Saturday, April 13, 2013

Why Should You Plant Your Own Condiments?

Saturday was grocery day and I love this chore more than any other chores combined. In fact, I would spend more than a few hours inside a grocery store even if I only need to buy a handful of items. I love to spend so much time on the baking, produce and condiments section to look for ingredients that I can use for cooking.

I especially love shopping for condiments. Aside from the lovely bottles where they came from, I buy condiments as I rely on them so much to make my food taste far from the ordinary. I have vowed never to use MSG or those flavor enhancing powders anymore so using the right herbs and spices is the only way to go.  Moreover, I love experimenting in the kitchen and collecting condiments is one of my countless hobbies.  But today, I met with a lot of resentments when buying a bottle of basil. With the food prices going up, I was out of budget and I couldn’t afford even a small bottle of it. Sad but even if I can live without it,  it is still depressing that the cost of condiments is steep for most people to afford.

With this, I have decided to plant my own spices instead. Of course the cost of buying seeds is the same as the price of the dried ones but I am thinking long term. And here are some of the reasons why I am planting my own herb garden.

  • When the seeds grow, they flower  and once they flower, they are pollinated by bees and butterflies and turn into fruits and seeds.  By growing my own herbs, I am supporting thousands of colonies of bees to survive.
  • I can collect the seeds and plant them again next year. What you get after it has bloomed are organic heirloom seeds – seeds that you can plant again for the following years.
  • Herbs are medicinal. Before pills were invented, people have relied on the aromatic healing properties of herbs to treat their maladies. I enjoy drinking oregano tea and it clears my clogged nose pronto.
  • One plant can produce hundreds even thousands of seeds in its lifetime so I can have a steady supply of condiments in perpetuity as long as I have the energy to dig up the dirt in the garden.
  • Planting herbs is not only about saving in the long run but having a steady supply of fresh aromatic herbs all year round.
  • I know where my herbs come from so I do not have to worry whether they are laden with chemicals or not. If I am in need of something to flavor my food, I only have to go to my backyard grocery and pick the ones that I can use.
From above left to right:  oregano, turmeric, long green chilli, from below left to right: Thai chilli, rosemary, dill

Planting your own herbs does not require a big space in your house. I have old paint cans that I use to plant my herbs. For now, I have planted oregano, celery, dill, cilantro, parsley and lemon basil and I want to add more as I am planning to transform our backyard into a vegetable garden.

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