhaps all you need to do is rinse it with clean water before popping it into your mouth.
Depending on what dish you are preparing or how you want to use cardamom you will need to either use it as a whole cardamom or remove the seeds from its pods.
Cooking Cardamom Edit
One of the strongest spices you could include in a dish is cardamom. This spice is known far and wide for its aromatic characteristic. To look at it is a simple looking ingredient that contains seed on the inside. There are several kinds of cardamom, and the only one that is believed to be the best for a number of reasons is the true cardamom that is known as the Elettaria.
Generally, in Asian cuisine, there are several dishes that use cardamom. In dishes such as qorma and biryani, cardamom is integral. Cardamom in both these dishes is cooked into the gravy. For almost as long as the whole dish cooks the cardamom cooks as well.
Generally, cardamom is treated like other ingredients in recipes such as ones for biryani or qorma. When the meat is being cooked and the spices are being added, cardamom is added along with the other spices, however, it is spices like cardamom that take over the dish's flavor profile very quickly. Therefore, you need to be very careful when you add this spice to any dish due to the fact that too much of it will certainly spoil the dish. You need to put in the exact amount, in the right form as well. If the recipe says to use whole cardamom, you should stick to that instruction and not use the open or ground version. If you do so, you will find that the aroma of cardamom will be way too strong. If you only have the open or ground Cardamom available, use it very sparingly and only add small amounts of it until you get the desired results you are looking for.
In addition to cooking biryani or qorma, when you use cardamom to cook any thing else like even masala chai, you need to know how many whole cardamoms to add in. This is especially the case when you are cooking in large amounts because if you misjudge the required amount you can end up ruining a good dish.
For some dishes you may not need to cook the cardamom. Like when you make kheer of different kinds, you may simply have to add in the seeds of cardamom and not the whole pod. This process is simple, and makes kheer taste great. So, generally, one can say that the manner in which cardamom should be added is dependent on the requirement of a recipe.
Cooking cardamom requires a different process, and here again, this depends on the dish you are cooking. Cardamom is indeed a popular spice that is known far and wide, and may be used to make ordinary dishes taste great when used in the correct proportion, as much so as it can ruin ordinary dishes when used incorrectly.
Storing Cardamom Edit
Cardamom is an interesting spice that has been around for many years. It is a spice that is considered to be quite expensive, but well worth the price. For years, people have experimented various techniques in storing cardamom. Some people have thought of leaving them in their dry form on an open shelf. They had thought that the aroma would help to create a nice atmosphere and that the cardamom was strong enough to last out that way. However, it is best to contain the aroma so that the cardamom retains a maximum amount of its freshness and aroma.
Generally, it is thought that the best way to store cardamom is in a glass or plastic container that closes airtight. This is the best thing to do in order to prevent moisture from getting to it.
One important thing to remember is that you could keep this spice separately and certainly not with other spices of foods. This is because its aroma would over power the others. In addition to this, it is a good idea for you to put loose bits of paper in the jar in which you store cardamom. This is because it will help to absorb any moisture that is present in the jar. This would keep the cardamom fresh as well. However, in most cases, the cardamom will not need this additional help, as the pod is sufficient to prevent the seeds from getting damp. Yet, it must be remembered that you should never wet the cardamom when it is being stored. It might go bad and develop a bad flavor if this happens.
When you have powdered cardamom to store, you need to be a little extra careful not to let it get damp or interfere with other foods. This is because in the powdered form it is most likely for the cardamom to be effected. It is thought that cardamom in its powdered form is difficult to store for long because it can get spoiled easily. Therefore, it is best to purchase and store cardamom in its whole form, and powder it yourself if you need to use it that way.
Powdered spices are not at all ideal for storing because of the fact that they can be spoiled easily and they lose their effect easily too. It is better to have any spice in its whole form until you need it in its powdered form and then grind it.
Cardamom Nutrition Edit
Cardamom is a spice that has been known for many years now. Through time, people around the world have realized its qualities, and have experimented with this spice in a number of ways. By experimenting with it and other spices, various qualities have been revealed. One of these qualities includes the fact that it is a tremendous component to have in traditional dishes. Some people in the past have used cardamom for various purposes. They have used them as deodorants and breath fresheners because of their capability to transform a person’s stale breath.
Aside from the cooking qualities and anti septic action it has on one’s breath, cardamom is known to have a considerable nutritional level. The following is a break up of the number of vitamins and minerals are present in a certain amount of cardamom.
Per 100 grams, cardamom has: 0 gms sugars, 8.3 grams of water, 311 kcal of calories, 68.5 grams of carbohydrates, 10.8 grams of protein, 6.7 grams of fat, 0.7 gms Saturated Fat, 0.4 gms Polyunsaturated Fat, 0.9 gms Monounsaturated Fat, 11.3 grams of dietary fiber, and 5.8 grams of ash.
As far mineral content is concerned, per hundred grams, cardamom contains 383.0 mgs of Calcium, 14.0 mgs Iron, 229.0 mgs Magnesium, 178.0 mgs Phosphorus, 1119.0 mgs Potassium, 18.0 mgs Sodium, 28 gms Dietary Fiber, 0 mgs Cholesterol, and 7.0 Zinc mg.
Vitamins are present in the following proportions per hundred grams of cardamom: 21 mgs Vitamin C, 0.2 mgs Vitamin B6, 0.2 gms Thiamin (B1), 0.2 mgs Riboflavin (B2), 1.1 mgs Niacin mgs, and 29.0 mcg Folate.
As you can see from the above break up of the nutritional content in cardamom, it is a surprisingly nutritious spice. With its low calorie level and suggested research, this might be a very good spice to consume on a regular basis.
Cardamom Nutritional Research Edit
The cardamom is an interesting spice to investigate because it has a number of nutritious food substances in it. The low level of calories and zero sugar levels are encouraging. Also, the mineral and vitamin content is quite intriguing, as there are several of them present in each cardamom. In addition to the properties that this spice has for being used in foods, it is an amazing breath freshener, and is also capable of curing you of mouth and throat problems, and even stomach problems.
In addition to this, latest research has revealed that there is a possibility that this spice can result in lower heart disease risks. It is also thought to be good for lowering cholesterol levels. In addition to these advantages, it is thought that cardamom can also help the flow of insulin in those people that suffer from limited flow. These are alarming results in a positive sense, and the cardamom’s value seems to grow more and more with time. However, further research is yet to be conducted. Indeed, if further results confirm these possibilities, it will surely be great news to those who wish to stay healthy through eating the right foods and the right spices too.