Spotlight Spice: Green Cardamom

Green Cardamom

One of the world's most ancient spices, Green Cardamom comes from the seeds of a ginger-like plant and is native to southern India. Ancient Egyptians chewed cardamom seeds as a tooth cleaner and breath freshener and the Greeks and Romans used it as a perfume. Vikings came upon cardamom about one thousand years ago, in Constantinople [modern Istanbul], and introduced it into Scandinavia, where it remains popular to this day. Green cardamom is one of the most expensive spices by weight, but little goes a long way. 

Green cardamom is aromatic with a strong, slightly spicy yet sweet taste. When a recipe calls for cardamom, it means green cardamom (see our note below about black cardamom).

Uses of green cardamom vary with different cuisines and cultures. It's a key ingredient in sweet baked goods in Scandinavia, like holiday Julekake and Finnish pulla. In the Arab world, ground green cardamom is used in strong brewed coffee and in rice pilaf. In India, green cardamom shows up in all kinds of curries, spice mixes, sweet treats and Masala chai spiced tea. It's even an ingredient in some chewing gum!

Green cardamom is a welcome addition to chicken, duck, red meats, lentils, curries, oranges, peas, rice and squash. It's also delicious in mulled wine and spiced punch drinks, in pickles, and with shellfish.

We carry green cardamom in both whole and ground form. Swing by one of our locations for a jar or find it in the Spices Section of


A note about black cardamom: Whereas green cardamom is used in savory and sweet dishes. black cardamom is used almost exclusively in savory cooking [and in traditional tea, chai]. Black cardamom is considered a warm spice, while green cardamom is more of a cooling spice. Black cardamom is much larger and stronger than its cousin green cardamom.

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