Skip to main content

Al's Green Fingers

Potted Pineapples

Growing your own pineapples is quite easy when one lives in a warm or tropical country because pineapples love sunshine! But even in cooler climes it can be accomplished if one has a greenhouse or a sunny corner in the home.

To start you need a good tasting pineapple, not one which is too tart. It should be fully ripe. Next a flowerpot of about 20 cm (8 inches) diameter and potting soil. Cut off the top of the fruit with about 2 cm of the flesh included. Scoop a little from the soil to accommodate the size of the cutting. Press the cutting firmly onto the soil and cover all around with the soil you removed. Then water just enough for the soil to be moist. Place in a sunny position and keep plant just moist, not letting it dry out.

Initially the leaves will start wilting before new growth occurs and eventually they dry up completely. By then new leaves should have sprung up strong and sturdy. You will also notice a difference in colour compared to the old leaves.

The plant in the photo is now about 3 months old and I hope I will soon see a sign of a new fruit. Some years ago I was successful in harvesting my own fruit from such cuttings but they were planted in open soil which is more beneficial to the plants. Now I have no garden and have to grow what I want in containers.

I would love to hear from anyone who has successfully grown a pineapple in a pot with a delicious fruit as reward! While mine is still in the process of growing it is time to transplant it into a larger pot to give it the needed room for good growth.

Three months old pineapple plant



Grow your own herbs!

If you like cooking you will want a fresh supply of aromatic, succulent herbs handy instead of running off to the market each time you need some! 

The best and easiest way is to grow your own. You do not need a garden for this, just some flowerpots, good soil and the herbs you want to plant. 

Today I want to tell you about efinrin (Yoruba), nchuawuni (Igbo), daidoya (Hausa), ntong (Efik), aramogbo (Edo) or clove basil in English. Its botanical name is ocimum gratissimum. It is one of the easiest shrubby herbs to propagate. Seeds are readily available, but a faster way is planting cuttings. Break off a small branch from the plant having first asked permission if it is not your own. Prevent the cut end from getting dry and stick it into your flowerpot filled with soil. Water generously and within a week you will see new growth. Keep the soil moist, not wet, and allow the plant to get sufficient sunlight, either in the morning hours or later in the afternoon after the ferocious noon heat has somewhat subsided.

After a month you will be able to pick your first leaves for that delicious peppersoup you had planned for a while. There really is no substitute for fresh produce!

Known in English as clove basil, the name will tell you that it is great in lots of other dishes where basil is required. In my opinion efinrin is far superior to ordinary basil because of its lovely scent and wonderful taste!

You can add it to jollof rice instead of the boring old thyme. If you want, use it for a great pesto
or even in a white sauce. I know some people who love Thai curry and are always looking for Thai basil. Try efinrin instead! 

These are just a few suggestions but I think that there are many more possibilities, especially since this plant also has many health benefits.
3 months old efinrin shrub

Comments

  1. This is good to know. I'm coming for some cuttings!

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Baked Akara!

Akara in Yoruba and Kose in Hausa, these deep fried bean cakes are enjoyed all over Nigeria. Traditionally they are made from dried black-eyed beans or honey beans, soaked overnight and skins removed. Then they are put through a grinder with onion, salt, tatashe ( a large type of hot pepper) and maybe one or two other ingredients, depending on locality. Then oil is heated in a large basin and the mixture is dropped in by the spoonful, turned over once or twice and fried until golden brown. When done they are drained on newspaper which does take up the excess oil to a certain extent. Finally wrapped in fresh newspaper the akara are sold to the waiting customer.
For a long time I was racking my brain how to recreate the deliciousness of akara without the process of deep frying, because any food saturated with fat is an absolute taboo for anyone with heart problems, high cholesterol and/or diabetes. So a healthy version was needed, especially since beans are highly recommended for anyon…

Happy Healthy New Year!

Now we have left Christmas and overindulgence behind and are well into the new year, which we hope will be a prosperous and healthy one for everyone.

Unfortunately many have a health challenge like diabetes which puts serious restrictions on what to eat. Good cookbooks are available that make it a lot easier to plan meals, but to re-create favourite dishes of family members takes a lot of research and experimentation!

One of those favourites in our home is pancakes with all possible variations. Today I will show you one of them: Potato pancakes originally, now called coco yam pancakes. The change was necessary because coco yam is lower on the glycaemic index than potatoes, therefore better for diabetics but just as delicious!

You will need:
1 medium sized coco yam (malanga coco)
1 small onion
1 egg
1 heaped tbsp wholemeal flour ( wholewheat )
a pinch of salt
freshly ground black pepper
about 1/2 cup water
vegetable oil for frying

Method:
Peel and finely grate the coco yam and onion in…

More Baked Akara!

After making a baked version of akara with yeast I experimented using baking powder instead. For the first attempt I only substituted the yeast (see previous post) with 1 tsp baking powder. The mixture baked well and was tasty but a little dry. So I decided to reduce the amount of water and add egg instead. It worked!

Since I was expecting a few guests I decided to make a double portion to surprise them. Here is the recipe which will yield two dozen beancakes:

INGREDIENTS
3 cups bean flour
2 cups water maximum
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 large onion
1 large tatase or 2 scotch bonnet peppers
4 Tbsp olive oil or any other good quality vegetable oil

PREPARATION
Grease 2 muffin tins lightly and set aside.
Preheat oven to 180C or gas 4
Finely chop onion and peppers, removing seeds. Heat oil in a small pan and saute onion and pepper for a few minutes on medium heat until onions become translucent and the oil turns red from the pepper. Turn off heat and allow to cool a li…