Photo from: julian
OCat cardimoni, L. Alpinia cardamom, Elettaria cardamomum, Amomum repens or other spices of the cardamom family, Ar. qāqualla, Eng. cardamom. It is one of the oldest spices in the world. It is a member of the ginger family and a native in mountainous areas from southern China to the Himalayas, Sikkim and Nepal, which are the main growing regions. This spice is named for the Cardamom Hills in SE Kerala, a state in southern India. The most popular spice in ancient Rome probably was cardamom. Pliny and Dioscorides cited it as being used to flavor coffee, see cafeto. Normally, the seeds are sold in their pods. Without removing them, the pods are slightly bruised and used for cooking only. They are removed prior to serving to prevent the flavor from dominating the dish. Cardamon is used to enhance other flavors in sauces particularly.
|Duke's Powder Ingredients with Cardamom Pod on Extreme Right|
Photo by: Lord-Williams
It was a spice used in Duke’s Powder first mentioned in Sent Soví. Duke’s Powder, which consists of a combination of sweet spices, was used to make hippocras, see hiprocrás. The seeds smell like camphor, with a fresh, smoked aroma. Although green cardamom was thought superior to black, the later is more appropriate for rustic, spice dishes. People ate the seeds to take away bad breath. Whole or ground seeds have been used in sausages, pickles, cakes, liquors and cordials. The oil from them is used as a stimulant and to help digestion. Before the seeds are ripe, they are picked to retain the aroma. Then they are sundried, bleached and put on the market. Today, the price of cardamom is second only to saffron being the most expensive spice. L. Amomum repens L. Aframomum, and other species of cardamom are found in Cameroon, Madagascar and Somalia, Africa. [Anón/Grewe. 1982:CCXX:216: Apè III:236; ES: Figueroa. “Refranes.” Jan 29, 03; ES: Renfrow. Glos. Jun 16, 04; and Usher. 1974:226]
DUKE’S POWDER ADAPTED FROM SENT SOVÍ CCXX QUI PARLA CON SA DEU FFER LA RESSETA DE LA PÓLVOR DE DUCH FFINA p 216
Photo by: Lord-Williams
If fine Duke’s Powder is desired, it is made by grinding and mixing the following spices:
0.5 oz white sugar
2.12 oz cinnamon
4.23 oz ginger shavings
2.12 oz white pepper
2.12 oz nutmeg
2.12 oz galangale
2.12 oz cardamon bruised pods
 Duke’s Powder is called for in numerous medieval recipes. If planning to use period recipes often it is worthwhile ginding a batch to have on hand.