PERILLA or SHISO FROM SEEDS

Not all shiso taste the same.

In our kitchen, we find there are culinary differences between the Japanese and Korean Shiso and thus we used them differently.

In the former (Japanese,青しそ, ao-jiso ), the leaves are thinner and the taste is suitable even for young children’s salads. Eaten raw, the minty flavor is not as sharp as the Korean and taste slightly like cinnamon. Japanese Shiso can be either green or reddish color.

The Korean Shiso seem to be a favorite only with the adults at home, especially meat lovers. We enjoyed the thicker leaves as wrap of greasy meats dipped in sweet Korean chilli paste and sesame oil.  The flavors blend so well that the grease “disappeared” from one’s palate. Regrettably the grease did not disappeared for real! In appearance, Korean shiso has an oval smooth edged thicker leaf compared to Japanese Shiso.

Shiso seeds have short life span and should be kept in the freezer to extend its viability. Germination can be tricky as it was important to maintain both warm and moist environment without drowning the seeds. For best result, seeds environment cannot alternate between dry and wet, it must be kept constantly moist.

It took between overnight to 14 days to see the seeds showed first sign of emerging life.

Grow to grow Perilla Shiso Mint from seeds

3 to 7 days to germinate

Seeds leaves did not show immediately. They appeared 3 days after germination. As young seedlings, the growth progress was relatively slow.

Grow to grow Perilla Shiso Mint from seeds

3 days after germination

Japanese Green Shiso from seeds in Singapore

Mosquitoes-Safe  Nursery

Significant spurt in growth seen only after one week.

Japanese Green Shiso from seeds

One week old

Grow Shiso or Perilla from seeds in Singapore

True Leaves have pointy tip

Hydro seedlings settled in individual “pod”.

Grow Shiso 青しそ, ao-jiso Perilla from seeds in Singapore

2 weeks old

We fed these hydro plants with seaweed extract instead of just AB nutrients.

Japanese Green Shiso from seeds in Singapore

3 weeks old – long roots

Japanese Green Shiso from seeds in Singapore

2018 July 10 – one month old

Grow Perilla or Shiso from seeds in containers

2019 Jan18 – hydro

Grow Perilla or Shiso from seeds in containers

Roots in liquid nutrients

The downside of Perilla mint is that they seem to bolt rather quickly, usually after the 4th harvest and the leaves became tough and brittle. When this happened, leaves do not replaced as fast and they were smaller. We preferred to re-start from seeds and enjoyed younger leaves.

Japanese Green Shiso from seeds in Singapore

Bolting – Flowers pods

Soil Based Shiso

Grow Shiso or Perilla from seeds in Singapore

2018 Nov 19

Grow Shiso or Perilla from seeds in Singapore

10 days old

Grow Shiso or Perilla from seeds in Singapore

3 weeks  old

 

We love these leaves raw in salads, rice rolls or with sashimi. Our favorite salad combination is avocado with these leaves, do try it for yourself!

Grow to grow Perilla Shiso Mint from seeds

Favorite leaves with rice

As the children love only Japanese Shiso leaves, we grew mainly this than the Korean variety at home.

Grow to grow Perilla Shiso Mint from seeds

Hydro SHISO

SEEDS ARE AVAILABLE IN SHOP 

These seedling grew very fast after one month.

Grow Shiso or Perilla from seeds in Singapore

2018 November 21

 

Although at this stage, the size of the leaf is not big, we enjoy the tender smaller leaves over the mature ones. Its texture at this stage is finer and the cinnamon flavor had a sweeter aftertaste.

cool seasoned herbs from seeds

2018 December 21

Larger leaves can be harvested first, keeping the smaller leaves on the plant. The next harvest in a week time. Planted well in cloth bags, with enough aeration to roots zone even though its in soil, this can be a large plant.

Grow cool seasoned herbs from seeds in Singapore

Good roots mass

As the roots had extended out of its seedling bag, it can now be planted in a larger pot to mature further.

Advertisements

BURRITOS !

I love to cook, love to grow and spoil my family!

For meat burritos, I like earthy herbs like Sage and Oregano as they compliment tomatoes very well. These herbs are grown on our window gardens, ready to be harvested at our convenience.

Fresh cool seasoned herbs at home

Sage

Grow Harvest Fresh Herbs indoors

FRESH SAGE

Grow Harvest Fresh herbs indoor

Cuban Oregano

How to grow herbs indoors

Cuban Oregano

Fresh Herbs harvest in indoor gardens

Spring Onion

We can use any minced meat for Burritos filling, or no meat at all. Rice and beans are another great pairing with vegetables and herbs.

Grow Harvest Fresh Herbs indoor

Dice everything!

These wraps are now available in supermarkets for great Mexican meals anytime. They can be kept in the freezer until needed. Best thaw before use else it will tear upon wrapping.

Grow Harvest Fresh herbs indoor

Multi- Grains Wraps

READY TO USE SEASONING MIX

Burritos are great for leftovers such as roast chicken or biryani rice. The filling can be anything you want. The last ingredient need to be able to melt quickly (any cheese), moisten the drier filling and blend everything together (sour cream, yogurt etc).

Grow Harvest Fresh Herbs indoor

Original Tortillas Wraps

To Prepare (Non Spicy) Filling (as I am cooking for children) –

  • 300g any minced meat (or 2 cup cooked rice) – salt, pepper
  • 1 cup diced onion (medium)
  • 1 garlic (chopped)
  • Fresh Oregano, Sage or any herbs as desired
  • 3 cups any vegetables ( I love red capsicums, corns, peas for the color! )
  • 1 can of any beans
  • 1 teaspoon each, dry spice powder  – cumin, turmeric, coriander (or Mexican burrito spices, pre-mix)
  • 2 Tablespoon Tomato Paste
  • Cheddar, shredded
  • Sour Cream

How to cook filling (the steps are the same for non meat version) –

  • Heat 2 tablespoon oil in Pan
  • Sauteed onion and garlic until slightly brown (until fragrant)
  • Add dry spice powder
  • Add minced beef (mix onion and garlic into meat or rice while stirring)
  • Tomato Paste ( add in when meat is almost cooked) – mix well
  • Vegetables, Beans  and Fresh Herbs

Extra Note – The mixture must not be wet thus allow to simmer at low heat until the liquid (from cooked meat and vegetables) is reduced. This can be prepared ahead of time and kept well in the fridge until needed for a week.

Airtight container keep food better.

Grow Harvest Fresh Herbs indoor

Dry Mixture

An example of ready to use spices mix –

Home Cooked One Dish Meals with Fresh Herbs

Burrito Spices

Prepare wraps when ready to eat.

Preheat oven at 160C.

Step 1 – Filling can be straight from fridge (cold is better)

Grow Harvest Fresh Herbs indoor

Cold Filling

May need toothpick to pin this wrap close ! Avocado is a good substitute for sour cream because of its creamy texture.

Home Cooked One Dish Meals with Fresh Herbs

AVOCADO Add-ON

Step 2 – Power Layering made the difference !

Sour cream + Cheddar will melt giving the moist to our dry mixture. Top with spring onion. Guacamole or hummus is another favorite addition.

Grow Harvest Fresh Herbs indoor

Cheddar , Sour Cream , Spring Onion

Wrapped this up and baked in a preheat oven for 10 minutes. We know its ready when the burrito is slightly brown on the edges and we also should smell the cheesy sour cream as it melt into the warm filling.

This is why my daughter very rarely dine out with her friends. She rather bring everyone back to eat at home!

 

Grow Harvest Fresh Herbs indoor

Burritos

 

WESTERN PARSLEY

Lest we get confused with Chinese Parsley, which to me taste like celery,  these so called “Western” Parsley are Curly leaf (English) and Italian Flat Leaf Parsley.  As this herb is a biennial, meaning it will bolt (flower) in the second year and then died, I much preferred growing them from seeds than buying from the nursery. This way, I know how long I can harvest from my plant before the need to sow new seeds.

Curly Leaf Parsley (2015)

Germinating Tip – Unusual as it seem, I soaked these seeds in a market fish rinse water overnight before sowing, after a few unsuccessful attempts. Thank goodness, there was no lingering fish smell that attracts ants and flies!

Grow Curly Parsley from seeds

1 week old Curly with Rosemary cutting

Grow Curly Parsley from seeds

2 months Curly Parsley

Curly Parsley from seeds

2015 December 04 –  1 plant in pot

Curly Leaf Parsley are pretty looking and commonly used for garnish. Its flavor is quite mild compared to the Italian Flat Leaf.

Grow Curly Parsley from seeds

Freshly harvest Curly Parsley

Flat Leaf Parsley (Hydro and Soil)

Germination Tip –  Pretty easy, sowed in very wet medium, using kale’s method. First sprout spotted in 2 days.    Sowed them in very wet soil over other medium for better germination result.

Grow Italian Flat Parsley from seeds

2018 July 31 – very moist soil

Before true leaf showed, root has extended about 2 cm.

Grow Italian Flat Parsley from seeds

Long roots

Grow Italian Flat Parsley from seeds

2018 August 06 – True Leaf

Cold seasoned salads

1 month old

Cool Seasoned fresh herbs indoors

Flat Leaf

Cold seasoned salads

2018 Sept 05

Cold seasoned salads from seeds

2018 October 04

Flat Leaf Parsley became too beautiful to eat when we look at them this way!

Grow Italian Flat Leaf or curly Parsley from seeds in containers

2019 February 25

Soil based plants

Cold seasoned salads

2018 Aug 06

Cold seasoned salads

2018 August 10

Cold seasoned salads

2018 August 25

Cold seasoned salads

Hydro & Soil Parsley

Notes on Western Parsley

  • Preferred cool weather, thus need to protect from hot sun or grow in partial shade
  • Biennial, will flower and die on second year (collect seeds!)
  • Germination – maintain very moist medium for seeds
  • Seedlings preferred slightly moist medium
  • Not fussy about soil type
  • Leaves and stems can be eaten
  • Goes very well with roasted garlic for Italian meals such as pastas

 

Grow cold seasoned herbs from seeds

Pies filling

Cold seasoned salads

Brie & Herbs Pies

CHICKEN PIES With FRESH THYME

Our chicken pies are an all time favorite with guests, parties, picnics or home meals.

When the children were young and dislike eating vegetables, it was also my way to sneak in as much greens as possible into their favorite tea time pies and they could not picked it out!

We love to use herbs, especially thyme, from our gardens.

Ready made puff pastry in sheets are used instead of making our own to save time.

Home made chicken pies

Ready made puff pastry Sheets

This recipe is for chicken pies filling and can be prepared ahead. It can be kept for one week in the fridge.

Instead of uncooked chicken, leftover roast chicken or turkey can be used as well.

Ingredients

  • Chicken Fillets ( breast or thigh, boneless, seasoned with salt & black pepper)
  • Vegetables ( chopped, cube sized – carrots, celery or frozen peas)
  • Fresh Thyme
  • Onions (slice or chopped)
  • Brown Mushrooms (optional, chopped)
  • Can of Campbell Cream Mushroom soup

Method

  • Sauteed Onion until fragrant
  • Add carrots first as they take a longer time to cook, until soften
  • Add chicken
  • Add herbs, mushrooms, other vegetables
  • Add Cream of Mushroom soup

Other Notes

Dicing Carrots – 1. Cut the carrot lengthwise in the middle 2. Lay the half’s flat on cutting surface. 3. cut into strips before dicing them into smaller cube pieces.

Cooking with fresh herbs

How to dice Vegetables

 

Pastry Sheets (Always baked in pre heated oven)

  • Cut a pastry sheet into 4 parts
  • Fill a tablespoon and fold in 4 corners of pastry over filling
  • Bake at 160C until pastry is brown

They should be served hot and if there are leftover pies, they are best baked in hot oven for 5 minutes than microwaved, as the latter soften the skin rather than maintain its crisp texture.

The cream based soup bind and hold ingredients well, and made for a moist flavorful filling as it steamed inside the puff pastry while its being baked.

 

Pies with Fresh herbs

Chicken Pies

Powerhouse Golden Purslane

Although Purslane is considered a weed in many countries, it nonetheless packed a powerhouse of nutrients for salads lovers. The health benefits include high omega 3 fatty acids (helps lower cholesterol) , natural antioxidants,  Vitamin A, B, C, iron, magnesium, calcium and potassium.

Native to Asia, purslane is now enjoyed widely for its nutrition and thick, crunchy leaves texture.

We sowed the cultivated edible purslane known as Golden Purslane on July 7, using strawberries’ method, and first sprouts were spotted 4 days later, on July 11. Similar to strawberries, these seeds need light to germinate, thus sowed on surface yield speedy germination success.

The seedlings had red stems when they germinated but the color will be more yellowish green as they matured.

Golden Purslane Plant Care

3 to 4 days to germinate

Golden Purslane Plant Care

Vivid red stems

Golden Purslane Plant Care

Seed leaves appeared

The vivid red stems dimmed when seeds leaves appeared.

Edible Purslane from seeds

4 days after germination

Grow edible succulent from seeds

2018 July 30

Grow edible succulent

2018 August 04

Grow edible succulent from seeds

2018 August 13

Golden Purslane is a cultivated variety with upright green stem instead of red.

Grow edible succulent from seeds

2018 Aug 13

Golden Purslane Plant Care

2018 September 18

Edible succulent from seeds

2018 October 4

Leaves are thick and slightly crunchy. There is a hint of lemon and the taste is not over powering. In salads, these are easily blend in with other flavors and eaten more for their benefits and texture than taste.

Edible succulent purslane

2018 Aug 25

Golden Purslane Plant care

Leaves and Flowers Formation

Edible succulent from seeds

2018 October 4

Golden Purslane Plant Care

New Leaves and flowers at base of plant

Cultivated Purslane’s yellow flowers are observed to open when there is strong sun and closed again when it is dimmer.

Grow edible succulent from seeds

Yellow Flower

Edible succulent from seeds

2018 August 27

Seeds are available in SHOP !

Interesting Notes on Golden Purslane –

  • Leaves, Stems and Flowers are edible
  • Flowers are typically yellow, 5 petaled, and opened in sunlight
  • Stems can be rooted
  • Sometimes replaced  for spinach
  • Higher beta-carotene than spinach
  • Annual
  • Succulent, prefers drier soil and sun
  • Can be invasive nature, grow like weeds, self sowing seeds

Grow Ginger in Pots

Growing ginger is surprisingly easy, but on hindsight, I should have planted them individually or in a wider pot to allow the roots to grow more.

Fellow gardener, Ms. Pek Nyuk in our Facebook gardening group ( https://www.facebook.com/groups/866039746800973/) , recommended to start planting them in shallow soil depth in wide pot and then top up with soil as they grow.

This store bought ginger was cut into 4 parts, each part with the “eye” and planted with it facing upwards. Although there were eight buds on this ginger that could be separated and plant, gardeners also recommend not to do so as smaller parts would not have enough energy to grow a good yield.

How to grow ginger in pots

2018 February 9

Another example of the “eye” –

Grow gingers in pots

The eye are the round indents on the skin

The picture below showed my newly planted shoot on 16 July 2018. One per pot this time! 🙂

Grow ginger from store bought ginger

Newly growth from the eye

Some were re-planted in outdoor bigger pots. We planted them like this, cut side in soil with the shoot facing upward.

Grow ginger in pots

2018 August 06

In previous pot, my ginger were small because there was no room to grow further..

How to grow ginger in pots

2018 July 15

Thus we harvested early, on July 15 (only 5 months) instead of waiting another four months for them to mature. The leaves had started to brown. These plants will not be able to grow well remaining in this small pot.

How to grow ginger in pots

No room for roots to grow

This is how we harvested our ginger.

 

A soothing brew of ginger tea for cool days!

How to grow ginger in pots

Comforting ginger tea

 

Turmeric Ginger is grown in the same way. We started our own plants in May 2018 to treat eczema rashes by applying grated pulp (and juice) with black pepper. This application work almost instantaneously to stop the itch and inflammation and has no burn on skin. Thus, should be comfortable for young children as well.

Grow own turmeric ginger in pots

Turmeric Leaf is used in curry

It is sometimes called yellow ginger because this ginger juice stained everything yellow! We use turmeric in curries and even with seasoning of seafood.

Grow own turmeric ginger in pots

2018 October 27 – freshly harvest

Apply directly on skin to treat inflammation and itch and find instant relief. It does not come any fresher than home harvest and with my own ginger, I know there is no pesticide.

Grow own turmeric ginger in pots

Pulp + Juice + Black Pepper

We learned our lesson after our first harvest in small pot on July 15 2018. Next round in bigger deeper pot yield a better harvest. No matter the size, fresh ginger smell and taste much better than anything bought in stores!

How to grow ginger in pots

First Ginger Harvest on July 15 2018 

How to grow ginger in pots

2018 Dec 05 – Better Harvest

Look how amazingly juicy is our freshly harvested ginger! We are addicted to home grown harvest more than ever now.

How to grow ginger in pots

Freshly harvested Ginger !

 

Vertical Container Gardens

Our indoor gardens are often challenged by limited space and sun but it is still pleasant to live surrounded by plants we love.

Since 2015 to accommodate our expanding strawberry garden, we grew vertically on our windows as well as horizontally on tables by the windows. We made pots out of recycled PET (  polyethylene terephthalate ) bottles to hang.

There are several reasons why we love these plastic bottles –

  1. Weight – Lightest among any other pots
  2. Free of charge and yet harmful to our environment if we just throw. Go Recycle!
  3. Cut-able – can be customized for individual plants’ needs
  4. Versatile – suitable for soil based or Kratky Hydroponic

SOIL BASED Bottles

Indoor container strawberries garden

Soil Based – Bottom side for plant

Soil based needs a narrow dripping point, as we do not want water to splash on our floors whenever we irrigate our hanging gardens. Thus we used cap side for drip off and wider end at the bottom for plants.

Container indoor hanging gardens

SOIL Based – Dripping end

Indoor container strawberries gardens

Soil based strawberries

HYDRO HANGERS

Container Herbs Garden

Strings at cap side

This is how we turned ordinary plastic bottles into hydro or soil based hanging gardens.

Step 1 – Cut holes to string ropes through for hanging

Kratky Hydroponic –  Cut 2 holes at opposite side of the bottle near the cap. We chose the wider end for inserting hydroponic bottles.

How to built hanging gardens

HYDRO – Holes for string

Soil based – Cut holes at bottom end of hanging pot for strings.

PET bottles container hanging gardens

SOIL Based – Strings

Step 2 – Knots at each hole to prevent wear and tear by rubbing, also keep bottle steady in the wind. Top knot (not shown) for hook to latch.

How to built hanging gardens

Step 2 – Knots on sides and top

Step 3 – Cut hole (s)  to insert hydroponic pot or plants (soil based)

For Kratky bottles (non circulating hydroponic) – Measure against hanging pot to estimate the size of opening to cut. I preferred to cut smaller and then widen when the plant is inside hanging bottle.

How to built hanging gardens

Step 4 – Estimate height of hole

How to built a hanging vertical garden

Hydroponic plant and nutrient feed

Soiled based – Cut size of hole as desired to plant

How to grow in vertical hanging container

Sweet basil in hanging soil pot

Step 4

Hydroponic – Cut holes at the bottom of hanging pot to drain rainwater if outdoor (prevent mosquitoes breeding)

How to built hanging gardens

Cut Drainage holes

Soil based – Net or cap over with holes for drainage

Vertical cheap container gardens

Net over

How to built vertical vegetables container gardens

Cut drainage holes on cap

 

Wear Socks! – To shield liquid base or roots end from light (heat) to prevent unsightly algae.

How to built vertical vegetables container gardens

Recycle old socks

How to built hanging gardens

Colored bottles shield roots

Hydro pots are lighter than soil based pots

How to built vertical vegetables container gardens

Hydro kale

How to built vertical vegetables container gardens

Rosemary in liquid base

In late September 2018, these PET bottles pots became “fashion” accessories after the S-hooks ZehZeh’s craze in Singapore! Just for laughs –

S hook ZehZeh

Gardeners also can hook !

The best thing about this no-tech vertical garden, beside being cheap to maintain and built, is that it allow both soil based and hydroponic to grow together.

Creative PET Bottles Recycling IDEAS

HYDRO & SOIL

Happy Green gardening by re-using PET bottles! 🙂

WORKSHOPS available – How to start vertical vegetables container gardens in hydro and soil (for beginners), from seeds and cuttings.

Coriander – Grow from seeds

I love this aromatic herb for many reasons. Its add flavor to any dishes and packed a punch in health benefits.

Coriander or Cilantro’s health benefits

  1. Reduce levels of LDL (bad cholesterol) and increasing levels of HDL
  2. Lower blood sugar and pressure
  3. improve bowel movement
  4. Rich in vitamin C, K and protein
  5. Anti-inflammatory benefit

What’s there not to love about this herb?!

Health benefits of cilantro

My first home grown coriander on March 23 2016

In South East Asia, this is relatively common herb in our markets but there may be parts of the world where its not so easily found. Thus, it would be useful to learn how to grow from seeds.

Health benefits of cilantro

Coriander Seeds – round with hollow casing

Coriander seeds can be found not only in plant nurseries which are more expensive but also in dry goods shelves of supermarkets. These seeds are used in Mediterranean and Asian kitchens to add flavor to stews and sauces.

For better germination success, I like to “crack” the seeds before sowing on wet tissues or other medium.

Health benefits of coriander

Stratify seeds before sowing – easy to crack seeds with finger nails

The seeds were sowed on pre-moist soil and placed in an area where I have some morning sun.

Health benefits of cilantro

7 days to germinate

Coriander can be eaten as microgreen or slightly more mature plant.

Health benefits of coriander leaves

3 weeks old cilantro or coriander