decorticated - seeds
whole pods - green pods
ground - seeds
Whole green cardamom are small seed capsules with papery outer shells. They have ridges running along their length and taper at either ends. When fresh, and quality-dried, they are green in color and somewhat plump. The capsules are triangular in cross-section, and when opened reveal 15-20 small black-brown and intensely aromatic seeds.
Crushing whole green cardamom to expose the seeds will add to the already strong aroma of these capsules. This is a process required for most recipes. Buying cardamom whole and crushing (and/or extracting the seeds) as needed, allows for the greatest flavor and aroma impact. Additional punch can be achieved by lightly toasting the cardamom before using; the enticing scent of the pods will rise from your pan.
Cardamom's distinctive flavor and aroma allows it to be used in either savory or sweet dishes. It pairs well with other warm spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and turmeric; and it is popular in curries, baked goods, as well as in tea and coffee beverages.
PROCESSING / FORM
1.5 oz (43 g) per 1/2 cup
Though green cardamom pods are the most familiar to Americans, cardamom also can be found in black and white varieties. Though the term white cardamom is often (but not always) in reference to a bleached version of the green cardamom pods; black cardamom is a different species Amomum subulatum.
Fortunately, with this pricy spice a little goes a long way. Exercise restraint when including cardamom in your dishes, it can quickly overpower your other ingredients.
The Greeks and Romans infused oils with cardamom pods to make a perfume.