Nothing but blue sky.

Happy Monday!  I can’t believe it’s already the 20th of January…the first month of 2014 is flying by!  My hubby and I managed to get out and soak up some sunshine on Friday afternoon at the Cross Conservation Area, just south of the city limits (you’ll remember me writing about previous walks in January of last year and again in September).  We really regretted that we hadn’t brought our snowshoes, as the crusty deep snow was a bit of a slog with boots on.  Last year when we went around this time, the informal pathways were more defined, with less accumulated snow.  Oh well, the extra exercise was definitely good for me – I think I’m still packing around all that holiday baking!  😉

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All this sun and the steadily increasing daylight hours are definitely putting me into a gardening frame of mind…I placed a couple of orders for various herb seeds last week, and all the important dates (meetings, bed clean-up, maintenance days) for the community garden are now inked onto my calendar.  I just harvested some fenugreek microgreens (YUM!) and I’ll put up some basil this week – I haven’t grown as many MG this winter as I usually do and I miss them.  It’s nearly time to start the ground cherries, too…maybe this is the year I will finally have success with them.

Enjoy your week!  What projects (gardening or otherwise) do you have lined up for the next little while? 

(If you want to read a bit about the history of the Cross Conservation Area, I’ve written a post about it here).

Sprouting fenugreek.

Do you grow your own sprouts?

If I’m not sprouting some kind of seed or another, I’ve usually got a batch or two of microgreens on the go. I don’t have the space to go all out, so the amounts I’m growing are tiny – enough for a couple of sandwiches, perhaps, or to throw into a stir fry at the very end of cooking. I’m constantly resowing and trying new types of crops – it’s like year ’round seed trials on a miniature scale.

I’ve sprouted fenugreek seeds several times before, but I haven’t had a chance to write about them until now (partly because I keep eating them before photographing them – oops!). These guys are super-easy to sprout and pack a spicy-sweet punch that is perfect for so many dishes.

Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum, called “methi” in India) is a plant of Mediterranean origin, and is widely grown throughout Asia and Europe. It’s a common staple of Indian cooking, where the fresh or dried leaves and the whole seeds are used in a wide range of dishes. A member of the Fabaceae family, this annual reaches about 60 cm tall and prefers to be grown in fertile, slightly acidic soil. Apparently you have to sow fenugreek directly into the ground or containers, as plants do not like to be transplanted. It seems that many people opt to sprout the seeds or grow them as microgreens, as I do.

If you’ve never sprouted seeds before, there are some great resources online: try the information on this website for the Canadian company Mumm’s Sprouting Seeds. I’ve tried both the tray method and the jar method (and had more success with the latter with most crops), but really, the most important things to remember with sprouting is to always use organic, untreated seed, always rinse seeds with filtered water, and ensure your jars, trays, etc. are spotlessly clean. And, eat your sprouts as soon as possible! Most can only be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days.

(Speaking of eating, fenugreek sprouts are marvellous as an addition to Sweet Potato and Chickpea Hummus…and if you want the recipe for that, please check out my blog post for Grit.com.  YUM!).  🙂

Have you ever grown fenugreek (as a sprout or otherwise)?  What types of sprouts are your favourites to grow? 

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