Fenugreek Sounds Foreign, But Many of Us Eat It Without Realising It. Here’s More About This Spicy Herb & How To Grow Fenugreek In The UK.
Fenugreek takes me back to my market gardening days and a summer evening when an Indian greengrocer visited me with a bag of seed he wanted me to grow. I didn’t have a clue how to grow it and asked a few questions, only to discover he didn’t either. But I did glean that his grandfather had always sown it in April on the plains and June in the mountains. To be honest the seed looked very strange I wasn’t sure if this might not be a plant I could legally grow! And being pre-Internet getting info wasn’t easy. So I called my local Min of Ag (MAFF) advisor. He didn’t have a clue either. But he took seed with him and his colleagues weren’t sure about it but didn’t think it illegal to grow!
Later I found out that most fenugreek sold in the UK came from Rajasthan and was called methi.
I previously added Fenugreek to my article on Indian Vegetables. It is towards the bottom of the page if you want to read more about it as Indian Veg.
How to Grow Fenugreek
Fenugreek has a unusually shaped fairly large seed that has a distinctive smell.
I first grew it outside, in rows about 6-7 inches apart. I knew no better. It actually worked quite well.
I didn’t use any fertiliser on it and it grew well, being harvested only a month later. It is legume so is worth considering from that perspective alone.
Inside I grow it in containers in my greenhouse. It is quick growing and germinates easily from seed I buy in my local Indian grocers.
Medical Aspects of Fenugreek
Methi, aka fenugreek, is reputed to have medical qualities. But there seems little verifiable research of this, only from tradition.
What is clear is that it can be toxic if too much is eaten. So research it well and take care how much you eat. We eat it in salads and as a spice but eat it sparingly.
There are many websites suggesting how much should be consumed for weight loss and other complaints. But again no real evidence that it works.
More on Fenugreek
Flavour Profile: Fenugreek seeds have a unique flavour profile characterised by their bitter, earthy, and slightly sweet taste. They also have a hint of nuttiness and a mild maple-like aroma. The leaves of the fenugreek plant, often referred to as “methi” in Indian cuisine, have a milder, fresh, and slightly tangy flavour.
- Spices and Curry Blends: Fenugreek seeds are a common ingredient in curry blends, such as Madras curry powder. They add depth and a subtle bitterness to curries and spice mixes.
- Pickles: Fenugreek seeds are sometimes used in pickling spice blends to impart a distinct flavour to pickled vegetables and fruits.
- Breads and Pastries: Fenugreek seeds or ground fenugreek are occasionally added to bread and pastry recipes, particularly in Middle Eastern and Indian cuisines. They contribute a unique, slightly sweet note to baked goods.
- Seasoning: Ground fenugreek is used as a seasoning in various dishes, including soups, stews, and meat dishes. It pairs well with other spices like cumin and coriander.
- Vegetable Dishes: Fresh fenugreek leaves are a popular addition to Indian and Middle Eastern vegetable dishes. They are often used in sautés, curries, and flatbreads. I add them to salad.
- Traditional Remedies: Fenugreek seeds are also used in traditional medicine practices for their potential health benefits. They are believed to aid digestion, reduce inflammation, and regulate blood sugar levels but see my previous advice.
- Sprouts: Fenugreek seeds can be sprouted and added to salads or sandwiches for their nutty flavour and nutritional value.
Fenugreek is a versatile herb with a distinct taste that enhances the complexity of many dishes, particularly in Indian, Middle Eastern, and Mediterranean cuisines. Whether used in spice blends, fresh leaves, or as a seasoning, fenugreek contributes its unique flavour to a wide range of culinary dishes. But heed the allergenic and other medicinal warnings.
Join the Facebook Groups Here
To join the How to Dig For Victory Facebook group follow the link.
And here is the link to UK Garden Flowers, Trees, Shrubs & More