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Why Is Cardamom So Expensive? 7 Supersizing Factors!

Can’t give up on that flavor?

Cardamom is a spice people love to add to their cuisines for the delicious punch it brings into its dishes, but sadly, it is also listed among the top ten contenders for the priciest spice around the globe.

You must have heard certain facts about cardamom.

Stuff like how it’s good for your health, how it is a native spice to places like India and Indonesia, and how it can be used for various different purposes.

But if you’re still wondering why is cardamom so expensive, we have quite a few reasons to answer your question.

But before that, let’s talk a little about cardamom.

Cardamoms in a bowl—why is cardamom so expensive?
Why is cardamom so expensive? – Image via Jaspreet Kalsi.

Why Is Cardamom So Expensive? A little about Cardamom

Cardamoms are said to have a hint of mint, citrus, and spice mixed together in their taste.

It’s a warm spice grown under the intensity of a warm climate, and it goes well in addition to red meat, tea, and sweet fruits.

It is used in curries, sweets, and other cuisines, despite being relatively newer to areas other than Asia and Northern Africa.

You can find wide varieties of cardamom, but the major ones are as follows:

1.      Black Cardamom

Black cardamoms, named from their color, have a hot smokey flavor like paprika.

It’s usually only harvested when the cardamom has completely matured. Once dried, the cardamom can be about 2 inches long.

2.     Green Cardamom

Often called white cardamom because of its almost bleach-like color, green cardamoms are most often used in the kitchen.

It’s harvested before it hits maturity and has to be dried for around 18 hours before it can be used or sold. They’re most often manually picked to ensure they haven’t matured yet.

One kilogram of this spice can cost you around 90$ in retail.

If you compare it to black cardamom, green cardamom will cost you more.

3.     Ground Cardamom

Ground Cardamom is crushed, and the grinding adds an extra process to cater for. This is probably why these cardamoms are more costly than the others mentioned above.

Why Is Cardamom So Expensive?

So, why is cardamom so expensive? Here is a list of factors that add to the price of the cardamom shooting up.

1.      Process

The first thing that factors into the price of cardamom is the process of producing and harvesting cardamom.

This is the most labor-intensive step and can take up to three years before it results in a profit.

Plus, all pods of cardamom grow at different rates. So, every pod requires someone to harvest the cardamom at different times!

One kilogram of cardamom needs about 6 kilograms of pods to be manually collected. Even after collection, you can’t be sure if all the cardamom inside will be perfect for sale.

This adds a higher cost to this spice because farmers need to cover the labor cost and time spent on its development.

2.     Sensitive Plants

Cardamom plants also require a good amount of care and attention to grow.

Especially since their pods are open to attacks from insects and fungus, this also increases the effort required in its development and its cost by increasing their maintenance cost!

3.     Weather and Limitations

Yields from plants like cardamom are highly dependent on the weather. When the weather becomes unfavorable, the yield goes down.

Cardamom also requires certain parameters to grow efficiently, i.e., fertile soil and a warm climate with moisture.

This means that farmers have to spend more on creating a similar setup or have limited areas where they can grow cardamom successfully.

4.     Supply

Such factors are likely to influence the number of cardamoms produced per year.

When the number of cardamoms you have is lesser than the number of cardamoms in demand, prices hike up!

5.      Demand

Cardamom has seen high demand rates, especially in the last few years, and the higher the demand for something, the more value there is in that product and the higher its price becomes.

So, what has brought this increase in demand, plus how and why is cardamom so expensive because of it?

Unique Taste

Cardamom has a unique flavor you can’t get from other spices. This makes it a product unlike other spices and, therefore, more attractive for users to buy.

Medicine and Herbal Uses

Cardamom is a house for rich vitamins and minerals.

Cardamoms have been used for centuries in Asia as a measure for Ayurvedic medicine. Its healing properties have been tested and researched to see how it helps people control and curb their glucose intolerance, weight, and inflammation.

Related article: Why Are Pistachios So Expensive? 8 Reasons That You Would’ve Never Guessed!

Is There a Smart Way to Buy Cardamom?

Now that you’ve found the answer to why cardamom is so expensive, it’s time to understand if there’s a way to cut out your cost on your Cardamom supply.

Find the Farmer

You can cut the middleman and retail cost of the extra added profit by directly contacting the farm or buying it from someone who grows it themselves.

Be the Farmer

Some people like to grow their own spices and vegetables. Even though you may live in a different climate than the kind of cardamom requires, you can still manage to grow it inside your homes if you plan it right.

Buy an Alternative

Even though the taste of cardamom is unique to itself, you can use other warm spices to deliver a similar punch.

The alternatives are turmeric, ginger, and cinnamon; all of these are warm and spicy but not even near as expensive as cardamom!

Spices in plates on the table—why is cardamom so expensive?
Why is cardamom so expensive? If you find cardamoms out of your budget, you can try a mix of different spices to enhance the taste of your dishes—Image via Rens D.

Conclusion

Cardamoms can provide you with a memorable, new food experience.

It has its own perks and flavor. So, it’s definitely something you need to try and add to your life and cuisine, and if you use it sparingly and buy it smartly, you can find ways to keep the cost under your budget.

The best solution to minimizing your daily dose of Cardamom cost is only by catching a better deal. Please share your comments and let us know your thoughts about costly cardamoms!

Regards.