Coriander is easy to grow and is best used fresh, and therefore is a very
good choice for growing your
own kitchen herbs. Especially if you like cooking, Asian or Latin food. Coriander
finds several uses because both the leaves and seeds are used as food. The
leaves of coriander are, called cilantro, can be chopped and used for garnishing
or used while cooking in a variety of dishes including, rice, soups, salsa, and
To grow coriander,
you need to provide the plant with a lot
of sunshine as is the case usually when growing kitchen herbs though when the
sun is at its peak; it prefers some shade.
If the plant is not cared for well, it very
often does not grow rich foliage and instead of
flowers and produces seeds. So, if you are growing coriander for its leaves, you should keep the conditions right for
Coriander can be
grown directly from its seeds by sowing them in the soil.
Cilantro is really easy to grow, fast growing, and does not require a lot of
Cilantro was one of the first herbs/spices grown by the early colonists in
America. Growing a few feet of Cilantro in the Spring, and areas with milder
winters as a fall and winter crop will provide plenty to eat, dry for later use
and/or to let go to seed in hot weather to use as Coriander spice.
When to plant cilantro
depends on the general climate condition in which you live and the specific
average hardiness frost dates. The
general strategies vary somewhat
depending upon whether you live in northern or southern regions of the United
Plant cilantro a two or three weeks before the last frost. To have a
steady harvest throughout the summer, plant cilantro every couple of weeks
until late autumn.
Plant in the beginning in early autumn to have a winter (until a killing frost sets in) and two or three weeks before the last frost for spring harvest.
Cilantro takes about 30 to 40 days from planting to harvest as green herbs
and 40 to 50 days for the seeds to be ready for harvesting as coriander.
Herbs are one of
the fascinating plant species on the planet.
Humans have grown herbs for millennia and eaten herbs from the very beginning of
time. They have added to our lives in several different ways. The humble little
plants have been utilized in the following areas: flavoring food, medicinal remedies,
fragrances, dyes, landscaping, pest control, and industrial uses. In recent years
growing herbs has experienced a giant leap in popularity. One major factor is
that they provide an attractive method of entry into the gardening fraternity
because they are so easy to grow.
There are many
plants that are included in the herb family. This causes a little bit of a challenge
in defining members of the family. The strict botanist school definition of an herb
is that it is a plant that does not form woody tissue. Ergo the name herbaceous
to describe such a plant. Practical herb gardeners are a little more liberal in
their definition of herbs and include plants with flowers, leaves, roots, stems,
or fruits that provide any of the manifestations ascribed to herb plants. These
qualities include ornamental, aromatic, medicinal, culinary, and household uses.
Many plants with woody stems are included in the definition of herbs.
Cultivated types (cultivators) such as thyme, lavender, and rosemary along with vines, trees, and shrubs are in there. Many cultivators are included in the legion
of herb plants on the market today.
Under the right
conditions, herbs are some of the easiest
plants to grow. They can do well in a wide range of growing conditions and soils,
but the key factor is drainage. Herb plants do not like “wet feet,” and they must be planted in well-drained
soil, or they will not live. Richer soils will cause the plants to grow larger stems and roots
rather than the oils which produce the
desired flavors and aromas. When planning an herb garden, consider the native origins
of the herbs to be included in the garden. Herbs originally from the Mediterranean
Sea area will vary in their requirements from East Asia.
Annuals herbs are plants which go through their whole life cycle from seed
to flower, and again to seed in one growing season. Once this happens, the plant dies. If you collect seeds, you can replant in the
same year (e.g., spring and fall), or save and replant the following year. Common
annual herbs are:
Perennials herbs, if well cared for, can last for years in the correct climate
conditions. This makes them an excellent
investment in both time and money. Of course, you may end up with more of them
than you could possibly eat, which is the case with all the large rosemary
bushes in my landscape. We use what we want, and the rest look good and attract
In cooler climates, the plant to may die back in the winter and will return in the following spring;
assuming cold temperature do not exceed their tolerances. Perennials herbs will continue growing through
the winter if you live in some of the more temperate zones. Some common perennial
Cilantro (also known as “Chinese parsley,“ “Coriander leaf” or
“fresh coriander”) refers to the fresh leaf and Coriander which is
the name for the seeds are parts of the same plant.
We tend to
think of the leaves as “herbs” and the seeds and roots as
“spices.” However, in much of the world, the entire plant, leaves,
roots, and seeds, are known as Coriander.
is an annual herb with feathery leaves and white
umbrella flower heads, which means its entire life cycle, from planting,
to maturity, to the end of its life, occurs in a single growing season. In other
words, annual herbs must be started with new seedlings, or new seeds planted, every
Coriander (Cilantro) can be grown for both leaves and seeds. Varieties have
been bred to be better at producing one or the other, so the variety you choose
is important. A seed variety will produce seed quicker than a leaf variety, but
once a plant ‘runs to seed’ it will stop leaf production. If you want coriander
leaves for your cooking, this means you will have a shorter picking time. All
varieties will eventually produce seed, but the leaf varieties will hold off for
‘Calypso’ which is slow to bolt or ‘Cruiser’ which is bolt-resistant are the generally considered the best for herb production with an excellent ‘cut and come again’ habit, while ‘Santo’ will produce larger flower heads, thereby producing more seed, and will run to seed more quickly. Whichever variety you, make sure to check if the seeds you are using are ‘seed’ or ‘leaf’ varieties and choose the type which best fits the way your family eats.
Bring your meals to life
foods ranging from Latin American to Asian use cilantro and coriander in their
daily and festive food. So, there is a wealth of recipe available across many
cultures with which to experiment with your
garden crop of cilantro and coriander.
How to use cilantro and coriander in the kitchen
As you may have
gathered, cilantro is a feature in our favorite meals from around the world. The
reason that recipes from all cultures use this herb
is that the entire plant is edible.
roots, stems, and leaves each have
distinct flavors and uses.
while the most
common way to use cilantro, at least in the South and in Latin cuisines, is the
use of fresh leaves there are other ways to use cilantro or the seeds (coriander).
Cilantro can be dried or frozen or in the case of short-term use refrigerated.
Coriander seeds necessarily are used dry, but they can be ground into a powder
and uses a spice.
Methods of Drying Cilantro Leaves
Cilantro harvest is easy to do at home and requires no special equipment. However, you want to be sure to harvester
cilantro before the plant begins to bolt for best results. Once the cilantro
bolts the leaves change as does the flavor and the texture of the leaves. If
your cilantro escapes from you, as mine sometimes does, and has started to
flower you might as well let it go ahead and go to seed so you can use the
coriander. If you still want cilantro leaves, you should go ahead and succession
plant a new crops or if the weather is exceedingly hot consider growing your
cilantro indoors in pots or as microgreens.
Cilantro seeds (Coriander) are used most often in the large variety of dishes,
dried Cilantro has its place in soups, sauces, and stews.
or Kitchen shears
or another container suitable for Cilantro sprigs
Spinner or two clean kitchen towels
Drying Rack, Dry attic or porch
Brown Paper Bags (optional)
your Cilantro harvest in the morning hours after the sun has dried away the dew
of the night.
the sprigs into small, loose bundles, and bind the stems together with rubber
bands to keep them together as they dry. Be sure to space the branches to allow
for good air circulation.
using paper bags, cover each bundle and cut small slits the sides to allow for
air flow around the Cilantro. These protective paper bags keep dust off of the
Cilantro as it dries and stops the Cilantro becoming sunlight bleached. Ensure that enough air flows through the
paper bags to keep your Cilantro from molding.
Occasionally inspect your Cilantro, and, if necessary either cut more
holes in the paper bags or remove the Cilantro from the paper bags. Moisture may build up inside the paper bag,
especially if the sun hits it, allowing fungus and mildew to form. Discard any
molded leaves or bunches.
your Cilantro upside down (leaf ends down) in a warm, dry place such as an
attic, pantry, a disused room, or protected porch until the leaves are dry and
brittle to the touch, which should take about two weeks.
the dried bundles and place on a sheet of wax paper.
the dried leaves onto the wax paper and separate all of the tough stems.
the Cilantro into a clean, airtight jar, Ziplock freezer bag, or a vacuum
sealer pouch and seal tightly.
or pouches can be stored Cilantro in a dry, dark place like your pantry, root
cellar, or cupboard.
and Cilantro can be used in sauces, gravies, dressings, vinaigrettes, chutneys,
and a large variety of vegetable dishes.
Oven Drying Cilantro
Cilantro can be
dried in the oven at the lowest temperature, or, if you have a gas stove with a
pilot light using only the pilot light as the heat source, but this may take a
little longer. Spread the cilantro evenly in a single layer on a cookie sheet
lined with parchment paper.
If using a cookie sheet to dry the Cilantros, place the Cilantros to be dried
on parchment paper to avoid direct contact with the metal trays. Metal contact darkens the color of the
Cilantro being dried, causing the Cilantro to lose its bright green color.
Spinner or two clean kitchen towels
shears or good chopping knife
board or block
and gently spin dry the fresh Cilantro sprigs.
out the discolored leaves and woody stems.
your ovens lowest temperature setting and preheat the oven.
the cilantro into 1/4″ pieces onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet or
spread the whole leaves in a thin layer on the paper.
in oven on evenly spaced racks for two to four hours or until Cilantro crumbles
easily rubbed between your fingers. Your actual drying times vary a little from
one day to the next.
the drying progress after about 30 minutes, and then at 15-minute intervals
until the leaves feel dry and flaky. Remove from the oven to cool.
the parchment paper into a funnel and place the smallest end over the mouth of
a clean, completely dry jar or a vacuum sealer pouch and seal tightly.
Drying Cilantro In A dehydrator
Soak your Cilantro herbs in a bowl of water. Wash and gently spin dry the fresh Cilantro sprigs. Next, remove the stems of the leaves. Some people prefer to dry their herbs without removing the stems; it is a matter of personal preference. Layout the cleaned leaves on dehydrator trays in a single layer–they can touch, but not overlapping. They will not stick together when they are dried. You should process these in your favorite dehydrator at 110° for approximately 1 to 3 hours. Cilantro leaves dry fairly quickly, so, will want to check then frequently. You’ll know they are done when the leaves are crisp and crumble between your fingers.
Dried Coriander Sееdѕ
the seed heads from the mature Coriander plant as soon as you notice that the
flower heads are starting to set seeds. Sееdѕ usually mature rather quickly, so
the clipped seed heads into loose bundles and secure with a rubber band.
the seed pod bundles with paper bags and hang upside down in an airy, dry place
to dry. The seed should separate from
the seed heads within a few weeks.
the dried Cilantro paper bags to loosen any other seeds and pour onto a piece
of wax paper or parchment paper.
the stems and any other debris to separate the seeds and pour into a small
spice container for use in the kitchen or for planting in the Spring!
Place jar or pouch in a dry, dark place such as your kitchen cabinet, pantry or even your freezer.
Dried Cilantro will last as long as any other dried Cilantro you buy—as long as two years.
I want to thank you
for buying this book, ‘Growing Epazote –
A Home Gardener’s Guide’ and I hope you will find it informative and
Gardening is a
pleasurable and enjoyable hobby. It is also one of those hobbies that require a
lot of patience. However, the results are exquisite. It is one of the rare
hobbies in which you need to deal with real living things and take care of
them. Gardeners love their plants and consider them to be their friends.
gardeners, old and new, are looking out for certain plants and shrubs that were
once considered to be weeds. While these plants held special places in various
cultures, due to commercialization, their invasive nature and lack of
information regarding them had deemed them as weeds. However, most of these
plants and shrubs are not only beautiful, but they have various beneficial
properties as well. Such a plant, which is often considered to be a weed, is
Epazote is an
ancient plant that holds a significant place in Latin American culture.
Nowadays, more and more people want to grow epazote thanks to its pungent but
exciting flavor and its anti-flatulence properties. If you are one of these
people, this book will help you grow epazote in no time.
Epazote is quite
easy to grow which is why even new and amateur gardeners won’t have any
problems growing it. Read on to find out how to introduce this delicious herb
into your garden right away!
I hope you will use
the information provided in this book to make your home and garden greener and
your food tastier.
Before moving on to
growth and care tips regarding epazote, it is first necessary to understand the
plant itself. This chapter will briefly explain the various properties,
qualities and certain warnings regarding growing, using and consuming epazote.
Epazote is a commonly grown herb crop in the Yuma area. However, the percentage of growers who grow this crop is quite small. Not many people are aware of Epazote ‘s popularity and importance. Epazote is a leafy vegetable that is often used as an herb for its pungent flavor. It is either used raw or is often cooked along with various other ingredients. It is extremely pungent and resinous. It tastes a bit like fennel, anise or tarragon. However, the taste is much stronger. The fragrance is strong too and it is difficult to describe, as it does not match any other scent.
Epazote sounds like
rather an exotic name. However, it is still better than various other names
that this herb has. Some people call it goosefoot, pigweed, skunkweed or wormseed.
These names are not random, as epazote comes from the Aztec words ‘epatl’ and
‘tzol.’ These two words taken together roughly translate to smelly animal.
Other, far better names include Mexican. People rarely refer to it as
Chenopodium ambrosioides either. As mentioned earlier, epazote holds a dear and
special place in the Central American and Latin American culture. It is
commonly used in Guatemalan and Central American cuisines.
As mentioned in the
section above, epazote is extremely strong and pungent which is why people
often consider it to be an acquired taste. Some people complain of it being too
bitter with slight hints of lemon. Certain people tend to replace epazote with
Mexican oregano, which is often found to be more palatable for fussy eaters.
However, no herb or ingredient can replace epazote and its pungent but
Different parts of
the epazote have different flavors. However, only the leaves of the plant are fit
for human consumption. Other parts can prove to be toxic and must be avoided.
Young leaves of the plant are richer yet milder in flavor as compared to the
older leaves. The flavor becomes more and more intense with age.
Epazote is suitable
for tropical as well as sub-tropical climatic conditions. If grown properly it
can grow over 3 feet. It is often discarded as a weed in places like Mexico and
the USA. It is invasive and a rapid grower and it is possible that you may
already have some in your garden, or a local park, though if you plan to
consume epazote, it is recommended to plant a new one only for consumption. Do
not use leaves from your park or any other public place.
While the main
concern of this book is to help you grow epazote, it is always better to try
some out before choosing to grow it. Epazote is commonly available in many
Hispanic and Latin Markets. It is available in dry as well as fresh forms. If
fresh epazote is not available, dry epazote can be used and is every bit as
tasty. Dry epazote is available on various e-commerce sites.
Epazote is a hardy
plant and thus storing it is easy. However, as it is an herb, it is perishable,
and thus care must be taken to keep Epazote fresh. Whether you grow epazote or
whether you buy fresh Epazote from the market, always take care of the leaves
to make them last longer. You should store the fresh stems in a tumbler of
fresh water. If you do not want to keep it out in the open, you can keep it
wrapped in some moist paper towels and then keep them in the refrigerator. One
stem of fresh epazote is about one teaspoon of dried epazote.
Epazote has various
uses, and thus many people want to grow it nowadays.
Traditionally, epazote has been used to flavor beans and for the carminative properties of epazote. It is often used to flavor other Mexican dishes, such as squash flower quesadillas, as well. For instance, epazote can be used to season soups, quesadillas, eggs, and potatoes, mole de olla and enchiladas.
You will be
surprised to know that epazote has been used for thousands of years. The
ancient Aztecs used it to flavor their cooking and for its various medicinal
Epazote can be used to treat hookworms, roundworms, amebic dysentery, small tapeworms, excess mucus, and asthma as well.
Externally, it can
be used to treat insect bites and athlete’s foot. It also has insecticidal
properties and can be used against mosquitoes and insect larvae.
Epazote is a strong
laxative and has various laxative properties. With the help of these
properties, it can stop the functioning of parasites and can halt their
advancement in the intestines. It has been used as an essential oil since the
nineteenth century in diluted and concentrated forms. In the 20th century,
pharmaceutical companies started isolating and using it too.
People also use
fresh epazote leaves to create wall hangings, floral decorations, etc. You can
create wreaths, dried floral decorations, etc. Always be careful while using
and handling dried leaves and seeds of epazote as they may irritate the skin.
The seeds are known to cause various reactions including dermatitis etc. to
people who are sensitive to spicy foods and spices.
delicious, is a risky condiment just like cinnamon. The risk can be minimized
if you know how to use it. Some people believe that epazote’s taste is
addictive. However, it is recommended to avoid epazote in large quantities.
Only add a couple of leaves to your food to bring out its flavors. If you want
to add dried leaves, then add according to the recipe. If you are not sure how
to use epazote, you may need to talk to your Latin American friends.
Now you must be
wondering where to find epazote, or you must be excited about growing it in
your garden. Find out more about how to grow epazote in your garden, home or
even in water in the following chapters.
Epazote is delicious as well as a beautiful plant that can make your garden look fresh and green and your foods are tastier. If you love the taste of epazote, it is best to grow it in your garden to ensure a steady supply.
epazote is simple. Epazote has large serrated leaves, and it also gives out
flowers with tiny green balls. It is recommended to consume only the leaves of
the plant. The plant is an annual, and its leaves can be used as an insecticide
as well. If you crush the leaves and spread it on paths, it can make ants go
away. Dry epazote can be used to get rid of ants as well. While only leaves are
fit for human consumption, some people also like to add thin stems of leaves to
their food. If you do decide to use the stems, pulverize them and let them cook
for a long time.
Epazote grows well
in all seasons if you live in a tropical or sub-tropical region. However, if
you live in any other region then it is best to plant epazote in spring after
the ‘dangerous’ frosts are long gone. Epazote needs slightly high temperature
throughout the day. The temperature should reach at least 50 degrees. Any less
and the growth will not be satisfactory. Always grow epazote in well-drained
soil and full sunlight.
Epazote seeds are
small and thus should not be sown too deep. It is recommended to sow them at
the surface of the soil. If you live in a windy zone, sow them at 1/16-inch
depth. Always keep the soil warm and moist as it helps germination. As said in
the last section, the temperature should be around 50 degrees. Epazote grows
quickly and can be invasive and it is therefore recommended to allow the area
some growing space. If you are not comfortable with the plant taking over your
garden, only plant it in containers. This way you will be able to keep it under
For subtropical and
tropical regions, you can sow epazote seeds throughout the year. For people who
live in moderate zones, seeds can be sown in mid-spring when the temperatures
are moderately high. Seeds germinate and grow in about 2-4 weeks. Some plants
may even grow fully and be ready for harvest in a month or two. If you sow
seeds over a stretched period, you will be able to ensure a long harvest. Sow
the seeds throughout the spring.
As epazote is
native to tropical regions, it grows the best in zones 2-7. It may even grow up
to 2 to 4 feet. If you live in colder regions, it is recommended to grow it in
containers so that you can bring it in if the temperature drops out of the
Do not plant seeds
in loamy soil. Always sow them where the roots will not be submerged in water
for long. Sun is crucial for good flavor.
Epazote grows the
best outside, as it requires high temperature and direct sunlight. However, it
can also be grown indoors in soil as well as water.
If you want to sow
epazote indoors, do it in a place that receives ample sunlight. Windowsills and
balconies are the best places for growing epazote. Seeds can be either started
in growing medium, tissues or soil as well. Once the seedlings are ready, you
can transfer them to containers containing growing media or soil. You can also
transfer them to containers containing water. Epazote can grow well in water
that is replenished with nutrients sparingly.
It is recommended
to grow epazote for at least 4-6 weeks before moving them outside (if you want
to). If you do not want to grow them outside at all, you may continue to grow
them on windowsills.
While epazote can
grow in water, their growth will not be as satisfactory as epazote grown
outside in the soil.
Epazote leaves are
bright, dark green and come out of the reddish stem of the mature plant. They
have serrated edges, i.e., edges that look like teeth. They can also produce
tiny flowers that grow right with the stems. These flowers then grow into
Epazotes are rapid
growers and quickly gain their standard height of about 4ft. If you
continuously harvest the tip of the plant after every couple of weeks, the
plant will continue to grow and get more and bushy as well. This will also
allow you to harvest the herb throughout the growing season.
Epazotes do the
best in warm weather where the temperature does not drop below 50 very often.
Do not water the plants too much and a dense watering thrice a week is
sufficient. If it does not rain, you may increase the watering. Do not use a
forceful stream or pressurized water to water the plant, as its stem is often
quite delicate. Do not over water or it will lead to root-rot.
has almost no pests as the texture of the plant and the scent of the leaves act
as a deterrent to parasites and pests all over. Epazote can also help you to
get rid of pests from other plants, as pests will leave any area where epazote
spreading leaves of epazote plant can help you get rid of annoying pests like
ants etc. from your house.
say that it’s not worth drying Epazote because it loses its flavor when dried, but I disagree. While the flavor
may not be as intense as a fresh bunch from the garden, there is still plenty
of culinary use for dried Epazote in everyday cooking.
are several ways of drying Epazote which include
To oven dry
your Epazote, preheat oven to 250-300 degrees F.
Lightly coat a cookie sheet with baking spray to help with sticking. Strip the leaves
off the stems of the Epazote and spread the leaves in one layer on the cookie
sheet. Let, the leaves dry out in the oven for 20-30 minutes, check once. You
just want the leaves to lose the fresh green look. Take them out of the oven and
cool on the cookie sheet. Use a spatula to scrape off the cookie sheet, and
slightly crumble the leaves. Put in an airtight jar and store with spices, use when
needed! These will last as long as any other dried herb.
the Epazote under cool, running water and dry it thoroughly, but gently, with a
the Epazote together and tie the stem ends together with a string for them to be used immediately.
Epazote bunch in a dry area until all the water evaporates from the leaves of
the bunch upside down in a paper bag. Tie the paper bag closed and poke several
holes in the bag with the tip of a knife to allow for ventilation.
bag in a warm, dry area that is not in direct sunlight.
Open the bag and check the herbs every few days to see if the
Epazote is sufficiently dry. The herb should feel crisp and crumble easily in
your hand, with no areas of moisture. It should take about one to two weeks to properly
dry your Epazote.
the Epazote in a bag while it dries allows the leaves to drop into the bag rather
than onto the floor or counter.
dried Epazote in a sealed, airtight container.
tastes best when added to cooked dishes as opposed to salsas or salads.
Epazote for drying that has fresh, healthy leaves; avoid Epazote with wilted
fresh Epazote until you are able to dry it by placing the stems in 1 inch of water
and covering the plant with a plastic bag. Fresh Epazote should keep in the refrigerator
for up to one week.
Epazote herbs in a bowl of water. After they have
soaked for a few minutes, put the leaves
in a salad spinner or large dish towel and give it a twirl. This helps
to make the leaves as dry as possible.
remove the stems of the herbs. Some people prefer to dry their herbs without
removing the stems; it is a matter of personal preference. Once the leaves are completely dry,
the stems will be minimal, so you decide what’s best. If you plan to grind the dried
leaves into powder, the stems will not make a difference.
Once you’ve cleaned and dried the Epazote leaves, lay them on
dehydrator trays in a single layer. It is okay to have the leaves touch. They
will not stick together when they are dried.
You should process these in your favorite dehydrator at 110°
for approximately 1 to 3 hours. They dry fairly quickly
so keep an eye out. You’ll know they are done when
the leaves are crisp and crumble between your fingers.
How to store dehydrated Epazote
To store dehydrated Epazote, place the dried Epazote in an
airtight container and keep in a cool, dark, dry place for the best flavor and color.
Use the leaves within a year. Keep the leaves whole; they have
a longer shelf life than ground herbs. For the best flavor crush or grind the leaves
just before using.
Dried Epazote lasts as long as two years, and you don’t have to
worry about freezer burn or other problems that occur when freezing food.
If you have the freezer space or happen to
have a second freezer as we did for many years, freezing is a good way to
preserve Epazote, which, also, has the benefit of retaining more of the original
flavor of Epazote then drying does.
There are three basic methods for freezing Epazote:
The Ice Cube Method
The Vacuum Sealer Method,
The Cookie Sheet
Ice Cube Method
One way of freezing Epazote is to add the
leaves or parts of leaves to ice cube trays in water or broth before freezing.
This method is useful for adding small quantities to recipes, especially soup,
stews, and casseroles.
Salad Spinner or two
clean spongy kitchen towels
shears or sharp knife and cutting board
Entire leaf or hacked Epazote
Fresh faucet water
Pick through the fresh Epazote
and dispose of damaged leaves. Spin drying or pat dry between two kitchen
towels to remove as much moisture as possible.
Strip off the leaves
from the stem.
Dice the Epazote and
add to ice cube trays.
Fill every compartment with
Top off with filtered water
or broth and place in the freezer.
the ice cubes have frozen, remove the Epazote cubes.
and air-proof freezer bag or container in your freezer.
This method preserves more color and flavor
by keeping the leaves sealed.
Vacuum sealer with
proper bag material
Salad Spinner or clean
spongy kitchen towels
Kitchen shears or sharp
Wash and gently spin dry
or gently pat dry with kitchen towels to remove excess moisture.
Cut or remove the stems
Make a bag large enough
to hold the Epazote leaves and allow some headspace between the herb and the seal.
Label bag with herb
name and date it.
Place herbs into the
seal the bag.
flat in the freezer. After the bags have frozen solid, they can be put away
upright or stacked to save space.
The Cookie Sheet Method
This method is in common use as most homes
still do not have vacuum sealers in their kitchens. The cookie sheet method, also,
preserves more color and flavor than drying Epazote.
Air tight freezer bag
or plastic freezer containers
A cookie sheet or sheet
pan which will fit on your freezer shelves
Salad Spinner or clean
spongy kitchen towels
Kitchen shears or sharp
Wash and gently spin
dry or gently pat dry with kitchen towels to remove excess moisture.
Cut or remove the stems
Label bag with herb
name and date it.
Line the cookie sheet with
Spread the Epazote leaves
on top of the parchment paper
Spread the leaves on a
parchment paper lined cookie sheet (not touching one another) in successive
layers of parament paper and Epazote. For best results, at most three to five
layers are recommended.
You can place a final
layer of parchment paper and top with a second cookie sheet to gently press the
Let the leaves freeze a
few hours or overnight.
Once the leaves are
thoroughly frozen, quickly remove the leaves from the cookie sheet, and
parchment paper, and pack the Epazote leaves loosely inside small freezer bags
or freezer containers for long-term storage.
How long can Epazote stored in
If properly stored, it will
maintain the best quality for about 4 to 6 months but will remain safe beyond
Thank you for
buying this book, and I hope you found it useful and interesting.
Gardening is a fun
way to relax and enjoy the beautiful and often tasty results of your hard work.
Epazote is a brilliant starter plant for everyone who is interested in growing
herbs and is an amateur gardener. It is easy to grow and care for the plant and
can be grown anywhere.
Epazote is quite
potent, and only a small amount is needed to make your dish pop! This means you
can grow a couple of plants, and they will last you throughout the season. If
you are new to the taste of epazote, use it in various quantities to find one
that suits and soothes your taste buds. Remember, it is always better to add less
spice than more as it is possible to make up for less but removing more is
greens are rich in a wide variety of nutrients including Vitamin K, Vitamin C,
Folate, Magnesium, Copper, Phosphorous, Manganese, Zinc, Iron, Thiamine,
Riboflavin, Carotene, and Potassium among others.
Alfalfa has been used for decades across different cultures in the world to support good health and for medicinal purposes. For instance, it was used in traditional Chinese medicine to improve appetite and to alleviate digestive system disorders.
How to Grow Alfalfa Microgreens Indoors
microgreens are easy to grow. They can be grown all year round with peak
seasons being during fall and spring. They tolerate a wide range of climates.
Since alfalfa roots develop quickly and do not grow deep, you can grow them at
home in pots, containers or trays.
The microgreens are propagated from seeds. Within 3-5 days of planting, the microgreens will have sprouted. Water them and ensure they have adequate light and they will be ready for harvesting within 10-14 days. After planting, maintenance includes weeding and pest control which can be achieved organically or using pesticides or herbicides.
Growing Alfalfa Indoors
Alfalfa microgreens are some of the easiest plants that you can grow indoors. Since they grow fast, you can repeatedly plant them for a continuous supply throughout the year. All you need is a surface for planting such as a tray or a pot, and adequate light – you can place the tray/pot near a window or use a gardening bulb during the winter season.
GROWING ALFALFA IN TRAYS
Step-by-step Guide to Growing alfalfa in trays
Find a shallow tray (1.5 – 2.5 inches deep).
Fill the tray with potting mix or soil up to a
level of one-half inches.
Spread the soil/potting mix evenly to form a
Scatter the alfalfa seeds evenly over the soil
Sprinkle a thin layer or the soil/potting mix
over the seeds.
Using a spray bottle, sprinkle water over the
Place the tray near a window or near a source of
You may cover the tray with a piece of cloth or
a perforated plastic bag to create a humid and warm environment that promotes
germination while allowing adequate flow of air into the soil and the seeds.
or sprinkle water on the germinating seeds.
Once the seeds
begin to germinate, remove the cloth or paper bag that was covering the
tray as the shoots grow up to 4 inches high.
Within 10-14 days the microgreens will be ready
for harvesting. If you allow them to continue to grow, they will develop into
seedlings and later into alfalfa plants.
To harvest the alfalfa microgreens, hold a
section on the one hand and snip the
stems just above the soil with scissors.
You may store the fresh microgreens in a jar in
the refrigerator for about a week. Otherwise, you may dry them and store in an
airtight container for up to 3 months.
Growing alfalfa pots
The procedure for growing alfalfa in pots is similar to growing alfalfa in trays; only instead of using a shallow tray, you’ll use a shallow pot or small containers. This has the advantages of allowing you to grow in small batches and to put the pots in smaller sunny spots around the house.
How to Use Alfalfa at Home
microgreens are a great option for adding green vegetables to your diet. You
can use them in:
Sandwiches • and salads.
They can also be juiced or blended with fruits. Growing alfalfa indoors ensures that you have a constant supply of the microgreens throughout the year.
Alfalfa (Medicago sativa) or
Lucerne is a favorite both in the garden and kitchen. It’s faster and easy to
grow outdoors as well as indoors to add a nutty taste to sandwiches or salads.
Alfalfa is perfect to grow as you can easily sprout in containers and eat it
within just a few days, or grow it as green
manure in your home garden to help promote a good healthy soil.
The plant offers many essential
nutrients for humans –it helps with the purification of the liver and blood,
detoxification of urinary tract, and maintaining body alkalinity. But perhaps
most people will remember alfalfa for its extensive commercial use as fodder
for livestock. It acts as a rich source of calcium, protein, boron and many
other essential elements.
Other than human and livestock
use, planting alfalfa in your garden helps restore your soil’s fertility and
enhance the growth potential of your garden. Below is a quick overview of how
to grow alfalfa in your garden.
How to grow alfalfa
It’s important to note that
alfalfa is a perennial crop that grows up to 3 feet tall and spreads 2-3 feet.
The plant flowers in May-July and the flowers look like clovers, which can be
blue, yellow or purple. The leaves are tri-foliate, narrow and oblong or oval
Planting and Growing Details
requires shade/sun with up to 3-4 hours of
sunlight. You can quickly grow alfalfa sprouts in just 3-5 days indoors in a
small tray or a glass jar. When sprouts get to about 2-5 inches, you can
transplant them to your garden beds.
it requires regular watering, where you water
the topsoil whenever it turns dry. You generally need to keep the soil aerated
and moist, but not saturated. Too much watering can result in the development of fungal diseases and rots.
sowing season is spring to summer. You need to prepare a weed-free garden with
firm soil so that there is increased contact between the seeds and the soil.
Plant your seeds at the recommended rate and keep the soil moist to prevent the
developing roots from drying. As earlier mentioned, you can also start by
sprout the alfalfa seeds indoors before transplanting the sprouts into your
always keep your alfalfa garden free of weeds.
If you have a relatively small garden, you can opt for manual weeding. Otherwise, pre-plant herbicides are
recommended for larger plantations. Apply fertilizer as per your soil test
results. But the most common fertilizer used at planting is N.P.K fertilizer (a
combination of Nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium)
Some of the most common diseases include
bacterial wilt, common leaf spot, Downey mildew, and leaf rust. Use appropriate
pesticides depending on the disease incidence. Commons pest such as whiteflies,
alfalfa caterpillars and aphids tend to promote the growth of sooty mold.
Harvesting and use
If you’re growing alfalfa for your consumption, the best time to harvest your produce is at sprouting stage – about 7-10 days after planting the seeds or at least in the early stages of growth. the larger the alfalfa becomes the woodier the stocks are and the stronger the flavor becomes.
When growing for alfalfa green manure, you will need to allow the plants to grow until the purple blooms develop, at which point you can either just mow it back in the garden or leave it in a fallow bed until you are ready to cultivate the bed and put it back into use. Alfalfa will break down in the soil, releasing nutrients as well as stimulating microbial activity. Additionally, alfalfa adds nitrogen to the soil while it grows and provides erosion protection. If you live in a rural location, alfalfa can be used as fodder for livestock such as chickens, rabbits, and other animals, if your fallow garden location is fenced.
If you’re harvesting alfalfa herb for livestock fodder, you will need to harvest and cure it before flowing sets in or at early bloom. When flowering sets in, it gets difficult for livestock to digest the fodder. Harvesting at early bloom also ensures that you take advantage of the most nutrient content. Also, you will want to want to gather your livestock manure and cultivate it into your garden or add it to your compost pile.