(Elettaria cardamomum )
Plant family: Zingiberaceae (ginger family).
Origin: Southern India and Sri Lanka.
Used plant part: Seeds.
Sensoric quality: Sweet and aromatic, very pleasant.
Green cardamom pods and seeds
Use : 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. Despite
its numerous applications in the cooking styles of Sri Lanka, India
and Iran, 60% of the world production is exported to Arab (South
West Asia, North Africa) countries, where the larger part is used to
prepare coffee. Cardamom-flavoured coffee, almost a symbol for Arab
hospitality, can be prepared by simply adding freshly ground
cardamom seeds to the coffee powder; alternatively, a few cardamom
pods may be steeped in the hot coffee.
The inflorescences develop on separate, horizontal stems that spread
along the ground. They are loose panicles about 2 ft (0.6 m) long,
consisting of many small blossoms that have white or yellowish
petals with lilac veins and pink or yellow margins. The fruits are
thin-walled, smooth-skinned, oblong, greenish capsules about 3/4 in
(1.9 cm) long. Each contains 15-20 aromatic reddish brown seeds.