Cardamom is a herb that is often used as a spice in foods. The seeds and the oil from the seeds are also sometimes used to make medicine. Cardamom is also said to contain chemicals that might kill some bacteria, reduce swelling, and help the immune system. Here is all you need to know All About Cardamom, Types, Recipes, Storage, and Taste.

Cardamom has a strong, sweet, pungent flavour and aroma, with hints of lemon and mint. Black cardamom has a smoky note and a cooling menthol one as well.

Cardamom is used to spice both sweet and savoury dishes. It comes in two types and is used as whole pods, seeds, or ground. Cardamom is found in the garam masala spice mixture that seasons meat and vegetable dishes, and in hot beverages such as masala chai and Turkish coffee.

What Is Cardamom?

Cardamom is a spice made from the seed pods of various plants in the ginger family. Cardamom pods are spindle-shaped and have a triangular cross-section. The pods contain a number of seeds, but the entire cardamom pod can be used whole or ground. The seeds are small and black, while the pods differ in colour and size by species.

What are the types of Cardamom?

There are two main types of cardamom that are black cardamom and green cardamom, and there is also white cardamom which is a bleached version of green cardamom

Green cardamom is scientifically known as Elettaria cardamomomis known as true cardamom, which is the most common variety that you are most likely to come across. It is the top choice for sweet dishes but also works well in savoury dishes.

White cardamom is the bleached version of green cardamon and has less flavour. It is grown in tropical areas including India, Malaysia, and Costa Rica.

Black cardamom is scientifically known as Amomum subulatum. It has larger pods that are dark brown. It has a smoky element that makes it more appropriate for savoury dishes, but it is used in sweet dishes as well in southern India. It is grown in the eastern Himalayas.

Should I use Whole or Ground Cardamon?

Recipes which use black cardamom often call for using the whole pod, with the seeds intact. The pods are then discarded after cooking is done as chewing on the whole pod is unpleasant.

Ground cardamom is usually called for when the spice is added to batters and baked goods. If you don’t plan to use your ground cardamom quickly (ideally within a month), buy whole cardamom instead of ground cardamom, and then grind it yourself. Cardamom’s flavour fades quickly after grinding, so freshly ground cardamom is always the first choice.

What Does cardamom Taste Like?

Cardamom has a strong, sweet, pungent flavour and aroma, with hints of lemon and mint. Black cardamom has a smoky note and a cooling menthol one as well.

How to Cook with Cardamom?

You can use powdered cardamom added directly to recipes that call for ground cardamom, but you will get more flavour by starting with the pods. Toast green cardamom pods in a dry skillet for a few minutes. Let them cool for a minute and then remove the seeds from the pods. Save the pods to use for adding to coffee or tea for flavour. Grind the seeds in a ​mortar and pestle for best results, or you can use a motorized spice grinder (like a coffee grinder).

If you are using green cardamom for hot drinks such as coffee, simply grind three to four cardamom seeds along with your coffee beans and pour your hot water over as usual. Some traditions grind the whole pod, but it’s fine to use the seeds only.

Which Recipes use Cardamom?

cardamom is employed to season everything from baked goods to hamburgers and meatloaves. It matches well with cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves in autumn-spiced recipes, and these spices are also included with cardamom in Indian spice mixtures, such as garam masala. Drinks from mulled wine to hot cider to eggnog will benefit from an unexpected hint of cardamom. 

Where to Buy cardamon in Uganda

Green cardamom sold as ground cardamom and whole cardamom pods can be found at Nakasero Market, and in the spice section of big supermarkets like mega standard, capital shoppers, Carrefour etc

How to Store cardamon

The best way to store cardamom as whole pods is in a sealed container in a cool, dry place. Ground cardamom can be stored similarly, but will quickly lose its rich taste and flavour and should be used as soon as possible. The whole cardamom will maintain its fragrant scent and flavour for up to a year. Ground cardamom should be used up more quickly for the best quality and potency, ideally within three months.

Both ground and whole cardamom should therefore be stored in an airtight container in a cool, dark space without constant exposure to natural light. A cupboard or drawer is ideal.

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