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Getting your greens

Today’s blog was hoping to be back in the world of free movement. But none of us are really that surprised that we’re still in lockdown. As COVID-19 cases rise here and in many parts of the world the gravity of this situation is literally being brought home to us...and home we must stay.  

As the economic hardship begins to impact suppliers, especially small vendors we will likely see less variety in fresh vegetables. Growing food at home is something most urban folks are divorced from. Apart from not having enough space or sunlight to grow things, we have supermarkets and specialty stores to take care of our every out-of-season desire. It's only when those are closed that we realize what's really in season. So while we can still tomatoes, potatoes, onions, and garlic, is there any way to get some nutrition from fresh greens into our meals right now? During both World Wars, many governments in Europe and North America would encourage citizens to grow vegetables to supplement low supplies. Great branding helped to spread the idea. Termed ‘Victory Gardens’, the idea of growing food was rebranded as an act of patriotism. By the end of World war II there were 18 million ‘victory gardens’ in the United States alone. Though almost none of these survive today, we do see a resurgence of urban farming in the 21st century. 

Though these are different times, perhaps its time to think about how we can be more self-sufficient in some of our nutrition needs. And yes, Its the worst time to get to a nursery and it'll take a while to get some plant seeds delivered even though e-commerce sites are likely to commence delivering soon. So here are a couple of ways you can infuse your meals and your family’s intake with some homegrown goodness from whatever is in your kitchen right now.

The easiest place to begin is with sprouts. But you may have also had a bad experience when you tried it. Rotting sprouts have an amazingly pervasive stink!

A couple of quick searches on youtube will give you some pointers. Youtuber Ekta Chaudhary’s Garden Up channel is a good place to begin, but there are millions of guides out there. And the best thing about sprouts is that you don’t need any soil at all or special apparatus; all you need is your beans or lentils soaked in water overnight and then placed on a flat dish on your kitchen counter for a couple of days. The most common ones in Indian food are moong sprouts, easy to eat raw as well as pop into a quick side dish. But you can also try this with other dried beans like chickpeas, brown chana, dried peas, and soybeans. And if you’re trying to go for the long sprouts used in Asian cooking here’s a great video to watch by Korean home cook Maangchi

In addition to sprouts you can try microgreens. This takes a little more work and care but is really easy and can be managed without soil as well. For the right process here’s a quick how-to video. 

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