What is Cardamom

April 10, 2016 | By

Cardamom is a highly aromatic seed capsule found in a tropical Asian plant called Elettaria Cardamomum. A member of the ginger family these seeds have long been used as a spice as well as for medicinal purposes. Cardamom has a slightly sweet and savory taste to it and can be used in both sweet and savory dishes to enhance flavor. Native to India it grows wild as a weed in some regions of the country. Due to its popularity it is cultivated in other regions such as Sir Lanka, Indonesia, and Guatemala.

One of the oldest spices known it has been widely used throughout history. In ancient Egypt and Rome it was used in perfumes. The ancient Egyptians are well known for having used a wide variety of herbs to treat ailments. Ancient texts indicate that Cardamom was used as a way to treat digestive issues and sooth flatulence. The Vikings introduced the spice to Northern Europe where it is popular in breads and pastries. The ancient Greeks brought the spice back from India during the conquests of Alexander the Great. Due to its popularity in the ancient world it was a widely traded throughout the Mediterrian.

Cardamom is used to treat a wide variety of issues such as heartburn, gas, and constipation. It has also been used to treat the common cold and respiratory issues such as bronchitis. Many believe in its cleansing properties as well as the ability to boost the immune system. From ancient times through today Cardamom has been valued for its medicinal properties. Today most medicinal uses occur by those that practice alternative medicine. In India it is still widely used by those that practice Ayurveda, an ancient system of medication.

In cooking Cardamom has different uses based on the region. In Western nations it is popular in pastries, cakes, and breads. Throughout Scandinavia Cardamom is used as a substitute for cinnamon. In the Middle East it used to flavor coffee and other drinks In the East it is used in curies and flavored drinks. This versatile spice in combination with others is often used to create unique flavors. The seeds are what are used most, but in India the pods are sometimes used as well.

Whether it is used for medicinal, cooking, or as a fragrance Cardamom has a rich history and is still highly sought after. One of the world’s oldest and most diverse spices Cardamom adds a unique flavor to foods and for some is said to treat what ails you as well.

Category: Food

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