Understanding the origin of your food

Kitchen gardening has always been about growing my own food so that I know exactly where it came from, but along the way it also serves to give me a much deeper understanding of nearly every ingredient that comes into my kitchen.

It started very simply for me – when my methi and coriander started flowering and then developed into seeds – it was an Aha moment – so that’s how the seeds form and the plant comes full circle. Just when I thought I knew how the seeds came about, I learnt about the lovely radish seedpods that are formed from the ethereally beautiful flower.

Radish flower

Many other varieties like the butterfly pea or sankhapushpa flower, and all the edible pea varieties also develop in a pod. Only a few months ago I saw the toor dal plant – another one that forms pods that dry up and the “seeds” are what serve as the most commonly used pulses in South Indian families.

 

Turmeric harvest

When I grew turmeric for the first time, I realised that it needs a lot of patience and planning to actually get enough of it to use over the year. This is because the harvest period is 8-9 months, at the end of which you get one large lot that if planned properly can last you a few months. You can either dry it and store, or turn it into powder with minimal processing. Can you imagine how proud I was when I made my OWN all-organic home-grown turmeric powder? Of course I may have over-steamed it a bit so it dried up more than expected and I got a much smaller quantity than expected – but that only made it even more precious ;)!

Steamed, Dried and Powdered

After hunting around for bush pepper as I wasn’t sure if the vine version would grow well in our Bangalore climate, I finally brought back a plant all the way from Goa. It took a while to establish, but now is producing quite a few pods. This is the photo of my first harvest – from harvesting as near mature pods and then drying it to the form most commonly used in the kitchen.

Pepper harvest

Dried and ready to use!

Lots more to go, and looking forward to every bit of it 🙂 !!

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About Aparna George 11 Articles
A stay-at-home mom and freelance writer, I am passionate about my plants and would love to influence more people to grow their own food.

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