Have you ever tried growing your own sprouts? It’s really simple and inexpensive, and you’ll get fresh, nutrition-packed food for your salads, soups, sandwiches, or stir frying at home. If you’re living on a meager food budget these days, add some sprouts to liven things up.
Here’s one more reason to grow sprouts. The USDA wants to irradiate raw greens. They’re calling irradiation pasteurization. I suppose they think you and I will associate pasteurization with milk and not question it. Supposedly greens can be handled and shipped more hygienically, even if it might cost a little more to do so.
But irradiation would make nutrition content questionable at best. It looks like we’ll have to grow our own salad greens if we want to eat the real thing. But you’re going to have a little salad garden of your own this year, right? Wouldn’t it be even better if you could grow your own salad and the sprouts to put on it?
If you’re new to sprouting, here’s a short overview. Afterward I’ll tell you how you can make sprouting in a jar even easier.
Grow Your Own Sprouts
by Andrew Patterson
Growing your own sprouts is a simple and cost effective way to ensure a constant supply of fresh greens in your kitchen. From a health point of view sprouts contain more minerals and nutrients in sprout form than when they are a fully developed plant and are an excellent source of vitamin C, fiber and protein as well as being high in anti-oxidants.
As sprouts reach a harvestable size in around 4-7 days they are easily grown and a great introduction to gardening for kids or the novice gardener. Unlike other vegetables sprouts can be grow by those living in apartments as all that is required for their cultivation is moisture, darkness and warmth.
The two most commonly grown sprouts are Alfalfa and Mung Beans (often sold as “Chinese Bean Shoots”) but there are many species suitable for sprouting they include Sunflower, Lentil, Radish, Wheat, Barley, Watercress, Broccoli and Fenugreek.
Growing your sprouts
The easiest way to get started growing your own sprouts is to use a sprouting jar.
These can be purchased commercially but they are essentially a jar with a lid that has fine drainage holes, this can easily be achieved yourself by fixing some cloth or mesh over the opening of a jar with a rubber band.
Step 1. Rinse your seeds or beans under the tap using a strainer.
Approximate quantities of seeds you will require:
Small seeds 2-3 tablespoons
Medium seeds 1/4-1/2 a cup
Large beans or grains 1 cup
Step 2. Place your rinsed seeds inside your sprouting jar and fill with water. A good general rule is to add 2-3 parts water for every 1 part of seed.
Step 3. Allow seeds to soak for approximately 12 hours, this is generally done overnight.
Step 4. After seeds have soaked place your cloth over the end of your jar and fix with the rubber band. Turn the jar over allowing the water to drain out leaving the seeds behind, give the jar a shake making sure all water is gone.
Step 5. Once again fill the jar with water, drain immediately making all water is gone.
Step 6. The jar should now be placed on an 45 degre angle to allowing any excess water seep out for anouther 12 hours.
Step 7. This rinsing and draining should be repeated twice a day for the next 4-5 days by which time you should have some nicely formed sprouts.
Your newly grown sprouts will remain fresh to eat for about a week.
Too much moisture will cause your sprouting seeds to rot and spoil.
Unused seeds should be kept in an airtight container in a cool dark location; seeds stored in this manor will keep for a year or more.
About the Author
Andrew is a garden care professional by day and runs a popular home garden website in his spare time, feel free to drop by and join the discussions.
Mesh holes are big enough to drain well, yet small enough to hold in those tiny seeds like alfalfa.
Why not order more than one? That way you can have a jar of something or other sprouting all the time so you’ll always have fresh sprouts when you want them.
To order your sprout lid, click on the WheatgrassKits.com banner below, or where you see their name in this post. Then search for key words sprout lid. You’ll see a page featuring sprout lids and other sprouters. Click the image of the sprout lid for more info and to place your order.