Saturday

Growing Fenugreek


 

Fenugreek (Trigonella Foenum-Graecum) is an annual indigenous to the Mediterranean and grown widely in Europe and Asia. It has a long medicinal history, and is recommended for cleansing the chest and lungs in Culpepper's Herbal of 1649.

Planting Fenugreek

Fenugreek grows to about two feet (60cm), with yellow/white flowers and long yellow seedpods. It likes full sun and well-drained, neutral to slightly acid soil. It doesn't like to be transplanted. In spring, after the threat of frost has passed, sow seeds to a depth of a little less than a quarter inch. The seeds sprout quickly. Unlike many other herbs that thrive on neglect, fenugreek likes fertile soil, so be generous with the compost. Space plants five to six inches apart.

Fenugreek seed smells like maple syrup
In New York City a while back, the aroma of fenugreek created a cloud of mysterious maple fragrance that was traced to a nearby manufacturing plant. Your garden can smell like maple when you plant fenugreek.

Harvesting Fenugreek Seed Pods

Harvest and dry seedpods in early to mid fall, and store them in an airtight container in a dry, dark spot.

Using Fenugreek as an Herbal Remedy

Fenugreek can be taken internally or used topically. It is most often used to treat coughs and sore throat, although current research suggests that it may be effective in the treatment of Type 2 diabetes, can help lower blood cholesterol levels and increase circulation. It is also often recommended as an herbal treatment for tinnitus.

Fenugreek seed makes a refreshing and very flavorful tea.  You'll enjoy it.  It really does have a maple fragrance. You can find a recipe here: Fenugreek Tea Recipe

Other Uses for Fenugreek

Photo Courtesy of Rose BridgerIt is a common ingredient in curries and imitation maple syrup. Fenugreek can also be used as a dye.

Fenugreek Aphrodisiac

Fenugreek usually makes the short list of sexual stimulant herbs, and has been used with some success in treating male impotence. It's thought that Fenugreek's ability to help improve circulation is the reason it's effective.

In women, fenugreek may also help in treating vaginal dryness.





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Photo1 - (top) Fenugreek1_Wiki.jpg By Katyare (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/49/Methi_leaves.jpg


16 comments:

  1. I started growing fenugreek (called "Methi" in hindi) by buying fenugreek sprouting seeds from a gardening store (which are the same as reg. fenugreek, many people use fenugreek as young sprouts instead of growing it to muturity.) I bought them from the gardening store because they are generally untreated and fresher, giving them a better chance at sprouting. I lightly sowed them into potting soil in a large pot. within literally a day I saw small sprouts, it's been about a month from the time I sowed them, and they're about 3 inches tall and look like a version a common clover.

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  2. Mitchell,

    What a great idea! I'm going to try that. Thanks for stopping by.

    Sara

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    1. We use the regular fenugreek seeds which you get in the Indian store and they cost very less + that's how it's done traditionally in India. We use seeds directly from the pantry ... Another plant we grow is mustard. Indian cooking uses the seeds and leaves extensively. And what's great is that if not for cooking, these plants add so much beauty to your garden and have a nice aroma too :)

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    2. Divya,

      You have a lovely name!

      Thanks for sharing.

      Sara

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  3. interesting post will try this.1st time here.

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  4. Madhura,

    Good luck.

    Sara

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  5. Anonymous1:59:00 PM

    it very easy to grow this. I would like to know which others can be easily grown at house.

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  6. Try mint, parsley, basil, oregano, sage, thyme, chives and marjoram.

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  7. Very informative. The leaves are a bit bitter when they are tender. If you let them mature a little they becomes more aromatic .

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  8. Anonymous7:36:00 PM

    Oh, I love the smell of fenugreek leaves. Can you harvest the leaves while still growing seed, or do you have to harvest the whole plant for leaves before the seeds ripen?

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  9. You can typically harvest about a quarter of the leaves from a maturing herb plant up until the time it starts to bloom. Once you see blossoms, the plant will typically divert it's energy into creating seed -- so stop harvesting leaves until the seeds are ripe and you're ready to to take the whole plant.

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  10. Hirender6:27:00 AM

    In India, we use fenugreek plants, approximately 25 cm tall, just until the main stem is tender. We use it to make a "green leafy curry vegetable" with onions / garlic / tomatoe + curry powder to eat with "roti" or we fine chop the leaves & tender branches to add to flour and make "Methi Paranta" to be eaten with yogurt or lentils.
    Eating this once a week or at least once in 2 weeks helps to improve digestion, clean your system, have better blood quality in terms of cholestrol and sugar levels.

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    1. I know your on about india (im Pakestani) but in the curries there is a lot more.

      Thnx for saying what it does - it's a good thing we have a little in every curry we make

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  11. Fenugreek is also a popular supplement in lactating woman - i have used it off and on for 3 years for a slight boost in milk supply production (during stressful time or times of illness) .

    Thanks for the great blog! Reading all about the herbs I have and plan on planting in the future. :)

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  12. Hey Mami,

    Thanks for the tip -- and for coming back to visit.

    Sara

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  13. I sprouted some seeds from my pantry in a jar, just like any other sprouts. They were good as a salad. I also started some in my greenhouse, but most didn't survive transplanting to a larger bed. I will try direct sowing...and maybe wait until Spring.

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