Two reasons why you shouldn’t buy pre-ground cardamom:
1) It’s expensive
2) It has a shelf life shorter than Bruce Willis’ singing career.
Granted, it’s a pain to grind your own, but the payoff is in the taste — and the aroma.
Grind only as much as you need for your recipe. A tablespoon of pods should yield two teaspoons of ground cardamom, give or take.
I know what you’re thinking, and no, you can’t just grind the whole pod. Unless, of course, you’re the type that doesn’t peel ginger before grating either.
But really, who am I to judge? I grew up eating Frito Pie.
Toast the cardamom pods in a dry skillet over medium heat for 2 or 3 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally, if you really want to intensify the flavor.
Place the cardamom pods in a mortar (or just put them on a cutting board) and smash with a pestle to crack open the pods.
Spread the cracked pods out, so you can pick out the shells and discard. Don’t drive yourself to drinking by trying to get every last little shard of shell. This is good enough.
The seeds are rock hard, so instead of putting them back into the mortar, I put them in my spice grinder (just an old Krups coffee grinder I retired from coffee grinding and use only to grind spices now).
Whirl the seeds in the grinder for 30 seconds or so, just until you have a fine powder.
Remove the lid of the grinder and watch everyone within 20 feet swoon with ecstasy. Fresh ground cardamom is the most fragrant spice ever, and it has been known to make me weep with joy.
Please don’t skip over recipes that call for cardamom, thinking it’s too expensive. I bought a 3-1/2 ounce bag of green cardamom pods at an Indian grocery for $2.29. The pods will last for at least a year, maybe longer.
As tempting as it might be to grind a bunch at once — don’t. That defeats the purpose.
Besides, don’t you want to watch everyone fall to the floor when you lift the lid off the spice grinder? That only happens when you grind your cardamon seeds fresh from the pod.
If you have a recipe that calls for cardamom, please share — just leave a link in the comments.