Make way for the Queen! Cardamom was known as the queen of spices in early India so she is very welcome here at Royal Nut. A tropical plant that produces pale green oval pods, once removed cardamom contains around ten small dark brown seeds with a resinous and fruity aroma. These are crushed or ground prior to use. Cardamom imparts a warm and refreshing flavour, similar to eucalyptus, lending it to use as a breath freshener. Its warm sweet and pungent aroma incorporates camphor, lemon, mint, pepper, and floral notes. Cardamom is used in cuisines around the world adding depth and intrigue to both savoury and sweet dishes. Cardamom is essential to many Indian curry powders, and African spice mixes such qasas berbere and baharat. It combines well with numerous other spices such as, anise, cinnamon, clove, ginger, vanilla, cumin, caraway, chilli peppers, saffron and paprika. Cardamom is the third most expensive spice in the world (behind vanilla and saffron). Fortunately, it only needs to be used sparingly to impart considerable flavour. Whole pods can be used in slow cooking and benefit from being bruised first with the side of a knife to release their flavour. Once removed from the pod, the flavoursome seeds lose some of their intensity, so try crushing to free the volatile oils. You can also use ground Cardamom which is ideal in baking. Used in both sweet and savoury cooking, such as in rice dishes and fruity desserts, Cardamom is also the star of Chai tea. Research also suggests a number of heath benefits including reduced blood pressure and improved digestion. Available as pods, seeds and powder. Also referred to as green cardamom, it is important not to confuse it with brown cardamom.