How are you doing with those New Year’s Resolutions? Did you resolve to eat and/or grow more vegetables? If so, here’s a simple way to do both: grow your own sprouts! Sprouts can be grown any time of year and are always in season, but are especially rewarding when winter days are cold and dreary. They are easy to grow, nutritious, and are ready to eat in only 4-6 days.
With the exception of the seeds themselves, you probably already have the supplies you need right there in your kitchen. Seeds can be purchased online and you can often find sprouting seeds in the bulk section of natural food stores or at your local nursery. Popular seeds for sprouting include alfalfa, daikon radish, kale, mustard, broccoli, lentils and mung beans For the purpose of growing sprouts it’s important to use organic or untreated seeds that are sold specifically for sprouting. A few of my favorite online sources for sprouting seeds and supplies include Sprout People (www.sproutpeople.com), Johnny’s Seeds (www.johnnyseeds.com) and Pinetree Seeds (www.superseeds.com).
There are 3 simple steps for growing edible sprouts: 1) Soak 2) Rinse 3) Drain
First soak seed for 12-24 hours in a clean, wide-mouth quart canning or mayonnaise jar. Use 2 tablespoons for small seed like alfalfa or broccoli and ¼ cup for large seeds like mung beans or lentils. Two tablespoons may not seem like much but once all those little seeds start sprouting they will take up plenty of room in the jar. Cover the opening with cheesecloth, a piece of nylon pantyhose, or a special sprouting lid with holes for drainage. The next morning drain off the water (I drain the water into my compost bucket) and cover the jar so the seeds are not exposed to light by either placing the jar in a paper bag, wrapping the jar in foil or rolling it up in a towel. Lay the jar sideways on the counter so the seeds are distributed evenly. Gently rinse and drain the seeds with tepid water 2-3 times a day. After 3 or 4 days (some seeds take longer, check packet for specific sprouting information), expose your sprouts to bright light for a several hours so they can green up. Give them one final rinse, pat or spin dry and they are ready to eat.
If not consumed that day they can also be stored in the refrigerator for 5-7 days. Pile sprouts on sandwiches, wraps, omelets, salads or slaw. They can also be added to soups or stir-fry, cooking briefly for a pleasant crunch. Start a new jar of seeds every week for a continuous supply of seeds.