Cardamom Seeds Vs Pods: What’s The Difference?

Cardamom

Cardamom, the third most expensive spice in the world, is used to add a special touch to your dishes with the plethora of flavors it delivers. With its cooking as well as medicinal usages, it is an amazing spice to keep at home and both pods and seeds can be used in various ways.

This brings us to the question, what is the difference between cardamom seeds and pods?

The answer is simple as one is the container and the other is the item. Consider the whole cardamom plant, the pods that grow on it are the shells of the collection of seeds that is inside.

You can use both cardamom seeds and pods to cook and both will reap different benefits. Here is a closer look at everything you need to know about cardamom!

Cardamom

Cardamon Seeds Vs Pods: Comparison Table

Though cardamom seeds and pods come from the same plant, pods definitely have more of an advantage over seeds.

Usage and amount may differ according to your requirement, so we have compared the benefits and losses of both! Let’s take a quick look at the differences.

Characteristics Cardamom Seed Cardamom Pod
Source Seed pods of the cardamom plant Cardamom plant
Elettaria (green pods origin)
Amomum (black pods origin)
Appearance
  • Small and either black/green
  • Inside cardamom pods
  • Seeds have a sweet scent
  • Triangular shaped/ rounded/spindle-shaped
  • On true cardamom trees
  • An overpowering strong and sweet scent
Used For
  • Medicine
  • Cooking (use when you want to add just a hint of cardamom to your dish)
  • Used more widely in various dishes 
  • Medicine
  • Cooking (using a pod will have a stronger flavor and can be overpowering)
  • Used mostly for large dishes
Shelf life Last longer if stored properly without losing its flavor It will last for around only a year without losing flavor
Usage Seeds removed from pods then ground and used Usually boiled with large dishes or grounded whole before adding to the recipe

Cardamom has phytochemicals that also make it a medicinal remedy for digestive issues. Both pods and seeds have anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties which are great to include in your daily tea and other consumables. 

Cardamom Seeds Vs Pods: What Is The Main Difference?

Originally, cardamom is a spice made from the seed pods of different types of plants that come from the ginger family. It has an aromatic fragrance and many different purposes.

The strong taste adds flavor to both sweet and savory dishes. It is native to India, though it can be found in Middle Eastern Cuisine as well. 

Cardamom pods are triangular in cross-section and spindle-shaped. The shell is a thin and papery layer. And the pods are overall small in size. It is often mistaken to be its seed, but those are actually inside the pod and are even tinier.

Both the seeds and pods can be used in cooking and are equally effective, though using pods is usually more effective.

Cardamom pods are mainly of two types, Elettaria pods (light green and smaller than the other) and Amomum pods (larger and dark brown).

There is another type – white cardamom, but it’s just a bleached (to get rid of the strong flavor) version of green cardamom seeds and is not really a variant.

The ground cardamom that we know of comes from its seeds. Hence, both can be used for cooking and medicinal purposes. 

How To Use Cardamom Seeds?

Cardamom

Cardamom seeds are the simplest form of spice so you do not need any other forms to ground them into a powder.

Only a ½ teaspoon of cardamom seeds is enough to substitute for a whole tablespoon of ground cardamom powder. The seeds are generally used to make beverages like tea and a handful is added to rice to give it a certain flavor. 

How To Use Cardamom Pods?

Although the pods of the cardamom plant are also edible, no one would like to bite into that strong flavor even after it is boiled.

Hence, they are usually disposed of, even if they may be fibrous. The water from boiling cardamom pods can also be used for lemonade, curries, and rice. They can be used simply by boiling the whole pod with the dish or by grinding the seeds while still inside the pod.

Note that cardamom, especially pods have a strong scent and taste when mixed with different foods. Hence, it is always better to start by using a small amount. 

Cardamom Seeds Vs Pods: Pros And Cons

Since cardamom pods and seeds are the same things when it comes to smell and flavor, which one is best suited for you depends on which pro is more beneficial and which con will keep you from buying the other. Here is a comparison of which one to use according to your needs.

Type Pros Cons
Cardamom Seed
  • Easy to use and the amount you need can be controlled
  • Can be used easily just like ground cardamom
  • Useful when you need it in small amounts which are very efficient for daily usage
  • Loses flavor when not stored properly
  • Smaller shelf life
Cardamom Pod
  • Longer shelf life 
  • It will not lose its flavor over time
  • Gives you more amount of cardamom
  • Easy to crush without losing any flavor
  • Smell and flavor can be overpowering if not added carefully
  • Needs to be slow-cooked to extract flavor
  • Is not good for daily usage due to time consumption and strong flavor unless grounded

The fair thing to do would be to buy cardamom pods due to their longevity and efficiency. You get both seeds and pods whenever necessary and can even grind them into powder whenever required. 

How To Store Cardamom?

Unlike the ground cardamom in packets that we find in stores, cardamom is best stored in its initial stage in a pod.

Ground cardamom eventually loses its flavor as well. Hence, it is better to store the whole pods in a tightly sealed container in a cool and dark place. That way, the essential oils are kept inside, causing the spice to last more than its ground form would.

Never keep your cardamom in the sun for too long as it may cause it to lose its potency. Also, remember to never use wet spoons when dealing with them as moisture is a big no for all sorts of spice storage.

To check if your cardamom seeds, pods, or powder have expired, crush a little of it and rub it on your hand. If the aroma is weak and the flavor is not clear, your cardamom is not good to use.

Can I Use Cardamom Seeds Instead Of Cardamom Pods?

You can use cardamom seeds instead of their pods for sure. The output of flavor in a dish is the same, but the preparation of both is different.

To use pods, you cut or split the shell open to get the seeds and crush them. The alternate way is to use the pod as a whole and cook it slowly to extract the flavor from it and then remove the remains later on.

Hence, if you just have seeds, grinding them might lead to a loss of flavor. Therefore, you need to grind slightly more than what you need for the dish.

You can also grind the seeds with other spices and get a unique flavor! 

How Do I Substitute Cardamom Seeds For Pods?

In case you do not have cardamom pods, it is still possible to substitute seeds for pod usage. As long as your seeds are fresh, the flavor will remain the same.

Cardamom pods usually have 8-16 seeds inside them. According to your requirement, you can take the upper limit of 12 seeds for each pod you require.

The seeds can either be added directly to the dish or they can be ground into powder first. Both will render you the same flavor when used in ratio to the number of pods you need.

You need to slow cook these seeds just how you will do to a pod because biting into the seed is just as unpleasant.

Related Questions

Which Is Better Cardamom Pods Or Seeds?

It mainly depends on its usage. However, in terms of longevity and storage, buying cardamom pods rather than seeds is a more recommendable option.

The spice can be used for more than a year when stored properly, however, the seeds that have been detached from the pod can lose their flavor with time.  

How Many Cardamom Seeds Are In A Cardamom Pod?

There is usually a minimum of 8-16 seeds in one cardamom pod.

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