The Colour Grading Guide to Buying Cardamom

‘One size fits all’ goes the old cliché. However, in so many of life’s situations, that is never an ideal. Often, customisation and selection play a vital role in making the difference. It’s eminently true in the case of food ingredients – definitely in the case of cardamom.

Let’s begin with the basics of cardamom. It’s basically a pod that contains the seeds, that themselves contain oil. It isn’t the length of the pod, but its diameter that determines the number of seeds, and hence their own girth and oil content. Greater the diameter of the pod, greater will be the number of seeds, as well as their own diameter.

This has nothing to do with quality. It certainly does not mean that smaller pods or seeds are inferior to larger ones. As long as the pod has been harvested at the right time and not subject to any kind of damage, the quality from a single harvest is more or less consistent across pods.

However, it’s equally true that pods of various sizes find different uses or applications. The objective of this blog is to enlighten you on the same – and provide an insight on the grading of cardamom.

Why Grading is Necessary

The fact is that cardamom was never graded earlier. It truly was a case of ‘one size fits all’. Grading is the brainchild of Emperor Akbar Cardamom, the world’s leading brand of Alleppey Green Cardamom. Being in the business of cardamom for decades, they are an authority on the subject – and, in fact, have made a huge impact on cardamom trade and usage right around the world.

Cardamom has a variety of uses – from an entire range of foods, cuisines and confectioneries, to medicines, nutraceuticals, health supplements and fragrances. It is also a key ingredient in the flavouring industry. Different applications benefit from different size of pods.

Hence, big may not always be best. Larger pods suit certain applications, medium sized pods are preferred in others, and even small pods find specific use.

That’s why Emperor Akbar decided a grading system was required, to help buyers of cardamom make an informed decision. Accordingly, the brand developed a five-colour grading system, mapped to pod diameter.

The Colour Grading System

The smallest pods, 6 to 7 mm in diameter, are Red Grade. They are characterised by their exotic aroma, and hence find popular use in masalas and spice blends. They are potent detoxifying agents too. Generally, suited to industrial purposes – where seeds and husks are often ground together.

Next in size, 6.5 to 7.5 mm diameter, qualifies pods for an Orange Grade. These pods are rich in flavour, are acidity relievers and, amongst their other uses, deliver a floral flavour to beverages like coffee and tea.

Green Grade comprises pods that range from 7 to 8 mm in diameter. Their oil content makes them versatile culinary agents, enriching dishes with a robust aroma and flavour, equally finding use as a breath freshener.

Then comes Pink Grade – 7.5 mm and greater. Intense and earthy, they are flavour enhancers, adding warmth and body to baked goods.

Finally, Purple Grade – the real whoppers at 8 mm diameter or more. As exotic spicy ingredients, they pack a solid punch into heavy dishes like biryani and exotic sweets and desserts alike.

Setting the Standards

As you can see, the colour grades are useful to point towards the purpose of use. Grading has everything to do with size of pods – and not about quality. Emperor Akbar assures its customers that every pod in every pack of every grade has been carefully selected for its quality. That part is non-negotiable!

Emperor Akbar’s Purple Grade cardamom packs also make for a thoughtful gift idea. In festive season, out of season, or for no reason, too. They convey thoughtfulness and care from giver to recipient.

What was started by Emperor Akbar has now become the industry norm and standard. Other brands have also followed the grading system. Then again, Emperor Akbar is itself the standard for the entire industry to follow. Its grading system is not the only innovation it has gifted the industry. It’s Aroma-lock pack is another – designed to keep the pods fresh for a much longer span of time. Likewise, its shipment cartons – specially engineered to maintain the consistency of the packs they hold, right through the transportation process, wherever in the world that the final destination may be.

Emperor Akbar is India’s leading exporter of green cardamom and a leading supplier right across the globe. It has consistently been acknowledged and felicitated for the same – receiving official accolades. In fact, it is one of only two entities (the other being the Spices Board of India) authorised, via GI Tag certification, to promote and market Alleppey Green Cardamom. Nobody else in the entire world is legally permitted to do so.

The Versatile Spice

Cardamom continues to find increasing use across domestic and industrial sectors. At home and in restaurants around the world it is used to season an entire range of dishes, across an entire spectrum of cuisines. Main course dishes, sweets and desserts, all kinds of beverages and, on a commercial scale, even liqueurs and other alcoholic drinks. Cardamom is a popular ingredient in confectioneries and baked goodies.   

It is now increasingly being used in the pharmaceutical segment as well – in both traditional and modern medicine. It is a mainstay in Ayurvedic as well as traditional Chinese medicine. Likewise, it is finding wider use in the cosmetics and personal care industry as well as Nutraceuticals.

Cardamom essential oil is used in aromatherapy for its calming and invigourating effects. It is becoming a key ingredient in the flavour and fragrance industry as well – finding application in both food and non-food products such as chewing gum, toothpaste and mouthwash.

Now that you have more knowledgeable insights on the grading of cardamom, it makes your purchase decision that much easier. Right here and right now, you can complete your purchase by visiting the Emperor Akbar online store. Grading, quality, consistency… complete reassurance when buying cardamom. Happy shopping!

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