In the Cardamom Hills of southern India, wild cardamom bushes have grown for some 2000 years. They flourish in rainforests and in some cases can grow to eighteen feet tall. Guatemala is now the chief exporter of the highest quality cardamom pods. Cardamom has a strong, pungent aroma and a flowery, almost eucalyptus type flavor. There are 17 to 20 tiny inner seeds in each peanut sized pod.
Bleached white pods are simply the fancy green pods bleached with sulfur dioxide for aesthetic reasons. Scandinavia is the largest importer in Europe of cardamom and they use the bleached white pods to make cookies, muffins, buns and spiced cakes.