Ever since I became hooked on gardening, I have cultivated fenugreek sprouts. Here is how I sow the seeds:
Combine good grade potting soil (you can find this at plant sale nurseries or contact me for supplies) with some fine sand. Mix the potting soil and sieve the mixture to produce a uniform medium. I call this a seedling soil medium. Spread a layer on to a seedling tray. Wet through with a fine spray of water, mindful to not overload with water to cause waterlogging. Now sprinkle a uniform layer of fenugreek seeds on the surface of the soil. Next, cover the seeds lightly with a fine layer of the seedling mix. Water the seeds with a fine spray and leave in a shaded area that allows for indirect sunlight.
Here it is important to note that all plants need sunlight, including the germination of seeds. Even if they are snug under the surface of soil, they will need the energy of the sun to germinate. Think of a mother hen sitting on her eggs!
Check in everyday to monitor the condition of the soil, to see if it is dry or wet. Act accordingly to the situation, to remember always that balance between wet and dry is best. I find that, if the soil medium is still wet from the last watering the day before, it is because there was insufficient sunlight filtering through, or the medium was not sandier. As gardeners, we will have to always ‘play by ear’.
In a few days, you will notice the germination of a seedling peeking at you. In about a week or so, the tiny plants will start to grow. This is the time to put the tray out in sunlight to allow a strong growth. You can now harvest the shoots or leaves and eat it in a salad.
Sprouts are nature's source of goodness, as in sun's energy, enzymes and minerals.
Fenugreek has been used in many cultures throughout time. An ancient herb from Asia and Southern Europe, fenugreek is also known as ‘methi’ in India, where it is traditionally used in Ayurveda medicine.
A white-flowered herbaceous plant of the pea family, Fenugreek is a small annual plant that produces aromatic seeds that are tinny and russet coloured. It belongs to the legume family, and is considered a vegetable.
Sense And Taste
I use the leaves raw in combination with a salad to offset the bitter bite in its taste. The taste resembles hot mustard and can be a refreshing uplift for bland salads. I am always transported to an Indian spice shop when I am near fenugreek, inhaling its pungent aroma. It seems to hold the potential of all spices within itself. Such is the magic and mystery of the spice.
One of fenugreek’s basic herbal uses is to stimulate milk production in breastfeeding women, as well as inducing childbirth, containing phytoestrogens or plant chemicals similar to the female sex hormone estrogen. A tonic made from the seeds is recommended for a mother after childbirth, to clean and tone the uterus. It is also a help with menopause issues, which is credited to it being a phytoestrogen.
Fenugreek seeds are rich in vitamins and minerals such as iron and calcium. Ayurveda medicine, especially use the seeds in medicinal herbal tonics to restore health after respiratory infections of the lungs and throat. It is also used to manage colds, flu and fevers.
Diabetes and Lowering Blood Cholesterol
There are ample peer related scientific studies that point to the evidence that fenugreek can lower blood sugar, reduce fatty deposits in the blood and keep high cholesterol levels of the blood in check. Read more about it through your own investigations.
Roasting and grinding of fenugreek seeds are advised before food use. Try grinding a few tablespoons into your next stir fry or soup. You might discover a new secret ingredient.
I would like to share with you some of the ways I have used fenugreek. These are simple yet effective ways to include this wonderful spice into your daily life. Not just for an ailment, why not include it in your diet right now as a health insurance plan.
Colds, Flu or a Sore Throat:
Powder the seeds and sprinkle a teaspoon on food such rice porridge, soups and juices. Mix half a teaspoon of ground seeds with warm water and honey to drink when required.
Use the sprouts in salads, ground seeds in salad dressings and juices.
Cleanse And Detoxify the Body
Fenugreek stimulates the lymphatic systems, thus promoting drainage of toxins through the excretory channels. A daily regiment of the seeds as powder in green juices in combination with eating raw vegetables with fiber, plenty of water and rest has been an effective way for me to get cleaned up whenever I am stressed with a bout of ‘overloaded gut’.
At least once a fortnight, I use a fine paste of fenugreek powder blended in coconut oil to make a face masque. This beauty regiment has help keep my skin clean and shiny. It is a good way to remove underlying grime deeper in the pores. The face masque is left on for 15 minutes after which I use it as a gentle exfoliating scrub.
1 tbsp. raw fenugreek seeds soaked in water for ½ a day
2 tbsp. coconut oil
Crush and ground the softened seeds and blend together with the oil. Leave to stand for 30 minutes to allow the coconut oil to be infused into the paste.
Use a small amount to spread over the face, neck and chest. Avoid the eyes.
Fenugreek - Trigonella incarnatum