The old sailors would say that they could smell the exotic air of the Spice Islands long before they sighted land. So prized were the spices of the East that in some cases they were considered more valuable than gold. The trade routes to, and dealings with such desirable cargo was a fiercely contested business involving long years of dangerous sailing in little-known oceans.
Today, if you ask any group of people what their favourite spice is, the answers will vary enormously. We have such a wonderful range to enjoy, and everyone will have a preferred aroma, taste and creative cooking loyalty. We take it all for granted. The availability of these once rare and costly ingredients is now so easy that the sea voyages of old are long gone from our story telling.
Cardamom belongs to the spicy tales of the sea. This small and tricky-to-spell spice deserves a closer look. Intense and slightly sweet in flavour, these little pods of delight originated in India. The seeds, oil and extracts of cardamom are now found throughout the world and provide both savoury and sweet kitchen inspiration.
But cardamom is also being studied for it’s impressive medicinal history, having been used in traditional remedies for hundreds of years.
Just some of the scientific investigations underway are studies of the antioxidant and diuretic properties which may lower blood pressure, and the cancer-fighting compounds of cardamom are also showing promising results, as are the anti-inflammatory effects which help protect us from chronic diseases.
Cardamom is also well known to help with digestion and stomach ulcer issues. In many cultures common mouth bacteria which can lead to bad breath and tooth decay has long been tackled by chewing these little pods after meals. This spice may have many antibacterial properties, as well as helping with more effective breathing and use of oxygen. There is even a possibility that it may help in lowering our blood sugar levels.
These are wonderful studies which are worth following into the future, but for today it is simply reassuring to know that cardamom is already included in the Granudie range. Not only is it spicy and delicious, our No. 2 Cardamom and Tahini may also be helping us navigate to better health. It just shows that we don’t need to pull on shiny yellow sailing gear, or know all the ship’s ropes, or even sail into uncharted waters to add a touch of adventure to our day.
Until next time.