Cardamom is indigenous to South India but is now cultivated and processed in North Africa and the Middle East, as well as other parts of the world. This is perhaps one of the costliest herbs to buy. The green pods contain small, black seeds that give of a strong lemon-like aroma and flavour.
Cardamom works well with both sweet and savoury dishes. Fruit and nut-based desserts are elevated by adding cardamom to the mix. Cardamom is also worthy replacement of allspice in dishes that require it. It is best accompanied in pumpkin, squash and sweet potato dishes. It also works wonders in tomato-based stews. In North Africa and the Middle East, people often add a handful of cardamom pods to a pot of stock while chicken or duck is cooked.
The most important point is that dried herbs and spices can never go bad if they are kept dry. Yes, the potency is lost, but it will still influence the flavor of your cooking.
Seeds, roots, leaves and flowers last longer than crushed or ground herbs and spices. When you are preparing to store your dry herbs and spices it is vital that they are completely dry. A good indication is to rub it with your finger to check if it crumbles. As oxygen degrades dried herbs and spices over time, you should store them in airtight containers. Glass jars with sealable lids are perfect, and so are metal tins. Plastic wonâ€™t do for long terms storage. Sunlight also degrades dried herbs and spices; therefore, it should be stored in a dark cabinet that is both cool and dry. If your spice rack is near the stove or cooker, steam will degrade your herbs and spices each time you open the container while cooking. When buying in bulk, you should always store only some of the dried herbs and spices in a glass or metal container. Each time you open it, it is exposed to the elements. When buying in bulk it is useful to label your containers with the purchase date and discard date.