Superfood Session - Cardamom
Cardamom along with cinnamon and star anise has got to be up there with our top 3 favourite spices. Chilli may be fighting for a spot too but the distinct depth of flavour that you can achieve with cardamom is almost unbeatable we think. It is such a diverse spice - pop acouple of pods in your tea with some rose buds and ginger, in your curries, creamy desserts (we have an incredible panacotta recipe coming in our new cookbook - Honestly Healthy For Life
) and in immune boosting smoothies too.
Indigenous to India and Sri Lanka, cardamom is commonly used in cooking for adding flavour. However, it also has numerous health benefits and has long been used across Asia and in Ayurvedic medicine to combat many different conditions.
Closely related to the ginger family it has similar digestive properties such as combating nausea, IBS, constipation, loss of appetite, acidity, indigestion, heartburn, bloating and gas. It is also used to break up gallstones and to treat liver problems.
Rich in many vitamins and minerals, cardamom can act as a powerful antioxidant to optimise cell and body functions. It also has detoxifying properties helping waste removal from the kidneys and urinary tract and has been used to combat infections here too.
Cardamom is used as a breath freshener and to fight mouth and throat infections as well as an antiseptic and can help in preventing sorethroats, cold and flus. It has also been linked with reducing pain and inflammation, blood pressure, and the risk of infections and cancers as well as being an aphrodisiac, improving erectile dysfunction and hiccups!
To use, squash cardamom pods before adding to dishes or take out the seeds and grind, however, once you remove the seeds from the pod they lose their freshness quite quickly especially if they have been ground so it is best to crush them just before use. It seems the benefits and uses are endless!
Here is how cardamom is grow. In Sri Lanka there are fields and fields dedicated to cardamom - bet they smell amazing. It is good to see where and how your food is grown. I always ask people if they have ever seen a cashew growing and what it looks like on the tree. Do you know? Check it out here.
Our HH Hero Vicki Edgson
tells us more about the many healing properties of spices.
Homemade food is one of the best ways to make sure that you are benefitting from the full power of these flavour enhancing wonders.