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March 12, 2024 4 min read

Cardamom is a common spice used in both savory and sweet dishes, especially in South Asian and Middle Eastern cooking. It has a strong, and slightly sweet flavor, often described as a mix of citrusy, minty, and herbal notes.

There are two main varieties: green and black. These elongated, spindle-shaped pods have an outer shell enclosing tiny black seeds, which are the part used as a spice. In this guide, we'll show you how to grind cardamom seeds for use in cooking.


How to Prep the Seeds for Grinding?

 

close up view of cardamom pods open
Credit: Envato Elements/ xewex

To prepare cardamom seeds for grinding, begin by removing them from the pods. You can easily do this by gently breaking open the pods using your fingers or a small knife. Once the seeds inside are separated, discard the pods.


How to Grind Cardamom Seeds


After separating the seeds from whole cardamom pods, you have a couple of options to grind them:


Option 1: Mortar and Pestle

 

mortar and pestle with seeds inside
Credit: Envato Elements/ wirestock

Start by placing just the seeds in the mortar. Use the pestle to crush and grind the seeds into a powder. You'll need to apply pressure and grind in a circular motion to break down the seeds effectively. It may take a bit of effort, but continue doing this until the seeds are finely ground and release their aromatic oils.


Option 2: Rolling Pin Method

 

rolling pin on table with flour
Credit: Envato Elements/ valeriygoncharukphoto

Another method you can use is a rolling pin. After separating the little seeds from the pods, place them on a clean, dry surface such as parchment paper or a cutting board. Then, gently press the rolling pin over the seeds, rolling back and forth to crush them. Continue grinding with the rolling pin until they reach your desired consistency.


Option 3: Spice Grinder or Coffee Grinder

 

coffe grinder with coffee beans outside
Credit: Envato Elements/ NoShanti

You can also use a coffee or spice grinder. First, place the separated seeds in the grinder. Then, pulse the grinder until the seeds are finely ground. It's best to grind in short bursts to prevent overheating the grinder.


Option 4: Garlic Press

 

garlic dress with garlic pods outside
Credit: Envato Elements/ NomadSoul1

After separating the cardamom seeds from the pods, place a small amount of cardamom seeds into the chamber of the garlic press. Make sure not to overfill it, as this could make it difficult to press. Squeeze the handles of the garlic press firmly together. The cardamom seeds will be crushed and extruded through the holes. You might need to do this a couple of times to get all the seeds through. Use a spoon or a small brush to collect the ground cardamom from the press. If needed, you can use a knife or a small tool to remove any seeds stuck in the press.


Tips and Tricks

 

mortar and pestle with cardamom seeds outside
Credit: Envato Elements/ Nikolaydonetsk

When grinding cardamom, keep these tips in mind:


  • Make sure to use clean, dry equipment to prevent moisture from affecting the grinding process.
  • Use fresh seeds for the best flavor. Avoid using old or stale seeds for grinding.
  • For an extra burst of flavor, toast pre-ground cardamom seeds before grinding.
  • Check for any debris or impurities mixed with the seeds before grinding.

How to Store the Ground Seeds

 

glass jar with cardamom pods inside
Credit: Envato Elements/ Olga_Kochina

Storing ground cardamom powder properly is essential to maintain its freshness and flavor. Here's how:


Use an airtight container: Transfer the crushed seeds to a clean, airtight container. This helps prevent air and moisture from entering, preserving the flavor.

Store in a cool, dark place: Store the container out of direct sunlight and heat sources. Exposure to light and heat can cause the flavor to degrade.

Label the container: Label the container with the date of grinding to keep track of freshness. Ground cardamom typically retains its flavor for about six months to a year.

Avoid storing near strong-smelling spices: Cardamom can absorb odors from other spices, so keep it away from strong-smelling spices like cinnamon or cloves.

Use a moisture absorber: If your area is particularly humid, consider adding a moisture absorber packet to the container to help prevent clumping and maintain freshness.


FAQs


Can I grind cardamom seeds with their pods?

It's best to remove the seeds from the pods before grinding, as the pods can be fibrous and may not grind as finely.


How can I tell if cardamom seeds are fresh?

Fresh cardamom seeds will have a strong, aromatic smell and a slightly oily feel. They should also be plump and not shriveled. If the seeds are dry or have little aroma, they may be old.


Is there a difference in flavor between green and black cardamom when ground

Yes, green cardamom has a sweet, eucalyptus-like flavor, suitable for both sweet and savory dishes. Black cardamom is smokier and best used in savory dishes.


How much ground cardamom does one pod yield?

This can vary, but on average, one pod of green cardamom yields about 1/6 to 1/4 teaspoon of ground cardamom.


Can I substitute ground cardamom for cardamom pods?

Yes, you can. The general conversion is 1 cardamom pod equals 1/6 teaspoon of ground cardamom.


Where can I buy cardamom pods from?

You can generally buy these pods from superstores, general stores, spice specialty stores, or even order them online.


Summary


Now that you know everything there is to know about grinding cardamom seeds for cooking, go ahead and use your chosen tool. And if you're looking for the perfect tool to grind your cardamom seeds, check out Pepe Nero mortar and pestle. Crafted with durable materials and a user-friendly design, the Pepe Nero makes grinding spices a breeze. Shop with us today.


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