Spices to Grow Indoors: Paprika and 9 Others
Luckily for people who prefer extra flavored food, there are plenty of spices to grow indoors. Starting with paprika, today we are going to present you a brief list of the best spices you can start growing in your own home.
Top Spices to Grow Indoors
Paprika, or Capsicum annum, refers to thin-skinned peppers. Most people usually grow the bell peppers and use them as vegetables. However, this is a different variety since you need no fleshy vegetables to make your own paprika. In general, this species loves a bright, sunny area. You can start by sowing the seeds in special trays or straight into the soil. It’s a good idea to grow just one plant in a pot.
You can start harvesting the chilies when they have that specific bright red color and look ripe. First, you need to dry them well, so hang them up in bunches. Then, spread them in a single layer and keep them in semi-shade until you notice they are brittle. Grind them into a powder and then dry it again using a paper mat. If you keep them in a damp environment, they can grow mold, so make sure you store them in air-tight jars.
Ginger, called Zingiber officinale or simply, ginger root, is yet another great option for spices to grow indoors. It is original from South China, later spreading to more tropical areas, such as West Africa and India. From there, people in Britain and other European countries learned how to grow ginger by themselves as well. It is mostly used in flavorful curries, in confectionery, as well as in baked goods.
You can easily propagate the plant from rhizome pieces that measure 1 – 2”. Place several pieces of ginger 6” apart in a tub. Cover them with a layer of 1” of sand and press it down. Keep the tub in an area with plenty of light. You can use some grow lights as well. Water it all regularly when you feel the soil going dry. Every two weeks, add a general-purpose fertilizer. It’s easy to grow it in the garden as well. Simply treat it as a perennial.
This is tightly related to ginger, sharing with it a bright yellow color, as well as a spicy flavor, which makes it one of the tastiest spices to grow indoors. Scientifically called Curcuma longa, it comes from India and if you’re already familiar with indoor vegetable gardening, you can adapt the ginger growing process to turmeric.
One challenge you might face is the fact that it’s rather hard to find planting material. Most of the time, turmeric is sold and used in dried form. However, you just need to find some pieces of rhizome to start with them. You need to place the pieces into pots or tubs filled with potting mix. Cover them up with a layer of 1” of soil and remember to water them well. Offer lots of light if you want a lush green look of the leaves. When you harvest it, you need to boil it 35 – 45 minutes and then dry it.
If you’re looking for spices to grow indoors, we bet mustard wasn’t the first one to come to your mind. However, it is quite appreciated by gardeners worldwide, so why not give it a chance? There are various species you can choose from: Brassica nigra, B. juncea or B. alba. They come from the cabbage family and you can easily grow them from seeds.
You just need to use a shallow tray to start the seeds and then transplant them into pots. There, they will develop leaves, which you can use as greens. Keep them in a sunny spot and remember to water them regularly. You will see them grow thin and long seed pods. When they burst open, harvest them. Grind the seeds with vinegar to make your own mustard.
Fennel, also called Foeniculum vulgare dulce, is a great option if you don’t know what other spices to grow indoors. However, you need to have plenty of space in this case, as the plants generally grow tall and large. Keep in mind that fennel doesn’t like to be transplanted, so you need to sow the seeds right into the pots. Simply press a couple of seeds into a rich potting mix that has good draining.
You can eat both the fennel leaves and the bulb-like bases. However, if you want to obtain the popular spice, let the plants flower. The flowers will appear in 6 weeks after planting, after which you will also get the fruits to ripen. To harvest them, take a paper bag and cover the plant. Then, cut off the stem. Make sure you dry the spice in shade. Store it in an air-tight container.
One of the most expensive spices to grow indoors is the saffron made by drying stigmas from the mountain crocus (Crocus sativus). However, if you’re willing to grow it on your own, you may save some money and enjoy a delicious spice. The crocus bulbs tend to rot when the weather is wet, which is yet another reason for which you should grow it indoors.
The planting material you need is the crocus corms, which you can find at established nurseries. Fill the pots with sand or gravel at the bottom and add rich potting mix. Push a couple of crocus corms into the soil and then cover them up with sand and soil mix. Keep them in an unheated room and set up some bright glow lights. Move them to a warmer room to make them flower. You need to get the three stigmas from each of the flowers and dry them on parchment paper. Store them in dry containers.
It’s not as exotic as the other spices to grow indoors we presented until now, but onion still deserves a place on this list. In general, onions are considered vegetables, but the dried onion powder is a spice. Scientifically called Allium cepa, it is related to leeks and garlic. You can grow them from seeds or sets, and you need to plant them in shallow tubs with rich potting soil.
As the bulbs keep developing underground, they will push themselves through the soil. When the leaves wilt, they will reach their maximum size, so it’s time to harvest them. Pull the onions up and hang them to dry. When the outer layer starts crinkling like paper, slice them thin and dry them. It’s perfect if you use a food dehydrator. Make it into a powder and store it in air-tight containers.
We couldn’t mention onion without also talking about garlic. Called Allium sativum, it’s a bulb that’s very easy to grow both indoors or outdoors. You just need to separate the cloves and put them into a moist soil that has good drainage. The best thing about it is that you can start them indoors any time of the year. Keep the soil moist evenly, but be careful not to let the water log, otherwise, you might end up with bulb rot.
You can harvest the mature bulbs when the leaves wilt during summer. Dig up the bulbs and dry them just like you do with the onions. You can braid the leaves together and hang them in the pantry if you want to save some space. Take skinned garlic cloves and pickle them in vinegar. Alternatively, you can make them into garlic powder. For this, you need to dry slices of cloves cut thinly in the sun or with the help of a food dehydrator.
Cumin (Cuminum cyminum), is one of the spices to grow indoors that is popular in the entire world. It is usually grown outdoors, but if you don’t have enough space, you can try it indoors as well. Sow the seeds in large pots indoors and keep the soil moist. You need to wait 4 – 5 months from sprout to harvest. However, drought and heat may shorten this phase. The small flowers will soon form clusters of elongated fruits. At this point, you need to harvest them before they fall off the plant.
Take the flower heads and dry them in large paper bags. When the fruits fall off, keep them in the sun to dry and clean them by winnowing. Dried cumin is added to tempering mixtures or used as a powder. An option would be to roast the cumin before grinding for extra flavor.
Coriander is the name used both for an herb and a spice. If you know how to grow herbs in pots, you can easily turn coriander into a spice. The spice is, in fact, the dried seeds of the coriander herb. However, they have a very different taste, which is surprising for most people. You just need to plant the seeds into the soil and wait for the fine, lacy leaves to appear. The drying process is like the ones we presented you before, so it’s easy to have your own coriander seeds powder.
As you have seen, there are plenty of options if you want to grow your own seeds indoors. From coriander to mustard or more exotic plants, such as turmeric, cumin, or ginger, you can have your own spicy garden to boost your cooking skills.
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