Cardamom is an ancient spice, historically taken from India and brought to Europe during the time of the Crusades. It is a powerful aphrodisiac.
It is ever more often found on our food table, as a desired ingredient in coffee, a pleasant addition to cocktails or as a spice in the preparation of sweets or smoked meat. Cardamom is also a major part in the composition of curry.
Cardamom is a flavorful spice from the ginger family Zingiberaceae. It is a perennial plant, reaching heights from 6.5 ft (2 m) to about 13 ft (4 m). The green seed pods, which are dried (the seeds of the plant are needed), are used for culinary purposes. They usually come in myriad colors.
Green cardamom is considered high quality, while brown cardamom is considered low quality. The spice has a slightly spicy aftertaste and as is typical for all Oriental plants - it has a strong flavor and a eucalyptus aroma. Nowadays, it is mostly cultivated in Nepal, Thailand and Central America.
This spice has applications in the components of flavorful blends or coffee. Centuries past, its use was a privilege only to a select few, but after the Crusades spread it throughout Europe, cardamom received its due popularity and recognition.
This unique spice is used in the making of bakery goods and sweets. It is also used to season smoked meat. If you grind it into powder, you can add it to a marinade and fruit salads.
Cardamom can nicely enhance the flavor of coffee or tea. In countries in the Middle East, such as Iran, this is a common practice. In India however, it is an ingredient found in warm and tonic drinks.
If you want to obtain a pungent camphoric aroma, dry some cardamom leaves and fry them lightly in oil.
If you want to escape from your everyday routine for a moment, and enter the mystique and charm of the Orient, use the following recipe for Arabic coffee.
You will need - 2/5 cup of water, 1 1/2 tbsp of freshly ground coffee, 1 tsp brown sugar, cinnamon, cardamom and vanilla. All of the ingredients and water must be put in a coffee pot and heated until the mixture comes to a boil. Do not filter.
There are no known health risks associated with using cardamom, unless you are allergic to it. In that case, be careful.
Studies show that some of the most highly allergenic agents are essential oils, which are a part of the chemical components of cardamom.