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Cardamom :: Herb of the Month

Posted Mar 26 2010 6:14pm

Cardamom [Elettaria cardamomum]

I love most herbs and spices. Cardamom is up there as one of my favorites. I enjoy its warm and pungent aromatic fragrance, and tasting it’s unique flavor, especially in Indian dishes, but you can find the flavor of cardamom in Middle Eastern and Scandinavian dishes too.

Elettaria :: Green Cardamom

Two Varieties

Elettaria is the most commonly recognized of the two varieties. It is light green and looks like little puffed triangular pods. Amomum is the larger dark brown pods. Both are members of the ginger family Zingiberaceae and have alias names.

Elettaria aka green cardamom or true cardamom
Amomum aka black or brown cardamom, Kravan, Java cardamom, Bengal cardamom, Siamese cardamom, white cardamom, or red cardamom. Additionally, you may see white cardamom, which is mainly used in Northern European.

Purchasing and Storing

There are three ways to purchase green cardamom: whole pods, seeds, or powdered form. Some recipes may call for pods, some for seeds. Personally, I like to purchase the pods because they offer the longest shelf life. I’ll open as many pods as I need to use the seeds, or grind them into powder in a spice mill or coffee grinder.

Like all spices, it is best to keep cardamom in an airtight container away from heat and direct light. If your local markets doesn’t carry cardamom, there are online resources where you can purchase this wonderful spice.

Benefits and Uses

Cardamom has numerous health benefits like improving digestion and stimulating the metabolism. Use cardamom seeds to flavor coffee and curries, desserts, pudding, and mulled wine. One of the best known beverages featuring the taste of cardamom is chai. Cloves and cinnamon combine well with cardamom.

Recipe

Garam Masala

Making your own homemade blend is the best.

6 green cardamom pod seeds
1 tablespoon fresh grated nutmeg
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves or equivalent whole cloves
1 teaspoon ground or fresh mace
1 teaspoon ground or whole caraway seeds
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
4 black peppercorns

Split open cardamom pods by crushing the outer shell with the back of a spoon or spatula. Coolect the seeds and add to a coffee grinder along with all the remaining ingredients. Grind spices into a powder, about 3-4- seconds.

Transfer powdered spice mix to a bowl or container. Continue grinding spices, if there are any left, and add to bowl or container. Store in a small jar with a tight fitting lid until ready to use. Keeps between 3 – 6 month if stored properly. Keep away from heat and excess sunlight.

Cardamom pods, hulled, or powder

Giveaway

At the end of this month, one of your names will be drawn from the comment section of this post, and our wonderful sponsor Mountain Rose Herbs will send a gift cardamom to the winning participant.

I’d love to know how you use cardamom. Share your tips, suggestions, and ideas in the comment section.

Thanks for stopping by.

xoxo,
Ingrid

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