Cardamom is a spice that comes from the seed pods of various plants in the ginger family. To use it, grind the entire pod or leave it whole, though the pods contain a number of seeds. The seeds are small and black, and the pods differ in color and size depending on the species.
There are two main types: black and green. We find green cardamom most often in Nordic and Middle Eastern cuisine, while recipes in India and Asia use both green and black cardamom. Many know green cardamom as true cardamom, which is the most common variety you can find. It has a strong, sweet, pungent flavor and aroma, with hints of lemon and mint. The black variety is a little smoky and has a cooling menthol note as well.
It also has many health benefits. It aids in digestion, relieves stomach cramps, detoxifies the body, improves blood circulation in the lungs, prevents spasms and convulsions of the lungs, helps asthma or bronchitis, enhances appetite, relieves acidity in the stomach, helps alleviate respiratory allergies, helps with sore throat, helps alleviate nausea, can aid in treating mouth ulcers, and used to treat infection of the urinary tract.
To read more about the difference between black and green cardamom, click here.