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Spices: Cloud Forest Cardamom Pods

$10.75

1.7 oz jar

This green and yellow cardamom is bright and herbal, with warm notes of ginger, apricots and jungle flowers. Grind and add to cakes and pastries, or use whole in soups and curries for fragrance and elevated flavor. Click on this item to see the full description. 

Description: Burlap & Barrels Cardamom is grown on a single estate in the cloud forests of Alta Verapaz, Guatemala, a biodynamic farm using traditional organic methods. The farm emphasizes workers' rights, sustainability and fair business practices. The terroir is ideal for cardamom, which thrives in humid, high altitude environments with plenty of rainfall. The comparatively low temperatures in the mountains during the harvest season (November-January) ensures high levels of fragrant essential oils. Our cardamom is sweet and tart, reminiscent of summer fruits, fresh herbs and cut grass. The cardamom fruit turns yellow as it ripens and has a slightly softer, sweeter flavor than standard green cardamom - but is perfect in recipes that call for green cardamom.

  • Origin: Alta Verapaz, Guatemala
  • Aliases: green cardamom, yellow cardamom, elaichi, hel
  • Process: Hot air dried
  • Ingredients: 100% whole cardamom pods (Elettaria cardamomum)
  • Tasting notes: Ginger • Apricots • Jungle Flowers

COOKING

SOURCING

Guatemala exports 80% of the world’s cardamom, but the spice is virtually unknown in local markets. It is grown exclusively for export, mostly on tiny plots by indigenous farmers in the country’s remote mountainous region. A general lack of understanding of the spice’s usage, as well as the commoditization of the crop and near monopolization of the industry by a very small number of major exporters, keep small producers from cultivating higher quality products or accessing high-value markets. They grow tiny quantities of cardamom, which they must sell to coyotes and other middlemen as quickly as possible before the quality degrades. The structures of the industry keep farmers in a weak negotiating position that de-emphasizes quality and stifles farmers’ earning potential.

Our cardamom is grown on one of the only single-estate cardamom farms in Guatemala, which is also one of the only farms to manage the supply chain in its entirety, from cultivation to harvesting, drying, and export. They are constantly innovating, experimenting with cloning and other state of the art techniques to produce the finest spice possible. Cardamom is officially graded only by its size and green color - however, those factors don’t correlate to flavor. Yellow cardamom, however, is allowed to ripen fully, resulting in softer, fruitier, and overall more complex flavor.

Meet the Farmer: Amilcar Pereira planted his first cardamom vine when he was 9. In the years since then, he has succeeded in creating the only vertically-integrated cardamom operation in Guatemala. His farming practices produce cardamom is so good that Saveur called him "the farmer shaking up the Guatemalan cardamom trade"



 

Burlap & Barrel

Burlap & Barrel is building new international spice supply chains that are equitable, transparent and traceable. We connect­ smallholder spice farmers to high-value markets, we educate consumers about the impact of product traceability on human rights, and we emphasize unique products with terroir that are grown biodynamically using traditional techniques. We work to end inequality and exploitation in food systems that disenfranchise skilled, serious artisans along the entire chain. Mainstream conversations around food sustainability rarely consider the people involved in growing, harvesting, transporting, processing and cooking food. Sustainability is discussed in terms of environmental impact, or the comfort of livestock providing meat, dairy or eggs. We believe that the standard measures of sustainability must evolve to consider the conditions in which the farmers who drive global food supply chains earn their livelihoods. Single origin ingredients draw attention to the unique environments in which incredible ingredients grow and to the farmers with the expertise and commitment to grow them well.

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