How To Select and Store Cardamom
Both ground and loose seeds of cardamom are available in the spice section of the supermarkets while whole pods are available in specialty stores.
- When buying cardamom, always prefer the green one as it has a complex flavor that is suitable for both sweet and savory dishes. Moreover, whole cardamom pods should be chosen over ground ones. Look for small football-shaped pods having a green tint. They should smell like a combination of pine and flowers.
- If ground cardamom is needed, it is advisable to grind the seeds from a whole pod with a mortar and pestle or spice grinder. However, ground cardamom loses its flavor rapidly while the whole spice stays potent for a year or even longer.
Cardamom is an expensive spice, and so, other spices are often added to ground cardamom to reduce the cost. The opening of the pods or the grinding of the seeds causes a quick loss of the flavor and aroma of the cardamom due to the rapid loss of the essential oils.
Proper storage of cardamom is of prime importance to retain its taste and aroma and extend its shelf life.
- The best way is to store cardamom in the form of pods because once the seeds are exposed or ground, they lose their flavor and aroma rapidly.
- Cardamom pods can last up to a year when stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.
- Dry cardamom capsules should be kept in moisture-proof containers away from direct sunlight.
- For bulk storage on a long-term basis, the pods should be kept in polythene lined gunny bags inside wooden boxes. This will preserve the green color of the pods. Before placing the capsule in the gunny bags for storage, ensure that they are fully dry. Any moisture in the bag will cause them to rot. Moreover, they should be inspected regularly for signs of moisture or spoilage.
- The storage room should be dark, dry, clean, cool, and free from pests. To protect the pods from pests and insects, mosquito nettings should be fitted on the windows. They should be kept away from strong smelling food, detergents, and paints as they will spoil the delicate aroma of cardamom.