History of Cardamom: The Green Pearl of Spices
Updated : September 15, 2021 12:09 IST
More about cardomon; the spice which had everything to with medicine and really no job in the kitchen.
Did you know that cardamom comes from the family of ginger? While most ginger has a strong revolting taste, cardamom has a mellow timid flavour that works great with both savoury and sweet. Cardamom is native to India but the largest producer of this stuff is Guatemala. This spice is also one of the more expensive spices by weight.
It is considered to be one of the world’s oldest spices. In fact, the use of the spice goes back four thousand years. The ancient Egyptians used spice for its medical properties. It was often used in their embalming ceremonies as part of their ritual.
Chewing cardamom and swirling it in the mouth was also done to keep the breath fresh and the teeth clean. According to stories, the Greeks and Romans also frequented the use of cardamom but is not food but aromatic in oils to cover the strong scents.
Cardamom also has two types black and green. It was in the fourth century that the Greek father of botany fourth Theophrastus distinguished the two types. Years before that, however, the Vikings during their travels discovered cardamom and brought it back to their homeland. Around the same time, Theophrastus made the distinction, Indian literature also started mentioning the cardamom as the green pearl of spices.
Till centuries, cardamom was only famous in India for its medical or ayurvedic properties.
It was perhaps the Arabs that were the first to use cardamom in their eatables. In their celebrations, cardamom was used in tea and coffee. The spice was only brought when their nobility or political visited. However, over time, it became an important ingredient in Mediterranean curries. The Scandinavian culture also holds the spice dearly and even today it is utilised in their recipes like mulled wines and soups.