Elettaria cardamomum is a member of the ginger (Zinziberaceae) family. The name cardamom (sometimes spelled cardamon or cardamum) means "grains of Paradise."
Delicious, aromatic, and therapeutic, cardamom has long been appreciated. Ayurvedic writings from the fourth century B.C. discuss the healing properties of cardamom, and the ancient Greeks and Romans used it in foods and for medicines and perfumes.
Try cardamom in cakes, cookies and pies, stews and loaves, meat and vegetable pies, fruit salads and desserts (like baked apple), mulled wine, grape jelly, pickles, sausage seasoning, soups (especially split pea soup), and with sweet potatoes, carrots and squash.
Commercially, the fruits, seeds and oil are used to flavor beverages, frozen desserts, baked goods, candies, puddings, meats, fish, and condiments. It flavors custards, some Russian liqueurs, Arab and Turkish coffee, and Indian tea.