Chowhounds use cardamom in various ways, and know that the freshly crushed or ground seed is better than the pre-pulverized stuff, which rapidly loses its flavor. But what's the best way to get the seeds out of their pods? Give the pods a good whack with the side of a knife, a hammer, or a rolling pin, says Treeonastring, who recommends wrapping them in a paper towel to keep the seeds from flying everywhere. For smaller amounts, anakalia places a pod on the counter and pushes down on one half with her thumb. "It splits open enough that I can scrape the seeds out with my nail," she says.
Others don't separate the seeds at all. luckyfatima grinds the whole pod, and says this is typical in Indian cooking.
Cardamom image from Shutterstock