Cardamon….a spice that has peeked my interest. I have always been of the mindset that cardamon was a calming spice, adding it to warm milk for a relaxing before bedtime treat, but it is so much more versatile than I gave it credit for. Called the “Queen of Spices”, it is the world’s third most expensive spice by weight after saffron and vanilla, respectively. It has a warm, pungent almost eucalyptine flavor with the ability to be used in both sweet and savory dishes. There are two species, both from the ginger family. Green Cardamon, or true cardamon, are dried, thick paper like pods which contain dark brown oily seeds. Brown Cardamon, often referred to as the more inferior one, are much larger in size and in flavor as well. It is almost always restricted to use in savory dishes. Green Cardamon is used in curries, rice dishes, sweetmeats, and desserts. Used by Scandinavians and the Dutch in baked goods and fruit desserts. Used as a major player in the spice blends of the Middle East, it is often said that Turkish coffee wouldn’t be Turkish coffee without cardamon. Great for flavoring chicken, rice puddings, and cookies, Cardamon is a wonderful addition to your spice pantry. The health benefits are amazing as well. Believed to be a remedy for teeth and gum infections, throat problems, lung congestion, and digestive issues. It is also known to help with cholesterol, cardiovascular health, blood circulation, and is rich in anti-depressant properties. A powerhouse in the spice world!