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Green Cardamon

Spice : Green Cardamom

(Botanical Name : Elettaria subulatum)


Cardamom is often named as the “third most expensive” spice in the world (after saffron and vanilla), and the high price reflects the high reputation of this most pleasantly scented spice.

The name cardamom (sometimes written cardamon) is used for species within three genera of the ginger family Zingiberaceae, namely Elettaria, Amomum and Aframomum.

The three main genera of the ginger family that are named as forms of cardamom are distributed as follows:

Elettaria (commonly called cardamom, green cardamom, or true cardamom) is distributed from India to Malaysia.

Amomum (commonly known as black cardamom, Kravan, Java cardamom, Bengal cardamom, Siamese cardamom, white or red cardamom) is distributed mainly in Asia and Australia.

Aframomum (Madagascar cardamom, grains of paradise) is distributed in mainland Africa and Madagascar.

Here we will be discussing, Green Cardamom, Elettaria subulatum

Spice Description

Cardamom has a strong, unique taste, with an intensely aromatic fragrance. Cardamom is best stored in pod form, because once the seeds are exposed or ground, they quickly lose their flavour.

It is the dried, un ripened fruit of the plant. The small, brown-black sticky seeds are contained in a pod in three double rows with about six seeds in each row.

The fruit capsules, green in colour, 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 (2 - 4 mm in diameter).

The seeds are found in oval shaped, roughly triangular fruit pods that are between 1/4 and 1 inch long. Their dried surface is rough and furrowed, the large ‘blacks’ having deep wrinkles. The texture of the pod is that of tough paper. Pods are available whole or split and the seeds are sold loose or ground.

They have warm and eucalyptine with camphorous and lemony undertones flavour. Enclosed in the fruit pods are tiny, brown, aromatic seeds which are slightly pungent to taste. Cardamom pods are generally green but are also available in bleached white pod form.

Plant Description

It is a perennial bush of the ginger family, with sheathed stems reaching 10-12 feet in height.

It has a large tuberous rhizome and long, dark green leaves 30-60 cm (1-2 ft) long, 5-15 cm (2-6”) wide.

Trailing leafy stalks grow from the plant base at ground level, these bear the seed pods.

The flowers are white with blue stripes and yellow borders.

The fruit is a small capsule with 8 to 16 brown seeds; the seeds are used as a spice.

Other Names

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