5 Interesting Things You Didn’t Know About Elaichi
Green Cardamom is popularly known as the “Queen of Spices” is widely used throughout the world due to its applicability as a flavoring agent and for its numerous health benefits. The spice is derived from the ripe fruit after being left to dry out after the harvesting period. It is predominantly grown from Elettaria cardamomum trees found in the Western Ghats of Kerala. Green Cardamom is one of the oldest spices in the world with evidence showing that the Greeks and Romans often mixed the spice into their perfumes and ancient Egyptians using the spice as mouth fresheners. It is also one of the most expensive spices available in the world with only vanilla and saffron being more expensive. Therefore, it is especially important that you buy elaichi from reputed vendors be it online or in-store. Here are 5 interesting things that you may not have known about Elaichi.
- Cardamom, Ginger, and Turmeric belong to the same botanical family
Cardamom is a part of the Zingiberaceae family and is sold in seeds, pods, and powder form. The pods can be removed by splitting them open to expose the aromatic seeds. Both ginger and turmeric are roots or rhizomes while cardamom is predominantly the seed of the plant. Cardamom does pair very well with ginger and turmeric to create authentic Indian-style dishes. Even though these three spices come from the same family they have their own distinct flavor profile. Cardamom has a sweet almost minty-like aroma while turmeric adds its trademark deep yellow color to curries and ginger adds heat to various dishes and is quite sharp. While ginger is best used fresh, cardamom and turmeric are most suitably used dried. It is suggested that while you buy elaichi for your household that you should buy from reputed vendors who source the spice from authentic farms.
2. Cardamom Pods (Green) need not be thrown away.
Cardamom spice is the black seeds residing in the green pods or black pods in the case of black cardamom. The green cardamom has a delicate and faint aroma while the black is strong and smoky. Cardamom can be used in two ways wherein you can use them as the whole pods or powdering the seeds. Make sure to remove the whole pods just before serving the dish. Most people when they buy elaichi online or in-store removes the skin(pods) of the spice. The pods of cardamom are extremely fibrous in nature and can be used as infusions when trying to create certain dishes in your kitchen.
3. Two types of Cardamom exist and both are different from each other
There are two types of cardamom, one is pale green and the other black (deep brown). The pale green cardamom has a delicate aroma while the black is strong and smoky. Back cardamom is three times the size of green cardamom due to its growth pattern. The green one is much more expensive than the black variant and is used in desserts predominantly. The black one is typically used to prepare savory dishes. It is not limited to just savory dishes though as famous Indian beverages such as masala chai incorporate black cardamom for their signature aroma and flavor. There is even talk in the scientific community to reclassify black cardamom as a close relative instead of belonging to cardamom. The green cardamom pairs well with any other spice and can be added to most dishes for its sweet aroma and distinct flavor. The black cardamom cannot be added along with most spices because of its smoky aroma. In any case, both types of cardamom are best bought as pods and should only be grounded when required. Make sure to buy elaichi online or in-store and store them in airtight containers so as to not lose any of its freshness.
4. Cardamom is not just a spice as it also has various health benefits.
Cardamom is a host of several health benefits. Cardamom is great to relieve oneself of nausea, digestion and to even fight motion sickness. A popular home remedy is to mix cardamom with some ginger juice and honey to get rid of nausea. Cardamom is also an effective detoxing agent as it works as a diuretic. It helps the body flush out toxins and is great for cleansing your liver and providing relief from hiccups. The seed of cardamom is also an excellent source of limonene, an antioxidant that helps in fighting against cancer. So next time you buy elaichi online make sure to add a pinch of cardamom when making tea.
5. White cardamom is actually not a variety of cardamom.
There is a popular misconception that white cardamom is essentially a separate variant of the cardamom family when that is not the case. White cardamom is in reality the green cardamoms that are bleached. It’s devoid of most of the flavor that is typically associated with cardamom. When picking cardamom, always pick the green ones as they are the most aromatic and flavourful ones. Make sure to buy elaichi from trusted vendors and merchants for deriving the best out of the spice.