Spices are an indispensable part of Indian cooking. They bring aroma to the food and are additionally rich in antioxidants. But they do hold one big secret- they can be grown into plants. Yes, you can have your stock of homegrown spices. All you need is to grab some of these spices from your kitchens and plant them in the soil. Sounds easy, right? Here are some of the spices you can home grow-
Mustard seeds can vary in colour from black or brown to yellow. They are used very commonly for tadka or tempering in Indian cooking. Whether you want to make your own curry or mustard sauce, mustard is a must-have.
Mustard is a cool season crop and can’t handle intense heat. They should preferably be sown early in spring. They produce beautiful yellow or white flowers. In about two months, they will be ready to harvest. Wait for the pods to turn brown before you pick them. Before storing them, air dry them for about 2 weeks.
Fennel, also known as saunf in Hindi, is a sweet-smelling and tasting spice. It has a use in a variety of dishes and also in tadka or tempering cooking oil. An excellent for digestion, it also has common use as a mouth freshener after food.
Fennel is an easy-growing and short-lived perennial. It needs full sun and well-draining fertile soil to grow. It takes about 6 weeks for flowering to appear and 2 to 3 months for it to be ready for harvest.
Cumin Aka jeera in Hindi is a very popular spice used to add flavour to cuisines. It has antiseptic properties and helps in curing a common cold. It also helps in problems related to digestion and prevents indigestion, flatulence and diarrhoea.
Ensure you soak the seeds for about 14-16 hours before sowing them. You can sow the seeds indoors in a sunny spot. Use well-drained and moist soil. It should take 3 to 4 months to seed. They produce beautiful pink flowers. Once they bloom, the plants form brown seeds which are ready to harvest by autumn.
Coriander or dhania is one of the oldest spices. The great thing is you can have both cilantro and coriander seeds from a single plant. Coriander leaves have a fruity taste and it is added just before serving a dish for flavour.
Coriander seeds have a great number of medical benefits including being an aid in digestion. Its use is extensively in curries and chutneys. South Indian dishes like Sambar and Rassam are incomplete without coriander seeds.
Coriander grows quickly and it takes 40 to 45 days for it to mature. It’s a cool season crop and should be sown in early spring. As temperature rises, the plant bolts and produces flowers that turn into coriander seeds.
Also called the ‘queen of spices,’ cardamom is popular for its sweet flavour and a pleasant aroma. It has major use in various preparations including the delicious Biryani and flavourful masala chai. Various Indian desserts use cardamom too. humid conditions. Keep the soil constantly moist. The plant thrives in filtered shade. In 40-50 days you should see the seeds germinating.
Fenugreek, also known as Methi in Hindi, is a reservoir of nutrients like vitamins, vitamins and fibre. Its leaves and seeds have great uses in many preparations like methi paratha, aloo methi, sambar and rasam.
The plant grows well in the warmer months of April to November. It requires partial shade and 3-4 hours of sunlight. It grows quickly and is ready to harvest in 30 days.
The pungent and flavorful garlic makes for a great addition to any dish you add it to. Whether you use it in pizzas or homemade chutney, it’s a magic ingredient that will make your food more delicious.
Garlic is a slow maturing crop and will take about 8 to 9 months to be ready for harvest. If you’re growing it indoors, you can grow it any time of the year. Otherwise, grow them in spring or fall outdoors. Just get 3 to 4 cloves, and sow them in a container that is filled with potting soil.
Sesame has been used in India as a spice for centuries. It’s popular in Indian kitchens for tadka/ tempering and even making til ladoos. They have a warm nature and are very good for nourishing the skin. Plus, they boost your immunity.
Sesame is highly tolerant to drought and grows well in warm temperatures. It takes 100-130 days to be ready for harvest. To grow them, simply wrap the seeds in a moist paper towel. They should open in 5-7 days. You can then plant them in a pot with potting soil.
Growing your own spices can be incredibly rewarding and satisfying. You’ll have a supply of fresh spices and it will cost you next to nothing!