green cardamom pods: the Queen of Spices

Green cardamom pods
Green cardamom pods are a pale green type of cardamom that contain an outer shell and tiny inner seeds. They have a unique flavor profile, simultaneously sour and sweet, bringing flowery and minty flavors and smells. There are many uses for green cardamom pods, from being ground into ice cream, used in spice blends, and added to meat marinades.

What are green cardamom pods?

Green cardamom pods
Green cardamom pods

The green cardamom pods come from the plant species Elettaria cardamomum, which is in the ginger family. The pods can be used whole or ground. They flavor curries, coffee, tea, cakes, cookies, and other sweet dishes.

OriginNative to Southern India
AppearanceSmall, muted green
Flavor profileHave an herbal, minty, tart, and slightly sweet taste
DishesMiddle-Eastern, Asian, and Indian


Cardamom pods are native to Southern India, known as the Queen of Spices. Today, cardamom is cultivated in Sri Lanka and Guatemala. Green cardamom pods are harvested before maturity.


Green cardamom pods have a muted green shade and are smaller than black ones. The pods are spindle-shaped and have a triangular cross-section.

The outer shell is thin and papery. The green pods contain several cardamom seeds, which are small and black. The seeds can be ground to make cardamom powder.

Cardamom pods can also be black and white:

  • Black cardamom pods: harvested later and then dried
  • White cardamom pods: the most expensive spice, bleached
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Flavor profile

Green cardamom pods have an herbal, minty, tart, and slightly sweet taste. This spice is the most common cardamom variety used. Its flavor is similar to that of eucalyptus. Green cardamom pods’ sweet and spicy taste lifts the flavor of any dish.

It is an aromatic spice with a citrusy smell and flavor. Ground cardamom loses flavor quickly, so it is best to use whole cardamom pods.


They are present in Middle-Eastern, Asian, and Indian cuisines. Popular Indian recipes that include cardamom pods are garam masala and masala chai. It has also become a defining spice in Scandinavian dishes.

Nutritional Benefits of green cardamom pods

While bringing potent flavor to any dish, green cardamom pods also bring health benefits. Green cardamom pods and other cardamom types are a source of antioxidants that can help prevent illnesses.

Cardamom pods also help relieve and prevent digestive issues such as nausea and stomach pains. Green cardamom pods specifically help boost energy metabolism and burn body fat efficiently.

Additionally, green cardamom may work as a sleep aid.

Do you peel cardamom pods?

You can peel a cardamom pod by squeezing it along its longest axis. This will tear the sides of the pod and expose the seeds. Then, you can push the seeds out with your finger or scrape them out with a knife.

The pods can also be cracked open using a pestle or garlic press. You can peel cardamom pods to get to the seeds or use them whole since the outer shell is edible.

Should you crush cardamom pods?

You must split or crush cardamom pods to get to the seeds. Then, you can extract cardamom seeds and grind them. Use a food processor, coffee grinder, or mortar and pestle to crush cardamom pods and seeds.

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Ground cardamom goes in recipes for baked goods. Whole cardamom pods are used when the purpose is to infuse flavor by steeping the pods in liquid.

What seasonings can you use with green cardamom pods?

In sweet dishes, green cardamom pods pair well with:

Green cardamom pods give off a warm flavor, so combining them with other warm spices results in a cozy blend.

A recipe I recommend: chai tea

Whitney Faulconer

Whitney Faulconer lives in Kentucky and loves to write. She also enjoys cooking and trying new flavors and spices. She combines her passion of writing and food to create information to share with others.

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