Cardamom Deep Dive
On our herbs + spices shelf, you can find Black Cardamom Pods, Green Cardamom Pods, Cardamom Seeds, and Ground Cardamom. Some folks use cardamom on a regular basis, and some have never even considered adding it to their pantry. We hope this informative breakdown and our collection of recipes will empower our home cooks to give it a try!
Cardamom comes from a plant in the same family as Ginger! You can see some similarities when looking at the whole crop. We love the images found in The Spice Companion by Lior Lev Sercraz. Historically, Egyptions chewed on the seeds to cleanse their teeth + used it's natural oils as a perfume! Cardamom is referred to as the third most expensive spice behind Saffron and Vanilla.
Green Cardamom Pods have a complex floral taste with citrus notes. The flavor is long lasting with a touch of bitterness, it is commonly known as the Queen of Spices as it enhances both sweet and savory dishes. Originating in the forests of India, it is now found in many popular dishes across Africa, Nordic countries, Asia, the Middle East, and of course, India. You may be most familiar with is in Turkish Coffee, Garam Masala, and Masala Chai. Green Cardamom was introduced to Guatamala in the 1920's and that's exactly where we source ours from today! We loved using whole Green Cardamom Pods in our Spiced Cinnamon Rolls, Cardamom + Pink Peppercorn Brownies, and Chickpea + Beef Stew.
Black Cardamom Pods are much larger than Green Cardamom Pods. Other than their titles and origin plant, they don't have much else in common. When harvesting, black cardamom pods are hand picked and then dried for almost a full day near the smoke of an open fire, carrying on that dark color + smoky flavor to the final meal. You can find Black Cardamom Pods in in many Sichuan braises + Vietnamese Pho. Native to the Himalayas, Napal, and India- our black cardamom pods are imported from India. When cooking with these pods, they are typically toasted just moments before using. You can crack, release seeds, or use whole and remove the shell later.
Our Cardamom Seeds are from Green Cardamom Pods, so also imported from Guatemala. There are roughly 15-20 seeds per pod, and each seed is a similar size to a peppercorn. Since these are already separated from their protective pods, they do lose flavor faster but could be considered easier to use since they can be simply ground or infused into a dish and removed before serving. Unlike pods, the seeds to not need to be toasted to accomplish their maximum flavor. We used the seeds in our Tea Party! Blog for a quick infusion.
Most often in America you'll find Ground Cardamom. Having it in this form makes it quick + easy for baking. It pairs very nicely either sweet or savory such as cinnamon, oranges, and duck! You can give ground cardamom a try in our Molten Chocolate Lava Cake Kit, or this East-West Ginger Cake we've enjoyed!
In less words, Black Cardamom is best for longer cooking methods where you can infuse the strong flavor and then remove the pods towards the end. It's bold, smoky flavor is best for savory dishes. With Green Cardamom, you can use the entire spice and pair it either sweet or savory.
Come by the shop anytime to experiment with the team at our smelling wall!