Fenugreek

Fenugreek is cultivated worldwide as a semi-arid crop. The major fenugreek producing  countries are Nepal, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Argentina, Egypt, France, Spain, Turkey, Morocco and China. India is the largest producer of fenugreek in the world where Rajasthan, Gujarat, Uttaranchal, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Haryana and Punjab are the major fenugreek producing states.


Fenugreek leaves and seeds both find extensive use in Indian cuisines. The seeds are mainly used as a spice whereas the leaves find use in curry preparations. Fenugreek seeds are small, hard, smooth and oblong.They are yellowish brown in color.

When the seeds are mature, whole plant is uprooted and hanged for drying. After the plant dries completely the plant is threshed to separate the seeds. These seeds are than cleaned and packaged.

Buying Tips:
Look for any signs of wrinkling or discoloration in the seeds. Always purchase whole seeds rather than fenugreek powder. Powdering any of the aromatic spices increases its surface area considerable. This accelerates the oxidation of volatile compounds and reduces the quality of the spice.

Storage:
Whole seeds can be normally stored in containers but the powder needs to be stored in airtight containers. The powder should be stored in cool, dry place away from moisture.

Culinary uses:

  1. Fenugreek seeds are used with various vegetable preparations. Specially, it is used with vegetables which are believed to cause flatulence.
  2. Fenugreek seeds are used as sprouts.
  3. A very tasty dish is prepared from the whole seeds using jaggery or sugar to counterbalance the bitterness of the spice.
  4. The powder of the seeds is used to impart flavor to various snacks and savories.
  5. It is part of curry powder.
  6. The  seeds are used in various pickles and chutneys,

Medicinal uses:

  1. Various studies have confirmed that fenugreek seeds have a beneficial impact on lipid profile and blood glucose levels.
  2. The seeds are said to be good for milk production in lactating mothers.
  3. It promotes digestion.
  4. Fenugreek helps in weight reduction as it reduces appetite.
  5. It gives relief in sour throat and cough.
  6. It soothes the menopausal discomfort.
  7. It is good for asthmatic patients.
  8. There are anti-inflammatory properties in the seeds.
  9. Chinese medicines finds use of these seeds in kidney problem.

Home Remedies

  1. Soak fenugreek seeds overnight. In the morning discard the water and consume the seeds. Considered effective for hypertension and diabetes.
  2. Leave some seeds in coconut oil. Always massage your scalp with the oil. It promotes hair growth and reduces hair fall.
  3. Soak some seeds overnight. Make a paste of the seeds in the morning. Apply it on hair. Leave for half an hour and than wash thoroughly with water.  Regular use  strengthens hair and reduces dandruff.
  4. Consuming freshly grind fenugreek powder in the morning improves digestion.

Dietary facts:

The flavor of the seeds is due to a very powerful compound known as fenugreek lactone or sotolone.Its odour detection threshold in water is as low as 0.001 ppb, meaning that 1 g of this compound dissolved in one million tonnes of water can be perceived! It has a celery and maple syrup-like odour. It belongs to the group of very powerful ‘burnt sugar’ odorants

The seeds contain about 28% mucilage, 5% bitter smelling oil. The protein content is almost 30%. The NPU (Net Protein Utilization) value for fenugreek is 64 which is quite close to that of meat. So, it is a good quality protein for vegetarians.

The seeds contains trigonelline- a chemical that converts into niacin, when seeds are roasted.The chemical composition of essential oil from seeds is similar to cod liver oil. It is rich in phosphates,  lecithin and organic iron. FDA has categorized fenugreek as a GRAs food .

Nutrition Facts
Servings Size 11g
Calories 36
Potassium 2%
Total Carbohydrate 2%
Vitamin C 1%
Calcium 2%
Iron 20%
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because it has not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.

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