Saturday, February 21, 2009

Usage of Nutmeg

Nutmeg and mace have similar taste qualities, nutmeg having a slightly sweeter and mace a more delicate flavor. Mace is often preferred in light dishes for the bright orange, saffron-like hue it imparts. Nutmeg is a tasty addition to cheese sauce and is best grated fresh. Nutmeg is a traditional ingredient in mulled cider, mulled wine, and eggnog.

In Indian cuisine, nutmeg is used in many sweet as well as savory dishes (predominantly in Mughlai cuisine). It is known as Jaiphal in most parts of India. It is also be used in small quantities in Garam Masala. In Middle Eastern cuisine, nutmeg grounds are often used as a spice for savory dishes. In Arabic, nutmeg is called Jawzt at-Tiyb.In Greece nutmeg is used in cooking and savory dishes.European cuisine, nutmeg and mace are used especially in potato dishes and in processed meat products; they are also used in soups, sauces, and baked goods. In Dutch cuisine nutmeg is quite popular, it is added to vegetables like Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and string beans. Japanese varieties of curry powder include nutmeg as an ingredient.

Nutmeg is an excellent seasoning for cooked vegetables, especially cauliflower, potatoes, spinach and winter squash. It is a delicious addition to creamy white sauce, pasta fillings and meat dishes. Of course, it is a familiar flavor in pumpkin pie and other baked goods, as well as in eggnog.

Nutmeg loses its flavor when heated. If possible, add nutmeg toward the end of the cooking process.The effects of alcohol are intensified by nutmeg. Limit your alcohol intake when eating foods prepared with a good amount of the spice.Nutmeg complements winter drinks, such as tea and hot apple cider. Sprinkle the spice over the hot drink, it adds flavor and helps soothe colds and bronchitis.In spice blends and flavored tea (Chai), nutmeg is used along with cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, ginger and black pepper.

In the Caribbean, nutmeg is often used in drinks such as the Bushwacker, Painkiller, and Barbados rum punch. Typically it is just a sprinkle on the top of the drink.

According to some natural practitioners, regular use of nutmeg as a seasoning stimulates the cardiovascular system, promotes concentration, acts as an expectorant, reduces joint inflammation and helps the liver remove toxins. It also has a warming effect on the digestive system, reduces indigestion, nausea and vomiting and calms diarrhea.
Careful: In large doses, the Myristicin and Elicin in nutmeg can be toxic, may produce a hallucinogenic effect or cause miscarriages. Don't use more than 2 tbsp. of ground spice or 10 drops of essential oil per day. Nutmeg is not a nut and does not pose a risk to people with nut allergies. Allergy to nutmeg does occur, but seems to be rather rare (check with your doctor).

Friday, February 6, 2009

What is Sustainable Agriculture

People often ask me, what is sustainable agriculture ?.

I summarize some basic principles for sustainable agriculture:

Every farm is different due to geographical location, weather conditions, soil, birds & animals, etc. Selection of species and product varieties should chosen so that it is well suited to the site and conditions on farm.

Diversification of Crops (including livestock) is another issue that one should consider. Diversification reduces the risk of crop failure, animal disease, usage of post harvest waste, inputs provided by livestock, etc. Most of the small farmers fail in long term due to lack of diversification. It is just like saying, don't put all your eggs in one basket.

Management of the soil to enhance and protect soil quality is the most import issue. Extensive usage of chemical fertilizer over long period of time degrades the quality of soil that can provide stable harvest. Farmer may get higher yield for few years but then yield starts decreasing. As yield decreases, farmers put more fertilizer and that leads to soil erosion and ultimately the crop failure. After some period of time, land becomes useless. In deep rural areas, where people learn from nature, usage of chemical fertilizer is very minimal.

Efficient and humane use of inputs is important for yield. Farm animals waste,crop waste, vermilion etc serves as natural input for the farm. These inputs are natural and maintains the nature's Eco-system.

Consideration of farmer’s goals and lifestyle choices are important and should be considered seriously. Each farmer is different. Farmers have varied requirements based on family, location and situation. Farmers use the methodology based on their financial requirements.

Healthy soil requires less: input, water, nutrients , pesticide to maintain yields. Less usage puts reduced stress on the Eco-system and water resources.

There are many other issues that one needs to consider when adapting to sustainable agriculture techniques.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Fight the Climate Change

Brighter Planet's 350 Challenge

Our climate on earth is changing because we are wasteful !. Especially in the land of plenty, we waste: food, gas, trees, natural resources like coal, minerals etc. Our weather pattern is changing and we have to do something to sustain the life on earth. We are wasteful, we will not be able to leave anything for future generations. Some people consider "sustainability" as buzz word or in vogue. Sustainability has a long lasting and real impact on our lives. We need sustainability in agriculture, water resources, power, fuel we use in our cars etc. It is high time that we join hands worldwide to build a sustainable world. Just sustainability in America is not sufficient since we live in a global inter connected world. Join our hands to build a world that will exist tomorrow !.

Indus Organics joins the Brighter Planet’s 350 Challenge

The 350 Challenge is a small way to show your support to fight climate change. The more bloggers that get the badge, the better. Thousands of readers will know that the climate movement is spreading far beyond the typical “environmental” realm and into the norm.

Who is Brighter Planet?

Brighter Planet is a Vermont start-up committed to fighting climate change and building a clean-energy future. Borne out of a Middlebury College classroom, we are dedicated to demonstrating how small actions can lead to meaningful change. Through our products, services and expertise, we help you to reduce greenhouse gas-emitting activities, expand your use of green technologies, and build renewable energy projects.

What affiliation do you have with

Brighter Planet's 350 Challenge is inspired by Bill McKibben’s awareness campaign about the importance of the number 350, the parts per million of CO2 in the atmosphere that we must aim for if we want to keep the planet relatively safe. Bill is on our advisory board and the 350 crew are some of our dearest friends from Middlebury College. The 350 Challenge is a way that we can help bloggers spread the word. To learn more, listen to the podcast about the 350 campaign that we did with Bill.

Why carbon offsets?

Carbon offsets play a crucial role in building a sustainable society. Many renewable energy projects are well suited to produce energy and meet stringent standards, but lack sufficient financing. Carbon offsets fill that void by investing in these projects.

What kind of offset projects are they supporting?

Our renewable energy projects in communities across the U.S. decrease our national dependence on carbon-emitting “dirty” energy sources like coal burning power plants. Some are wind power in public school districts or open lands and others are cow power on family farms. They all meet Brighter Planet’s stringent project standards. Learn more about our projects…

How exactly do I install the badge on my blog?

find out here how to upload your badge.