If you’re considering expanding your spice rack, you may want to reserve a slot for cardamom. This ancient spice grows wild in the forests of southern India, where it’s been used in a variety of ways throughout the centuries. Amateur and professional cooks have used cardamom to add sweetness and spiciness to their dishes, while medical practitioners have praised it for its wide array of health benefits. Some have even placed it in the same league as turmeric — and when a spice has been positively compared to the super spice of the now, you know it’s worth paying attention to.
Though there many types of cardamom, the more known varieties are green cardamom and black or brown cardamom. Flavorful and aromatic, green cardamom is the most readily available and widely-used variety. It’s also the most expensive one, ranking just below saffron due to the labor-intensive harvesting process and growing demand for the unique spice. The bold and smoky black or brown cardamom pairs wonderfully with savory dishes.
Cardamom for health and beauty
Cardamom has been described as a “nutritional powerhouse”, and rightly so. The abundance of vitamins and minerals contained in each pod have imbued the spice with amazing health benefits. Rich with potassium, calcium, and magnesium, cardamom will keep your heart a robust and happy one. The presence of copper, iron, and riboflavin also ensures the smooth flow of healthy blood. Cardamom is a spice full of phytonutrients and essential oils that function in the same way as antioxidants, flushing the free radicals and toxins out of your body. Cardamom makes for an excellent diuretic and expectorant, so you can count on it to rid your body of of excess water, mucus, and other unnecessary waste products.
Making cardamom a part of your diet will allow you to reap the benefits of its gut-boosting nutrients. Stomach cramps, acid reflux, gas, constipation, and bloating are some of the digestive conditions that a daily dose of cardamom can treat. With its high dietary fiber content, this spice can also guarantee regular stool movement. (Related: Top 15 compelling reasons to use cardamom often and generously.)
From making you feel good to making you look great, cardamom is the spice that does it all. The nutrients that have turned cardamom into a medicinal wonder have also transformed it into an ideal skincare supplement. Using cardamom can give you fair skin, smooth lips, and even a well-nourished scalp. If you’ve got a skin condition, then you can use black or brown cardamom to take care of it.
How to use cardamom
The easiest way to get your daily dosage of cardamom is to add it to teas. A lot of teas already come with cardamom as an ingredient, but you can also opt to make your own home brew of chai tea. Simply take some cardamom pods and combine them with black peppercorns, cinnamon, and your choice of black or green tea. Cardamom is a flexible spice that can be incorporated into any dish you like, so you need not restrict it to a tea additive. You can sprinkle cardamom on sprinkle it on your oatmeal, baked goods, or even your favorite curry.
As for storing cardamom in your home, its best to do so in pod form. Once the seeds become exposed to air they tend to lose their flavor and aroma fairly quickly. Much like other spices, cardamom pods need to be kept in an airtight container and stored in a cool, dry place. Doing this will allow the pods to keep for up to a year.