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White Cardamom Vs. Green Cardamom

The cardamom is a spice valued for its unique flavor.

It is native to India, and it is also produced on a large scale in countries such as Guatemala and Sri Lanka.

The cardamom plant is related to the ginger plant. It grows in the tropics and produces fruits that are three-sided capsules with multiple seeds clumped within the husk of the capsule.

The fruits are dried after harvesting and used as spices. They could be used in drinks and as a seasoning for sweet and savory foods to add their complex flavor.

Cardamoms are classified based on the color of their husks into green, white, and brown cardamoms

Green cardamoms are also known as true cardamoms. Brown cardamoms are larger than the other cardamoms, while white cardamoms are actually green cardamoms that have been bleached.

In this post, we are going to discuss the differences between white cardamoms and green cardamoms

Difference between white and green cardamom

The green cardamoms(Elettaria cardamomum) are known as true cardamoms.  

The white cardamoms are made by bleaching the green cardamoms.

Apart from losing its green color when bleached, some changes in the flavor of the cardamoms are also observed.

The green cardamoms have a stronger flavor than the white cardamoms.

Also, depending on which process is used in bleaching the cardamom pods, the white cardamoms might last longer and have more protection against pests during storage than green cardamoms.

The white cardamom is usually sold as whole pods while the pods or just the seeds of green cardamom are sold.

However, green and white cardamoms are both of the same sizes.

Bleached cardamom

Green cardamoms become creamy white when bleached.

These cardamoms are bleached mainly for aesthetic reasons.

White cardamoms are commonly desired in Scandinavian and Northern European regions where they are ingredients used in their traditionally baked goods.

The oils in the cardamom are volatile, and during the bleaching of green cardamom to produce white cardamom, it loses some of these oils.

Therefore, the white cardamom has a less distinct flavor than green cardamoms.

Green cardamoms are bleached by making use of different types of bleaching agents to produce white cardamoms.

They can also be bleached by sunlight, and therefore green cardamoms that are not meant for bleaching are dried in ovens or covered from sunlight and stored properly to prevent them from bleaching.

How is cardamom used?

You may find this spice in various forms.

Cardamoms may be bought as the whole pod, the whole seeds without the pods, or the seeds ground into powdered form.

You may also find cardamom in the form of an oil or cardamom oleoresin.

whole pods

The whole pods retain flavor and last longer.

The nearly ripe cardamom fruits are harvested and then dried after which they are sieved and packaged as whole cardamoms

The whole pods are sometimes ground together with the seed and used when there is a need for the infusion of their flavor in teas.

Whole seed

Cardamom seeds are black in color and are packed with essential oils.

These essential oils are responsible for the flavor of cardamom.

The husks covering the seed have less flavor and sometimes are not used.

The cardamom pods are often decorticated after drying and the whole seeds of cardamom could be used in recipes.

Ground seed

The cardamom seed could be ground into powdered form and used as a seasoning for different dishes.

The ground cardamom has a strong flavor and only a small amount may be needed to add that flavor in your recipes.

However, because of the volatility of the essential oils in the cardamom seeds, the ground cardamom begins to lose its flavor faster than other forms of cardamom.

The longer the ground cardamom is stored, the less intense its flavor gets.

Therefore, freshly ground cardamom seeds are more preferred for their intense flavor.

In conclusion

One of the most economically important spices in the world.

Cardamoms are used in Middle Eastern cuisine in teas and coffee, they are used for Scandinavian baked goods, and as a seasoning.

They are also used for their medicinal properties.

After harvesting cardamom fruits, they are dried and then sorted into sizes.

Some green cardamoms might also be bleached to produced white cardamoms.

Cardamoms can be available as whole pods, whole seed, or powdered cardamom.