Sweet and spicy, warm and aromatic, cardamom adds a distinctive touch to cakes, pastries and breads and is equally compatible with meat dishes, curries, sweet potatoes and beans.
Cardamom seeds are procured through the process of Decortication, in which the seed(s) shell or pod is removed. When good quality, fresh cardamom seed is decorticated the 1/8 inch light brown to black seeds initially cling together because of a sticky seed membrane. This membrane eventually dries to a white, flaky chaff-like substance that sticks to the seed or collects at the bottom of the bag. This chaff does not affect the flavor or quality of the seed. Recipes usually call for the whole or ground seeds rather than whole pods. The best quality cardamom seeds are fully ripe, hard, and dark brown in color. The strong, sharply aromatic flavor is often described as anise or eucalyptus-like.
Try cardamom in cakes, cookies and pies, stews and loaves, meat and vegetable pies, fruit salads and desserts (like baked apple), mulled wine, grape jelly, pickles, sausage seasoning, soups (especially split pea soup), and with sweet potatoes, carrots and squash.