Cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum)
Native to southern India and Sri Lanka, cardamom still grows abundantly in forests at 2,500-5,000 feet above sea level. The plant is a perennial, growing to about fifteen feet with mauve-marked, orchid-like, white flowers and very long, lance-shaped leaves. It is widely cultivated in India, southern Asia, Indonesia, and Guatemala. It prefers shady locations and rich, moist, well-drained soil. Each pod contains up to twenty aromatic, dark red-brown seeds that have a mild ginger flavour. The seedpods are harvested by hand in dry weather during the Autumn, just before they start to open. Then they are dried whole in the sun. The main harvest is in October and November of the third year after planting, after which the seeds are sorted according to size, form, colour and etc.
Tamil Nadu - Region of Availability
It is found in the form of a small pod with black seeds inside. Both the seeds and the pod give a pleasant aroma and flavor. Therefore, they are used as flavoring agents in Indian cuisine. Its use is just not just limited to hot and spicy dishes; the seeds are also added to desserts and beverages to complement the sweet flavor. Cardamom tea is a very famous beverage, along with ginger tea, in India.