Green, oval-shaped pod housing an aromatic seed. The sweetly aromatic cardamom is the fruit of a tropical plant related to ginger, and is one of the world's most expensive spices, after saffron and vanilla. Growing cardamom is extremely labor intensive. The tall plants, grown on plantations in Guatemala or India, flower for eight or nine months of the year. Each pod, or capsule, ripens slowly, and must be plucked when it is three-quarters ripe.
Flavor & Pairing: Spicy and sweet with citrus flavor. Pair with ginger, clove, allspice and other warm spices.
Culinary Uses: Cardamom is essential to the cuisines of the Middle East and Scandinavia. Cardamom coffee or gahwa is a symbol of Arab hospitality. Cardamom flavors ground meat in Norway and baked goods in Sweden. Cooks all over the world combine cardamom with cloves and cinnamon. Cardamom lends its distinctive flavor to chai. Whole cardamom pods can also be used to flavor steamed and braised foods.
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