Fenugreek is an erect, hairy annual herb of the bean family, native to India and southern Europe. It is one of the oldest cultivated herbal and medicinal plants known.
It is grown today in France and other Mediterranean countries, India and north Africa, and its seeds are used in foods, condiments, medicines and dyes.
Young seedlings are eaten as a vegetable called methi in India. The plant is also used as a forage plant and a soil builder.
Ground seeds are an ingredient in commercial mango chutney, curry powders, and imitation maple syrup. It is part of many spice mixtures, including vindaloo and the hot curries of Sri Lanka.
The name comes from "Greek hay," which designates its classical use as fodder plant. It is today mainly used for animal medicine, but was once used for human medicine as well.
The plant grows 1 to 2 feet and has trifoliate leaves. White flowers appear in early summer and develop into the long, slender yellow-brown pods containing brown seeds.
Seed in early May on light, well drained soil with row space of 12 inches apart. Seedlings emerge quickly but grow slowly.
Leave in field until after first killing frost. Seed pods are resistant to shattering, so direct combining is recommended with cylinder or rotor speed of 600-880 rpm, which is effective in removing seeds.
You can also pull out the whole plant and allow it to dry, then thresh the seeds.
In the U.S.: Mountain Valley Seeds; Corona Seeds; The Banana Tree, Inc.; Western Hybrid Seeds, Inc.
In Canada, Richters.
Post-Harvest and Packing
Use aeration fans in storage bins, and dry to below 12 percent moisture for safe storage. Seeds are known to spoil at 15 percent moisture.
Plant is high in proteins, ascorbic acid, niacin and potassium.