• The Fantastic Spices World
  • The Fantastic Spices World
  • The Fantastic Spices World
  • The Fantastic Spices World

CARDAMOM ( Elettaria cardamomum White et Mason )
Names in Other Languages:

English Green Cardamom
French Cardamome (vert)
German (Grüner) Kardamom, (Grüner) Cardamom
Spanish Cardamomo
Italian Cardamomo (verde)
Turkish Kakule tohomu
Japanese カルダモン Karudamon

FAMILY: Zingiberaceae

ORIGIN:   : Cardamom is extensively used in Scandinavia, Australia and Asian countries, specially India.

Green cardamom pods and seeds

GENERAL DESCRIPTION:

Cardamom comes from the seeds of a ginger-like plant. The small, brown-black sticky seeds are contained in a pod in three double rows with about six seeds in each row. The larger variety of seeds known as ‘black’, being brown and the smaller being green. White-bleached pods are also available. The pods are roughly triangular in cross section and oval or oblate. Their dried surface is rough and furrowed, the large ‘blacks’ having deep wrinkles. The fruit capsules, which are collected just before maturity, are three-sided, 8 - 25 mm long and 2 - 4 mm wide and have three compartments containing a total of 15 - 20 seeds. The texture of the pod is that of tough paper. Pods are available whole or split and the seeds are sold loose or ground.Cardamom is one of the most valuable spices in the world and is considered to be one of the most expensive spice after saffron and vanilla.

USEFUL PARTS: Seed pods and essential oil.

SENSORY PROPERTIES: Sweet and aromatic, very pleasant.

MAIN CONSTITUENTS:


Volatile oil (3-6%, containing terpene and terpineol), cineol, starch, gum. The content of essential oil in the seeds is strongly dependent on storage conditions, but may be as high as 8%. In the oil were found α-terpineol 45%, myrcene 27%, limonene 8%, menthone 6%, β-phellandrene 3%, 1,8-cineol 2%, sabinene 2% and heptane 2%. Other sources report 1,8-cineol (20 to 50%), α-terpenylacetate (30%), sabinene, limonene (2 to 14%) and borneol.[1]

MAIN USES IN FOOD PROCESSING:

Cardamom is used to prepare coffee in Arabic countries; which is prepared by adding freshly ground seeds to coffee powder or by steeping a few pods in hot coffee.Cardamom is also used for cookery in the spicy mixture and it is often employed for rice and meat dishes.

In European cuisines cardamom is used in biscuit recipes and sweet breads.

Cardamım-flavoured sweets are also found. Cardamom seeds lose their flavour quickly when ground. Even if left whole, the seeds show a loss of about 40% of the essential oil per year. Therefore, only whole cardamom pods should be bought and the pods crushed prior to use. Green pods are significantly superior in fragrance to the yellow or white bleached ones

Cardamom is used mainly in the Near and Far East culinary and it features in curries, is essential rice dishes and gives character to pulse dishes. Cardamom is often included in Indian sweet dishes and drinks. At least partially because of its high price, it is seen as a ‘festive’ spice.

The pods can be used whole or split, it is cooked in Indian substantial meals. The seeds can be bruised and fried before adding main ingredients to the pan, or pounded with other spices are required generally. The pod itself is neutral in flavour and not generally used, can leave an unpleasant flavour when left in dishes.

Cardamom is used as a spice primarily in Christmas baking, sausage mixtures, curry powder for many Indian dishes and rice and in the liqueur, flavors and fragrances and pharmaceutical industries.



MEDICINAL PROPERTIES:

A stimulant and carminative, cardamom is not used in Western medicine for it own properties, but forms a flavouring and basis for medicinal preparations for indigestion and flatulence using other substances, entering into a synergetic relationship with them.

It has some aphrodisiac qualities to it and the ancient Indians regarded it as a cure for obesity. It has been used as a digestive since ancient times.The seeds can be consumed as a drink inside hot water for its beneficial effects to the health.

REFERENCES and SOURCES:

[1]http://www.uni-graz.at/~katzer/engl/Bixa_ore.html

http://www.theepicentre.com/Spices/annatto.html

http://www.rain-tree.com/annato.htm

http://www.herbco.com/p-503-annatto-seed-whole.aspx

http://www.foodcolors.net/annattomedicinal.html