Basic information of cardamom
Cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum) is lower shrub that has spear leaves and short stems. At the top of the stem in flowering it will start to create flowers in light green or purple color.
After completing flowering, the cardamom produces fruits, which at first are green, and later obtained a white to brown color, which is a sign of over ripeness plant.
Green cardamom pods carry about 20 aromatic seeds, which have a brown or black color, and size as a grain of pepper.
Today, in the market can be found two varieties of cardamom - black and white. Today it is considered that the only original cardamom is - green cardamom.
By its price cardamom moves just behind saffron, which is valid for most expensive spice in the world.
Cardamom is on sale in the form of green beans or milled.
What is recommended, is buying whole cardamom beans, because milled cardamom quickly loses flavor as it contains essential oils that evaporate.
Where encourages Cardamom?
As a country that is considered to be the original breeder of cardamom is India. In fact, the cardamom is a traditional Indian spice, which was used before 3 000 years in traditional Indian medicine - Ayurveda.
In addition to its healing properties, cardamom has found the application in the kitchen; cardamom is one of the ingredients of curry spice. Also, people of India traditionally prepare Indian tea, which main ingredient is cardamom.
Today, the main breeder countries of cardamom are: India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, and Papua New Guinea.
It should be noted that cardamom is also used at the time of the ancient Greeks and Romans who had used this precious spice for the production of fragrances and perfumes.
What is the Nutritional Profile of Cardamom?
Nutritional profile of cardamom is rich; it contains a large percentage of carbohydrates, followed by protein and a little fat.
Cardamom abounds in plant fibers and phytosterols.
From vitamins, the cardamom contains:
- Vitamin C
Mineral composition is as follows:
Health Benefits of Cardamom
1. Tonic for digestive organs
Very important role of cardamom is healing effects on the digestive organs - improves digestion and metabolism, eliminates flatulence, nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps and heartburn.
2. Cardamom is a good diuretic
Another important function performed by cardamom is cleansing the kidneys and increases excretion of excess fluid from the body. It is especially recommended for people who consume a lot of coffee during the day.
3. Effect on Blood Pressure
While cardamom has a positive function on kidneys, it also affects the regulation of blood pressure.
4. Disinfection of teeth and oral cavity
If comes to the occurrence of bacteria in the mouth that create bad breath, it can be use mouthwash prepared from cardamom.
Cardamom contains the active substance - cineole, which has antiseptic properties.
5. Application of cardamom in Ayurveda
Ayurveda traditionally use cardamom in the treatment of asthma, considering that cardamom increases circulation to the lungs.
Tea made of cardamom and cinnamon soothes a sore throat and hoarseness due to colds and flu.
6. Use in massage
The essential oil of cardamom is often used in massage to relax the muscles, helps in relieving the symptoms of inflamed nerves, back pain and stress reduction.
Note: Although cardamom has effective healing properties, we must not exaggerate its use because it can lead to digestive and nervous disorders.
Pregnant women, nursing mothers and young children should not use cardamom in the diet.
Purchase and storage of Cardamom
When shopping, always choose whole green cardamom pods. Do not buy brown beans ever and never because it is not true cardamom.
Grounded cardamom quickly loses flavor and aroma, but is always recommended that before preparing food, grind some fresh cardamom.
Cardamom should be kept in a glass container with a lid, in a cool and dark place.
Application of cardamom in the kitchen
India and the Middle East for centuries used cardamom as a supplement to rice, bakery products, meat and sausages, a variety of marinades, strong black coffee and tea, and the Indians in the preparation of its traditional curry dishes.
In Europe, the biggest fans of cardamom are Russians and Scandinavian nations. They use it as a food seasoning for vegetables and meat, and Swedes make delicious patella with cardamom.
To prepare a delicious meal with this spice is necessary to briefly fry the seeds of cardamom, prior to the taste of cardamom came to the fore.