Although spices don’t spoil in the same way as other fresh ingredients, they lose their flavor over time, and if stored incorrectly, they can also become musty or even moldy.
How to store cardamom correctly
Like most other spices, the four main enemies of cardamom are temperature, light, humidity, and air, which is why it is essential to store cardamom both in its ground or in its whole form, in an airtight container, away from direct sunlight and in a cool, dry place. Warm, humid, and well-oxygenated conditions increase the chances of your cardamom losing its flavor and potentially going musty or moldy.
How long does cardamom last?
When stored correctly, most commercially purchased cardamom in whole, seed, or dried form can last for up to three or four years in the cupboard, but it will start to lose its potency during this time. To extract maximum flavor from your spices, it is essential to use them while they are freshest and to replenish your supply if they have been left open for some time.
How to tell if your cardamom has gone bad
If you’ve just retrieved an ancient-looking bag of cardamom from your pantry and are wondering if it is still ok to use, then here are some things to check.
Open the container and give it a sniff
One of the best ways to determine if your spices are too old to use is to open the container they have been stored in and to smell it. If there’s no smell at all or a very weak aroma, then this likely means that your spices have lost their flavor, and your food will not taste as it should. If your spices smell musty, then this means that mold may have started to grow, and your spices are not safe to use. Usable spices will smell as they should and should be free of any musty aromas.
Examine your spices
In addition to smelling your spices, an additional check to make is a visual one. Can you see any signs of mold? Have your spices clumped to the bottom of the container in a hard mass? Have your spices lost their color? Cardamom often loses its vibrant green color as it ages, so a pale, insipid cardamom pod could be a sign that your pods are past their best.
Take into consideration the use-by date
If you don’t trust yourself to determine if your spices are good to use, then allow the use-by date to determine whether you keep or replenish your supply. Use-by dates are designed to indicate at which point a spice may start to lose its flavor, but in some cases, spices can well exceed their use-by date if stored correctly.