Scientific Name: Elettaria cardamomum
Plant Part: Fruit
Other Names: Habbahan, Ilaichi, Chotti Elaichi, Hari Ellaichi, Kardemom, Cardamome
Green Cardamom is also known as small cardamom or true cardamom is the fruit of a herbaceous perennial plant of the ginger family.
One of the oldest spices known to man, Green Cardamom is also referred to as the Queen of Spices – the third most expensive spice in the world after Saffron and Vanilla.
Native to the Indian subcontinent where they were first discovered growing in the wild in the Western Ghats located in the southern state of Kerala.
The plant thrives in a tropical climate and can also be found in other parts of the world including Guatemala, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Tanzania.
While Guatemala holds the first position in the world for the production and export of Cardamom, the Indian Cardamom is considered far superior based on a comparison of physical characteristics, levels of oleoresins, and other compounds that lend Green Cardamom its unique flavour.
History of Cardamom
Cardamom is one of the oldest spices in the world with mentions of it being found in historical Indian books going back to the 4th century BC.
It was an essential ingredient in Ayurveda and has also been used by the Egyptians during the Pyramid age as a medicinal ingredient, a mouth freshener, and also for producing oils used for the mummification process.
Cardamom has also been mentioned in the works of Hippocrates, a Greek physician who is considered to be the father of modern medicine and wrote at least 70 books describing in great detail many different diseases and their treatment after detailed observation.
In fact, some accounts state that mentions of aromatic oil in the Bible could possibly contain Cardamom oil.
Also, used in the preparation of tea and coffee by the Arabs and as gifts for honoured guests.
The Assyrians and Babylonian traders were responsible for taking the spice to the West of Asia and the Mediterranean regions.
Harvesting and Post Harvesting Practices
The fruit is carefully harvested using a technique that involves applying just the right amount of pressure to break the fruit of the plant. If the Cardamom does not break, it is left for harvesting at a later date.
The harvested capsules are then washed to remove the dust, soil particles, and any other impurities.
Once the cleaning process is complete, the pods go through a curing process to bring down their moisture content from 80% to about 12%.
The curing process can be either done using natural drying whereby the pods are dried under the sun or by using flue drying.
Flue drying is considered a superior method as the quality of the resulting product is much higher as compared to sun drying.
Flue drying consists of a wood-fired furnace, flue pipes for conveying the hot air and drying racks for stacking trays on which the Green Cardamom pods are evenly/thinly spread out to allow for uniformed heat distribution.
This drying process takes up to 24 hours and the temperature is regularly monitored and controlled to get the best results.
The dried capsules are rubbed on wire mesh to remove the stalk and dried portion of the flower from the capsules and then graded according to size by passing through sieves of sizes of 8, 7, 6 mm, and average. The graded produce is stored in polythene-lined gunny bags to retain the green colour during storage and also to avoid exposure to moisture.
Our Supply Chain
The Sabor Co. has developed strong relationships with farmer-partners in the following countries.
Green cardamom is cultivated in the Indian state of Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu with close to 13000 metric tonnes produced in 2020, making India the second largest producer in the world.
The Sabor Co. is currently working with farmers in the southern state of Kerala for procuring spices such as cardamom, pepper, nutmeg, mace and vanilla. Read more