Also known as Elettaria, green cardamom hails from India and is the most wanted cardamom of the 21st century and the plant itself it can grow as tall as five meters, however it is not always easy to identify a green cardamom because the plants tend to look very different from one another. Nevertheless, upon close inspection, you can tell when a cardamom plant is, indeed, a cardamom plant.
It is consumed primarily in the following markets: India, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Nepal, China, Syria, Pakistan, Jordan and Bhutan. In other words, South Central Asia is the main consumer of Cardamom, followed by the Middle East. All other countries combined do not even reach 20% of the world’s consumption of green cardamom when compared to South Central Asia and the Middle East.
A study in the USA showed that Americans prefer green cardamom to black cardamom.
Green cardamom is small, while black cardamom is large. Its size is about 7mm and it has a green color and a sweet fragrance. It is known as the Queen of Spices, and is generally considered to be the true cardamom, with the black variety being sometimes considered an inferior and less valued variety. Green cardamom is also more expensive.
It is difficult to cultivate green cardamom, compared to black cardamom. While black cardamom can mostly be left alone and it will grow by itself with no pesticides or fertilizers. For green cardamom, many new technological and processing methods have to be used to ensure proper cultivation. Modern heating systems have to be used for green cardamom and there is a large amount of processing in order to give the cardamom a nicer appearance. This is in contrast with the way the black variety is dealt with: It only uses a very simple drying system using firewood and there are no large procedures.
It is widely used in medicinal preparations, cosmetic products, supplements in animal food and the food processing industry. It is also used as a preservative.
You’ll find green cardamom in different varieties. Sometimes you will see it as a powder, other times it will come with the entire seed. Many popular essential oils use cardamom as one of their ingredients.
There was an interesting study from a field trip to Lai Chau that shows that green cardamom is so valuable that a single family in Vietnam whose income comes only from green cardamom farming can actually live off it.
Green cardamom spice drops are highly recommended as this is when the cardamom is in its natural raw form. Spice drops are one of the only ways to get your hands on unprocessed cardamom.
It tastes a bit like a combination of nutmeg and cinnamon, but nothing really compares to the deliciousness of a nice cardamom spice applied to a tasty basmati rice. Traditional Indian cuisine has used this amazing green goodness since time immemorial and it will likely continue to do so. There are also many health benefits of cardamom.
Overall, whether you prefer the green variety or the black variety, this is one spice that you will want to apply to your Indian themed food. Although expensive, it’s so worth it!