Cardamom is one of those unique and unforgettable spices and here are some of the best reasons you should keep cardamom in your pantry. It is one of my favorite spices and I use it in various recipes here at Inspired Homemaker.
Some Of My Recipes With Cardamom
- The Best Cardamom Spiced Granola
- Cardamom Pie Crust
- One Hour Soft Homemade Hamburger Buns With No Egg
- Easy French Galette With Cardamom And Fresh Peaches
- Easy Apricot Freezer Jam (Using Dried Apricots)
- How To Make Delicious Belgian Waffles: Without Yeast
- No Knead Dinner Rolls
- Best Breakfasts For Kids Before School
Taste of Cardamom
The taste of cardamom is unlike any other spice. Cardamom is earthy, minty, sweet, floral, and exotic. This amazing spice adds a depth of flavor to baked goods, Indian cuisine, coffee & tea drinks, and so many other types of dishes.
Cardamom is considered a warm spice with earthy flavors akin to cinnamon and nutmeg. It is a large component of garam masala – a delicious blend of warm spices often used in middle eastern cuisine.
Fresh cardamom pods can be purchased whole or ground into cardamom powder. Green cardamom pods are the most commonly bought and are generally used in both sweet foods and savory recipes.
Open the pods up to find a handful of small seeds. These seeds can be ground up using a spice grinder or a mortar and pestle. The resulting flavor is delicious and robust.
Black cardamom pods are another way to obtain this flavorful spice. These darker pods are green pods left to mature on the plant for a longer period. Not unlike the bell pepper picked first when it is green and then yellow to orange to red. Black cardamom is a much more woody and smokey cardamom spice with notes of black pepper.
The different flavors of this type of black cardamom lend themselves perfectly to savory foods like rice and dahl and they have a strong flavor. A little goes a long way.
Aromatics Of Cardamom
Cardamom is a beautifully aromatic spice – minty, exotic, earthy, romantic, and sweet. Some people associate memories with music or locations, for me, it is all about the aromatics. Cardamom is one of those smells that fills me with good memories.
That unmistakable aroma of complex flavor takes me back to childhood. One of my first memories in the kitchen was with my grandmother (Mimi) when she was baking bread. She would add cardamom to the dough and as she kneaded it, the smell would drift through the air.
It wasn’t until many years later when I smelled that aroma again as an adult that my culinary journey with cardamom began. I love adding cardamom to my recipes, it gives such an intoxicating scent.
About 20 years ago I was fortunate to spend some time in India. The breezes blowing through the markets were heavily sedated with exotic curry blends and the smell of cardamom from vendors that sold chai teas. It was like a moth to a flame to try and resist a cup. Chai (in some places) was served in these beautiful and sustainable clay cups.
Called “India’s dixie cups” you could just throw them on the ground when you were finished and because they were just clay – they mixed back into the earth. I was able to bring a few back home, and they remain to this day one of my most treasured souvenirs.
Versatility Of Cardamom
Another one of the best reasons you should keep cardamom in your pantry is how versatile it is. The flavor of cardamom and its aromatics are delicious in both sweet and savory dishes.
Cardamom Sweet Dishes
- Herbal teas
- Pie Crust
- Fruit Pies (peach, apple, pear, berry)
- Overnight oats/oatmeal
- Rice pudding
- French galette with peaches
- Ice cream
- Plum Clafoutis
Cardamom Savory Dishes
- Indian Lima Bean Curry
- Seafood Dishes
- Spice blend – make your own
- Rice dishes
- Red meat rub
How To Use Cardamom
Cardamom is very easy to use. Ground cardamom is found in many local grocery stores or can be purchased online. This is what I use. It is easily measured and added to any drink or dish that you like. Sprinkle some on your morning coffee grounds before brewing and take your coffee to the next level!
Over time ground cardamom can lose some of its potency so it’s best kept sealed in a glass jar. I go through it so fast that I have never had an issue though.
Getting cardamom in whole pods requires an additional step in the preparation. Open up the pods to release the seeds. You can then grind the seeds to a finer texture or use as is. If you are making a stew or a curry dish just open the pod and throw the whole thing in – pod and seeds. Just fish the pod out before serving as it is a bit fibrous.
One of my favorite uses of cardamom is in my spiced cardamom granola recipe. It is the perfect healthy snack to sustain you throughout the day. I love selling it at markets – I’m known as the granola lady.
Health Benefits Of Cardamom
Another one of the best reasons to keep cardamom in your pantry is the huge array of health benefits. Elettaria cardamomum (or true cardamom) has been used in healing rituals for centuries.
It is widely recognized for its beneficial effects in aiding digestive well-being, lowering blood sugar and blood pressure, easing nausea, and lowering stress. As a diabetic, I am particularly interested in using cardamom to help reduce my blood glucose levels.
In addition to those medicinal properties, cardamom is also highly regarded as an antioxidant. Cinnamon is full of these antioxidants as well. Antioxidants are molecules that help your body fight off free radicals in diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.
All types of cardamom have long been used in traditional Chinese herbal medicines for years as an anti-inflammatory. Cardamom is also used to improve oral hygiene by combating bacteria that cause cavities. Just pop a green pod of cardamom in your mouth and chew away – it is surprisingly refreshing.
Vitamins in Cardamom
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamin B3
While there is no true standalone cardamom substitute, a blend of equal amounts of cinnamon, nutmeg, and coriander with just a pinch of dried mint comes close.
Coriander seeds are the second stage of bloom from the cilantro plant and give off a citrus/floral note. When combined with the rich and sweet ground cinnamon and the earthy nutmeg this mixture could resemble the distinct flavor of cardamom.
Origins Of Cardamom
Common Name: Cardamom
Latin Name: Elettaria Cardamomum
Other Names: Capalaga, Ilachi, Ceylon Cardamom, Green Cardamom, True Cardamom
Native to the Indian subcontinent, cardamom is known as the “queen of spices”. This member of the ginger family originated in India’s lush southern rainforests which are known as the Cardamom Hills. These tropical climates promote the perfect place to grow cardamom plants.
Cardamom is commonly found in India, Burma (Myanmar), and Sri Lanka. Today, Guatemala also produces much of the world’s commercial cardamom supply. It is one of the most expensive spices by weight but a little goes a long way.
The first ever uses of cardamon were recorded in ancient Egypt over 4,000 years ago, it was used mainly in medicinal rituals. It was then used by the Romans, Vikings, and eventually, there were cardamom plantations set up by the British Empire. Cardamom is rich in history and is still highly regarded today.
Cardamom In Folklore And Magic
This aromatic herb is known to soothe the soul and the mind. Cardamom is thought to bring about positivity and enhance spiritual intuition and connections. Spiritualists believe that keeping cardamom in your kitchen can bring about good fortune and good luck.
Cardamom is associated with the planet Venus and is thought to help improve your memory. When cardamom is burned as incense, it gives off a relaxing energy and mood-enhancing properties.
Wrapping up The Best Reasons You Should Keep Cardamom In Your Pantry
Whether you use whole cardamom pods or powder form, this minty and sweet spice deserves a place in your spice rack. The delicious flavor profile will set your dishes apart from the rest. Add a teaspoon of cardamom to your next loaves of bread or the meat rub for the next bbq. Don’t forget the fruit jams and muffins. Give this delicious old-world spice a try.
These are some of my best reasons you should keep cardamom in your pantry – What is yours?
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