Elettaria cardamomum Maton
Cardamom are the dried seed capsules of a small group of spices or plants belonging to the family Zingiberaceae witch contain seeds possessing a pleasant characteristic aroma and flavour.
The order Zingiberales to wich the family Zingiberaceae belongs, appears to have originated as wild plants in the tropical evergreen forest. Zingiberaceae, the largest family if this order, is found throughout the tropics but is predominantly Asian. This family has provided important spices which are mostly aromatic, 40 genera and 900 spices being recognized.
The main conditions for growing large cardamom are: temperature range max 14°C-33°C; min 4°C-22°C. Season: April-September.
The flowering season starts in May and continues up to August. It takes about four months for the fruits to mature. Harvesting is done by collecting panicles containing ripe fruits with the help of a special chisel-shaped narrow knife, which is specially made for this purpose. Harvesting is done once a year, and because of this there will be some immature fruits in the harvested lot. After harvesting, the individual capsules are separated from spikes by hand.
Cardamom is used for flavouring various vegetables and meat preparation in Indian dishes. It is also used as a flavouring agent in confectionery, hot or sweet pickles and in beverages.
Large cardamom is also credited with curative properties in Ayurvedic and Unani systems of medicine. Essential oil, oleoresin. Encapsulated flavour, cardamom cola, large cardamom flavoured biscuits and large cardamom flavoured liquors are some of the products developed for diversifying the uses of large cardamom.