Saturday, November 17, 2012

web site (soft launch!)

Hi Friends!

Don't know who is reading out there, but I wanted to announce my website:

It's still a bit in progress. It was created lovingly in our home office: designed and authored and photographed by me and built by my wonderful G, but it's live and tells you a bit more about what I do. The aim for plantspeople is to educate the public on the many wonderful uses of plants. This is manifested through workshops (permaculture, natural dye, ethnobotany, cooking, etc..), through gardening focusing on dye, edible, medicinal and native plants, and through integrative design applied to textiles, flora, art, tamilian culture and more! It's all new and growing and very exciting.

Please don't hesitate to get in touch with any dye, plant, garden or culinary questions! Or about anything else. Thank you all for staying in touch and I hope you'll continue reading!

Gratefully yours,
Deepa Preeti Natarajan

Thursday, November 8, 2012


it's so wonderful when you come across a vegetable you have never seen or eaten before growing superbly in your local environment. this unusual vegetable is Cyclanthera pedata known as Caigua and pronounced kai-wa. it is largely grown in south america where it's been depicted for thousands of years in peruvian ceramics. in the  Andes it is called "pepino de rellenar" translated to a stuffing cucumber.

the fruits are often eaten cooked or picked, but can be eaten raw.

this plant is also found in the himalayas and is called kichipoktho in Bhutan.

we're growing this plant at the Merritt College permaculture garden and the vine is just absolutely thriving. hopefully we will save some seed this winter and begin propagation to distribute the plant in more bay area gardens.  please leave a comment or get in touch if you have any information on this one!

here's my experiment having it for lunch!

first i sliced open the pods and removed the lovely black seeds with a spoon

then i stuffed them with some rice we had leftover from yesterday (brown rice with onions, peppers, carrots)

then i steamed the stuffed cucumbers (took about 10minutes to get them soft)  and ate - yumm!!!