Quick nutrition garden during COVID-19 pandemic /scarcity period

Dr Ps Mariam Anal *

 Kitchen gardening grabs attention of the health conscious -  February 23 2020
Kitchen gardening grabs attention of the health conscious - February 23 2020 :: Pix - Laishram Shamungou / TSE

Quick nutrition garden comes in my mind and I have tested within this pandemic period and found to be very interesting by keeping me busy and providing vegetables which supplement in our daily diet. So I would like to share with my fellow being through this esteem paper.

The vegetables and fruits play an important role in the balanced diet of human beings by providing not only the energy-rich food but also supply vital protective nutrients like minerals and vitamins.

Consumption in sufficient quantities provides taste, palatability, increases appetite, provides fair amount of fibres and beneficial in protecting against some degenerative diseases. Our body needs good food for growth, energy, health and satisfaction of our appetite. Man cannot live without food whether in good time or bad time like dreaded disease like Corona virus known as Covid-19.

Due to lockdown in the country, one cannot go out in search of food. The lockdown may continue for weeks or even goes to months. Quick nutrition garden is the answer to our hungry population to some extend during the lockdown period due to pandemic disease where going out from home for buying food or cultivation of vegetables in the field are not possible.

It will not only provide nutrition but also to boost morale. It also increase aesthetic value and reduce boredom. It can be adopt during the war like the ‘victory/war garden’ or even in the urban area where there is no land to grow crops.

Quick nutrition garden is the growing of vegetables in which their early stage of vegetation can be used for vegetable. Such vegetables can be used as vegetable at their germination stage or early tender leaves or at horticultural maturity stage. Therefore, during such bad times, there is ample way to grow vegetables and also ways to cook with minimum quantity of cereals to feed the hungry.

The following crops can be grown for savouring leaves as salad or cook. These crops are quick growing, there by a great help to mankind in times of scarcity as their early stage of vegetation can be used for vegetables. They can be grown in a small piece of land, terrace, kitchen, by hanging, poly bags, bottles, buckets or any containers available at home.

i) Growing of short duration crops like methi/fenugreek for consumption of sprouts and leaves as salad, chutney or cook.
ii) Sow the mustard seeds for tender greens.
iii) Sow peas for young tender shoots which can be used in salad or singju (Manipuri).
iv) Sow coriander and used its tender plants for garnishing as condiments in curry, chutney, etc.
v) Plant garlic and onion in the soil, pot, bag or even as soilless by using water (hydroponic). Place the onion or garlic clove in glass tumbler or container with water at the base. Within a short period, new leaves will emerge. These leaves can be used in fry rice, garnishing in chutney, curry, salad or as you like.

vi) Sow cowpea for harvesting its tender leaves which is relish by north east people. It can be cooked as curry with potato or boil.
vii) Sow pumpkin seeds for its tender shoots to be consumed as vegetable.
viii) Grow herb spices like Chinese chives (Nakupi), Hooker chive (Napakpi), Allium sp. (Chiru maroi), etc. for substitute of onion.

All these vegetable crops provide nutritional value in human diet such as minerals, vitamins, protein, etc. To boost our immune system, consume vitamin C from fruits and vegetables. In the absence of fruits, pulses will provide you vitamin C besides protein and minerals.

So you can soak pulses like greengram (mung), chickpea (Chana), peas (mangal) and other likes fenugreek. These sprouted pulses provide plenty of Vitamin C and other important nutrients like protein and minerals. Soaked pulses can sprout within a few days.

Green gram is the best suitable pulse for sprout. There are two different two types of sprout – white and green sprout.

White sprout: Here is the way how to grow white sprout:
- Wash the green gram seeds well.
- Soak the seeds overnight in water.
- Take a basket or flower pot of deeper height.
- Inside the basket, spread soaked seeds over on muslin cloth or cotton gauge and cover with cotton cloth of thicker one.
- Sprinkler water or run under tap water.
- Then cover with black polythene and store in dark room.
- Water twice or thrice a day. Water should not accumulate below the basket to avoid rotting. Keep plate or basin beneath the basket to collect drained water.
- Observe the growth and the condition while watering.
- Continue watering for about 5-6 days.
- The sprout will continue growing with long stalk and tiny leaves white in colour but soft and tender.
- Now harvest the white tender and crispy sprout and wash lightly with clean water. It can be refrigerated if there is surplus for consumption later.
- Ready to consume with own style like salad, sandwich, etc. Soymilk substitute for fresh milk or milk powder: In the absence of fresh milk or milk powder, soymilk can be a substitute.

Steps to prepare soymilk from soybean:
- Clean the soybeans by removing all the blacken beans, shrivelled, stones, etc.
- Soak 2 cups of soybean in 6 cups of water for 10-14 hours.
- Take out the soaked soybean and drain out water.
- Blanch soaked soybeans in boiling water for about 5 minutes to remove beany smell.
- Put it in grinder – 1 cup of soaked soybean with 1 cup of warm water and grind it.
- Add 10 cups of water in ground soybean and squeeze it with a muslin cloth.
- About 15 cups of soya milk will get from 2 cups of soybean. (or 100g soybean will get about 800 ml soya milk)
- Heat the soymilk till boiling point and continue boiling for about 20-30 minutes, stir it consistently not to burn at the bottom of the pot.
- Add bay leaf or elaichi or cinnamon or chocolate for better flavour and drink as hot or cold after keeping in the refrigerator. It can keep in the refrigerator for about 3 days.

Required more volume food with lesser raw materials (cereal-rice) during scarcity period:
When food is plenty and no such restriction and limitation, people consumed their regular quantity of food and content with what they have.

But when there is limited food and in situation like the present lockdown, one tends to feel more hungry and craving to eat frequently. To manage your hungry tummy and also economise food stock, cook lesser amount of rice in more water in the form of gruel or porridge so to say.

This is similar with Chagempomba (Meitei), Chakhan in Tangkhul, Bupaal-an in Anal, Bepaikihon in Kuki, Ganhuai in Rongmei. In it add vegetables like mustard leaves, cabbage, or any available greens, some spices and salt to taste. If available add dried fish or meat as optional for super taste.

If you desire to have sweet taste, you can cook porridge with sugar and milk with some dried fruits. Such food requires less amount of raw material (rice) with more water but you will be full packed.

* Dr Ps Mariam Anal wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The author is an Assistant Professor, Deptt. of Vegetable Science, College of Horticulture and Forestry, Central Agriculture University, Pasighat, Arunachal Pradesh
This article was webcasted on May 07, 2020.

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