Black Cardamoms are dark brown coloured seed pods. They are 4 to 6 times the size of small cardamoms and range from 2cm to 5cm per pod. Each pod contains numerous small seeds. The surfaces of the pods are rough and uneven with little ridges.
Stimulating the secretion of gastro-intestinal fluids is just one of the ways black cardamoms benefit health. Through regulating gastro-intentional juice secretion to neutralise the acidity of the stomach, problems with the digestive system like stomach ulcers, heart burn and constipation can be avoided. Apart from just benefitting digestive health, black cardamoms also help one to maintain a stead heart rate and thus keep blood pressure under control. Through reducing the chances of blood clots, black cardamoms can help to keep the circulatory system healthy and smooth and reduce the risk of heart attacks. Black cardamoms also help to keep the respiratory system warm so that air passages and air flow can be smooth. More interestingly, the strong aroma of black cardamoms helps to improve oral health by curing bad breath.
Black cardamom is mainly used in Indian and Middle Eastern cuisine. Often in Indian cuisine, the whole pods are used in savoury curry, garam masala and tandoori-style dishes while in Middle Eastern recipes, it is more common for cardamom to be ground for use in desserts. Because of its strong smoky aroma and ability to blend various different flavours together, it is often used with other strong flavours like cumin and lime juice and other strong spices. Its strong flavour also makes it more suitable to be cooked in dishes that need to be cooked for a long time so as to give it sufficient time to release its fat and water-soluble oils for the best flavours. While black cardamom has a strong flavour itself, it also helps to bring out other strong flavours in other spices.
When selecting black cardamoms, it is important to buy whole cardamoms instead of ground ones so as to retain the strong flavour of the spice. Once the black cardamom is ground, it begins to lose its flavour rapidly. However, by buying whole black cardamom, flavour can be locked in the spice at least until it has to be ground. Black cardamoms have to be stored in vacuum jars in cool and dry places so as to keep them aromatic and fresh.