Take the 2-minute tour ×
Seasoned Advice is a question and answer site for professional and amateur chefs. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I was about to add 4 ounces of fenugreek seeds to my Amazon order when I saw that I could buy a pound for just a couple of dollars more. The 1 pound package emphasizes sprouting, whereas the 4 ounce package looks like any one of many other packages in my spice cabinet. They both say organic.

Is there a difference between fenugreek for sprouting and fenugreek for cooking? Are fenugreek seeds generally toasted for use in cooking? Are they sold toasted?

Finally, is there a traditional use (particularly in North African, Middle Eastern or Mediterranean cuisine) for fenugreek sprouts?

share|improve this question
add comment

1 Answer

up vote 5 down vote accepted

I have had always success with sprouting fenugreek seeds that were bought as a spice. And an Indian friend of mine regularly grows fenugreek for leaves from the seeds bought for cooking. The seeds sold for cooking are whole (intact) seeds - they are quite hard and therefore difficult to break and damage. But I can not really say what percentage of the seeds sprouted - it probably would have been higher if I had bought seeds that were labeled for sprouting - but for me it was satisfactory.

With most plant species the germination success gets lower with time. The seeds meant for sprouting have therefore often a germination success rate estimation on the label. And the manufacturers might therefore put more care into supplying fresher seeds and seeds of the same "age" to be able to guarantee that success.

I have never heard of anyone selling toasted fenugreek seeds (accept maybe if it has been some spice mix that already underwent some kind of tempering).

I think sprouts in general are not very traditional elements of North African or Middle Eastern cuisine, where fenugreek is used as seed or less commonly as leaves. Fenugreek sprouts might be found more in Indian cooking (where sprouts, micro greens and fenugreek leaves are used), or in more "hippy" / healthy-bowls styles of cooking.

And of course the seeds sold for sprouting can naturally be also used as a spice, but they might be sometimes a bit more expensive (and I guess that differences in strength of the flavor could also be found - so that the sprouting ones could maybe sometimes be milder / less flavorful).

Anyway ... you can use them definitely as a spice, as sprouts, micro greens, or grow them into bigger plants and use the leaves.

I would be a bit suspicious of the quality of the seeds in the big package if they are sold for super cheap ... but they might be totally fine.

share|improve this answer
    
Great info, as always! Thanks Martin. I'm intrigued by the description I've read about the spice, that it is reminiscent of maple. Is that true of the sprouts and leaves too? –  Jolenealaska Sep 30 '13 at 3:19
1  
@Jolenealaska Glad to help! I think you must have confused something regarding the maple ... the the plant looks a little like clover and the seeds ... dunno ... what does this look like to you?. I have heard the seeds (or some specific compounds therein) are used in fake maple syrup or to add "maple syrup" aroma in home beer brewing ... but fenugreek has a much stronger, sharper, and bitter flavor ... I personally couldn't compare it to maple syrup, for what it's worth. –  Martin Turjak Sep 30 '13 at 8:02
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.