Cardamom pods (Recipe: mulling spices for wine or cider)
One lovely thing to know about cardamom pods:
In Arab cultures, cardamom pods placed in the spout of a coffee pot flavor the coffee, and guests are often shown the pods first as a sign of respect. The larger and greener and more plump the pods, the more highly revered the guest. The cuisines of many countries incorporate cardamom, which has been used in Indian cooking for more than 2,000 years. Thanks to the Vikings, cardamom found its way to Scandinavia, where it's very popular in baked goods like pulla bread.
Cooking or baking?
Both, though it's the seeds that are used in breads and pastries.
In an airtight container for one year. Over time the pods will fade in color and potency (the pods in my photos are nine months old).
Mulling spices for wine or cider
Mulled wine is nothing more than red wine heated with spices. The same process works with apple cider to make a nonalcoholic version that's a favorite on our Thanksgiving menu. There are an infinite number of variations and combinations -- some including sugar and/or brandy -- but this one, from Nibbledish, is my favorite. Don't worry about exact proportions, and please don't use your most expensive red wine. However, if you're going the cider route, buy good apple cider or apple juice. These amounts will flavor one bottle of wine or half-gallon of cider; adjust to your own taste.
1 cinnamon stick
2 whole cardamom pods
1 star anise
3 strips of dried orange peel
2 whole cloves
1 bottle of red wine, apple cider or apple juice
Combine all ingredients in a stainless steel saucepan. Set heat to simmer (or lowest possible heat), and warm through. Strain out the spices before serving.
*Note: you can make this in a slow cooker exactly the same way. Add all ingredients to the slow cooker, set to LOW, heat for 1 hour. Then set the cooker to WARM. Strain out the spices, and serve directly from the slow cooker.
Other recipes that use cardamom pods:
Roasted cranberry sauce, from The Bitten Word
Colorful cardamom roasted cauliflower, from Sunday Nite Dinner
Sugar-free cardamom custard cups, from Christine Cooks
Pistachio and cardamom brownies, from Quick Indian Cooking
Cardamom panna cotta, from Cooking Debauchery