A little goes a long way when you're cooking with cardamom. This pungent spice tastes something like ginger with a pinch of pine and has an aroma reminiscent of eucalyptus.
Cardamom flavors everything from Scandinavian pastries to Indian curries. It seasons sweets, fruits, vegetables, duck, pork, meatballs…and, in the Middle East, coffee. You can even chew on the seeds to freshen your breath.
The spice is available dried in pods or ground but keeps best in the pods. Its flavor diminishes once the green pods are opened and the dark brown seeds are ground, so it is important to store cardamom correctly. Always keep it in an airtight container and avoid extremes of heat, light and humidity.
You can get a taste of cardamom in these tried-and-true recipes.
Crushed cardamom seeds and cinnamon season these yummy yeast rolls called Cardamom Cinnamon Knots (shown above with Cardamom Cookies). Writes Vivian Donner from Jackson, Michigan, "My sister and I translated all the pinches and dashes in our mom's instructions to get this recipe."
Field editor Mary Steiner of West Bend, Wisconsin sent her recipe for these melt-in-your-mouth Cardamom Cookies. Cardamom, almond extract and walnuts enhance the flavor of these buttery cookies.
"These slightly sweet Cardamom Carrots (pictured at left) go over big whenever I serve them. They're particularly nice at holidays," says field editor Joan Hallford of North Richland Hills, Texas.