Friday, February 25, 2011
March Spice Rack Challenge: Cardamom
According to my favorite purveyors of spices, Penzeys, here is some information about this month's spice -Cardamom:
An extremely flavorful and ancient spice native to India, cardamom's use has spread throughout the world, with nearly every culture having its own distinctive use for the flavorful seeds. In India where both green and black cardamom are used, it is an important ingredient in meat and vegetable dishes. In parts of the Middle East the seeds are mixed with green coffee beans before brewing. In Northern Europe (especially Scandinavia) white cardamom is used to season baked goods such as Christmas stollen, cakes, cookies, muffins and buns. Green cardamom is preferred in India and the Middle East. Cardamom is a pod consisting of an outer shell with little flavor, and tiny inner seeds with intense flavor. Fancy white and green pods have no splits or cracks in the shell, so the flavor keeps well. Stored in a glass jar, cardamom pods will stay fresh indefinitely. Shelled or decorticated cardamom seeds are inexpensive and flavorful, but sometimes need to be crushed or ground before use. Ground cardamom has an intensely strong flavor and is easy to use (especially in baking, where the fine powder is desirable). Black cardamom, long a staple in African cooking, was originally used in India as a cheap substitute for green cardamom pods. Black cardamom has a unique smoky flavor and has developed its own following over the years.
As a friendly reminder, your post needs to be published on your blog in the 3rd week of March - no sooner than Mar. 13 and no later than Mar. 18. Many of you have been posting outside of your posting week and I might miss your post if you do. I am looking forward to your cooking creativity this month!