This is another recipe where I got absolutely fixated on a specific ingredient. I was looking at different spices on Amazon. Because I don’t live within walking distance to specialty stores anymore, the easiest way for me to shop for different spices is online. I can look, and I google to see the notes and get a feel for what I’m looking at. With the green cardamom, I just went for it. I was already ordering different syrups and decided to scroll through the spices that popped up as suggestions. I saw green cardamom pods. I was familiar with black cardamom, but I didn’t know anything about green. I googled and read descriptions that pegged green cardamom as “spicy and citrusy,” and before I knew it, I had a bag of green cardamom pods shipping to me. I wasn’t even sure how I would use them in a drink. I had an idea in my mind to add it to lemonade, but wasn’t sure of how. I’d never used green cardamom before. I knew I didn’t want to make a syrup, so I read up on it some more and saw that the best way to open up the flavor was to toast the pods. That seemed simple enough, and it was. It’s incredible how a drink can be completely transformed just by adding or changing one ingredient. I love that. This drink is made pretty much the same way lemonade is made, just with a little something extra. It makes one pitcher.
You will need:
- about 30 green cardamom pods
- ¾ cup lemon-lime juice (about 4 lemons and 2 small limes)
- 6 cups water
- ½ cup sugar
- a pitcher
- a mesh strainer
I started by toasting about 30 cardamom pods. The pods are pretty small. From what I read, I understood that you don’t need to use a lot in order to get the flavor you want. I toasted more than the 30 I used for this, and used the others in something separately. Pay attention to what color they are before you begin toasting. The color change is very slight when they toast. It’s not super noticeable if you don’t pay attention. But I toasted them on a low to medium heat in a small pan, stirring frequently for about six minutes. It really doesn’t take long, probably because the pods are so small. You will be able to tell when they are done. They’re very fragrant, and begin to get little golden brown spots on them. This is when I removed them from the heat and set off to the side to cool. Once the pods were cooled, I separated the pods from the seeds. This was maybe the hardest part. It’s a little painstaking to do. If you have any issues with dexterity and can’t break open the pods with your fingers, I suggest putting the toasted pods into a plastic bag and gently crushing them with a pan or heavier object. The pods pop open and the seeds come out then. I used only the pods, and not the seeds. (I saved the seeds for a different recipe.) I put the pods into the pitcher for the lemonade, then proceeded to make lemonade as normal. I used ¾ cup of lemon-lime juice. It was mostly lemon juice with some lime in it—lemonade is better with splashes of lime. It’s subtle, but it makes a difference. I added the water and the sugar too, and mixed them all together. Some of the cardamom pods rose to the top of the pitcher, some stayed on the bottom. Whatever, that’s fine. I let this sit at room temperature for about two hours, then strained it all through a mesh strainer to get the cardamom pods out. I then returned the lemonade to the pitcher and refrigerated it. That’s it! It’s done.
I never know how to end these recipes, other than telling you to drink the beverage. So drink the beverage.