Cardamom , sometimes called cardamon, is a spice made from the seeds of several plants in the genera Elettaria and Amomum in the family Zingiberaceae. Both genera are native to India, the largest producer until the late 20th century; Bangladesh, Bhutan, Indonesia, Nepal, and Pakistan. They are recognised by their small seed pods, triangular in cross-section and spindle-shaped, with a thin, papery outer shell and small black seeds.The German coffee planter Oscar Majus Kloeffer introduced Indian cardamom to cultivation in Guatemala before World War I; by 2000 that country had become the biggest producer and exporter of cardamom in the world, followed by India.Some other countries, such as Sri Lanka, have also begun to cultivate it. Elettaria pods are light green, while Amomum pods are larger and dark brown.It is the world’s third-most expensive spice, surpassed in price per weight only by vanilla and saffron.
HOW TO GROW
- Purchase clean cardamom seeds to ensure safe sprout production; most cardamom seeds are clean when they are sold as a spice. Ask if the seeds are safe for consumption and whether they have been treated with any toxic chemicals.
- Put about 1/4 cup of cardamom seeds in the bottom of a mason jar. Black cardamom seeds are larger than green cardamom seeds, so a larger volume of black seeds will produce the same amount of spouts as a smaller volume of green seeds. If you’re using green cardamom or a smaller jar, you might only need a tablespoon of seeds. Adjust the quantity so that an even layer of seeds covers the bottom of the jar.
- Cover the top of the jar with fine cheesecloth, mesh screen, or a piece of nylon stocking. Make sure the screen or fabric is fine enough to function as a strainer for the seeds. Use a rubber band to secure the covering to the mouth of the jar.
- Soak the seeds in lukewarm water for 12 to 24 hours.
- Pour the water out through the screen or fabric on the top of the jar, keeping the seeds in the jar.
- Rinse the seeds twice with cool water.
- Tip the jar on its side or upside down so that the water can drain freely.
- Rinse the seeds daily with room temperature water to keep them from fermenting or becoming mildewed.
- pread a thin layer of cardamom seeds on the paper towel.
- Cover with a second damp paper towel.
- Sprinkle water on the seeds whenever they seem dry.
- Eat the sprouts when they are very young to prevent them from sitting around for long enough to become mildewed.
- Keep the soil moist but not dripping wet. Spray the cardamom with a mister to add humidity. Cut back on water in the winter; only water every other day.
- Position the planter in a warm spot out of direct sunlight. Cardamoms prefer shade. Choose a temperature-controlled room away from windows and doors. The ideal temperature for this plant is 80 degrees Fahrenheit but 72 to 80 F is acceptable.
- Fertilize the plant twice a month using a high-nitrogen, low-potassium houseplant fertilizer.
Damping-off (Rhizome rot)
Pale leaves and yellowing of plant; collapse of seedlings in nursery; more mature plants may exhibit a discoloration and decay of the rhizome; decay causes death of plants
Soil drenches with appropriate fungicides may be used to treat the disease prior to planting nurseries; all infected clumps, including rhizomes must be removed and destroyed; plant cadomom in well-draining soils
Katte disease (Mosaic)
Thin chlorotic flecks on youngest leaves of stem which develop into pale green stripes running from midrib to leaf margin parallel to veins; all leaves emerging subsequently have stripes; symptoms then spread to all tillers
Check planatation for symptoms of disease at least twice each year; remove and destroy affected plants; replant with healthy material; avoid planting close to diseased gardens; do not use volunteer or tillers from infected plants as planting material
Silvery sheen or discoloration on young leaf sheaths and unopened flower bracts; damaged areas developing white, yellow and brown blotches and/or streaks
Regulate shade in plantation; applications of appropriate insecticide may be required
Azhukal (Capsule rot)
Water-soaked lesions on rachis; plant dries up beyond point of infection; rotting capsules with a foul odor which fall from plant; water-soaked spots on leaves which enlarge and coalesce
Plants must be protected during pre-monsoon period by removing all crop debris including diseased plants and burning; try to reduce the amount of shade on the plantation and promote good drainage
Stunted, yellowing plants; galls on roots which can be up to 3.3 cm (1 in) in diameter but are usually smaller; reduction in plant vigor; yellowing plants which wilt in hot weather
Check roots of plants mid-season or sooner if symptoms indicate nematodes; solarizing soil can reduce nematode populations in the soil and levels of inoculum of many other pathogens
- The health benefits of cardamom include gastrointestinal protection, cholesterol control, control of cancer, relief from cardiovascular issues,
- the improvement of blood circulation in the body.
- It is useful for curing dental diseases and urinary tract infections such as cystitis, nephritis, and gonorrhea.
- Cardamom possesses aphrodisiac properties and is also used as a cure for impotency, erectile dysfunction, and premature ejaculation.