Cardamom is the world’s third most expensive spice (by weight) after saffron and vanilla because it is a very labor-intensive harvesting process. There are many inferior alternatives for cardamom that differ both in appearance and in chemical components. However, doTERRA Cardamom, Elettaria cardamomum, comes from the only plant known as true cardamom.
If you like to cook or you consider yourself a foodie, you’ve probably tasted cardamom with its unique pungent flavor that is somehow slightly minty, lemony, and smoky all at the same time. Cardamom oil, while a little more potent than the ground version, is the perfect addition to your kitchen spice cabinet.
A Cultural Phenomenon
Cardamom’s origins are of course in the east, where the spice is most prevalently used. In India, cardamom is used in various aromatic curries and with basmati rice. Meanwhile, in the Middle East, cardamom is mostly used in beverages like Arabic and Turkish coffee.
Sweden is also at the top of the list of countries that consume the most cardamom. Although it may seem strange and somewhat disconnected from the lands of the east, cardamom is hugely popular all over Scandinavia. Vikings first encountered cardamom through their trade routes in the east around one thousand years ago, and brought it back home with them. Today, Scandinavians use the spice mainly for sweet breads like cinnamon rolls (kanelbullar), cookies, and meats like Swedish meatballs.
Cooking with Cardamom oil
For baking or cooking, it is best to use either whole pods or the essential oil. While you can buy ground cardamom at your local grocery store, you will likely be missing some of the flavor of the original seed because the essential oils start to lose their flavor soon after the seeds are ground. Using one drop or less (by dipping a toothpick in the oil and swirling in in your mixes) will usually get you the amount of flavor you desire.
Cooking with the oil and not the powder also gives you some of the digestive benefits of Cardamom oil along with the flavor.* Cardamom is great not only for promoting healthy digestion, but also for soothing the digestive system and slowing bowel looseness*, so when you’re experiencing occasional stomach discomfort, it can be helpful to add Cardamom to water or tea.
As with any oil, it is best to add Cardamom directly into any liquid already going into the recipe. This will ensure that the oil gets evenly distributed. Olive oil, coconut oil, honey, or syrup will especially help here. Other spices that Cardamom blends well with include cinnamon and clove. You can decide whether to use these spices in their essential oil form, or in the ground form as a mix of essential oils can sometimes be overpowering depending on the recipe.
Cardamom pairs perfectly with squash, making this Roasted Butternut Squash Soup (including Cinnamon Bark oil, too) a dream. If you want a sweet and chocolatey recipe to try, these Cardamom Truffles are sure to please. Not only are they delicious, they pack a nutritional punch with their main ingredient—avocados.
Do you have a favorite Cardamom recipe? Tell us about it below!