Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Elettaria cardamomum Cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum) is a pungent aromatic spice belonging to the Zingiberaceae family. It is a perennial plant which can grow to be between six and 12 feet tall. Cardamom can also be spelled Cardamon and in India is popularly known as elaichi.
The green seed pods of the plant are dried and the seeds inside the pod are used in Indian and Asian cuisine either whole or in a ground form. Ground Cardamom is a primary ingredient of curry powder. In the Middle East, Cardamom is used for coffee; in other countries such as Iran, it is used to flavor tea. Cardamom is also an ingredient of herbal teas from India, called "Yogi tea." The Indian state of Sikkim has the highest area under cultivation and production of the spice in India.
Cardamom was first used around 700 CE and was imported to Europe for the first time in around 1200. Originally from the tropical rainforest of India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Sumatra, it is now also grown in Nepal, Thailand, and Central America.
Cardamom has a strong, pungent taste, with a fragrance reminiscent of eucalyptus oil , while being more complex and subtle. It is often used in Danish pastry and breads.
Black cardamom (Amomum subulatum and related species) also of the Zingiberaceae, is used in the same way as the green Indian variety, but with a different flavor.
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