Sprouting is the easiest way to grow fresh greens year-round, even in Earth's coldest corners. No weeding. No skill required. And almost no space needed!
Fresh sprouts are a potent source of antioxidants, rich in essential fatty acids, full of fiber and protein, and packed with vitamins. And they're delicious! (If you've only tried store-bought alfalfa in square plastic containers, you might have doubts. Three days, a handful of seeds and a wide-mouthed mason jar will change your mind.)
Craving some spice? Try radish sprouts. Want crisp, juicy and sweet? Go for pea shoots. There's a nearly unlimited selection of legumes, seeds and grains suitable for sprouting.
Inexpensive countertop sprouters are available from garden suppliers like West Coast Seeds. I prefer the simplicity of a glass, wide-mouth mason jar.
• Glass, wide-mouth mason jar
• Mesh screen or cheesecloth to cover jar opening
• Sprouting seeds; although almost any unsplit seed will sprout, avoid pathogens (e.g. E.coli), by purchasing sprouting seeds, which have been cleaned to minimize risk
How to sprout seeds
1. Place two tablespoons of unbroken seeds in the jar. Rinse and drain them.
2. Fill the jar with water two to three inches above the seeds. Soak for eight hours. Drain.
3. Rinse soaked seeds well. Cover the jar opening with mesh or cheesecloth and secure well. An elastic band does the trick, but I love the screen & lid system pictured here. (Lucky for you — I'm giving one away!) Invert the covered jar into a bowl, tilted at a 45-degree angle to allow continuous draining and air circulation.
5. Harvest grains and legumes after one to two days, when the "tail" is 1/8-inch long. Rinse well and serve.
6. Un-hulled seeds, like alfalfa, clover, radish and mung beans, need indirect sunlight for an additional couple of days (take the towel off) and are ready when leaves are deep green. Submerge these varieties in a bowl of water till hulls rise. Skim hulls, drain and enjoy.
Store fresh sprouts in a glass container with a clean rag to absorb moisture. They'll keep five to seven days, refrigerated.
Finding fresh, local greens through winter can be a challenge. Sprouts are a simple, tasty solution.
Enter to win a seed-sprouting system (wide mouth jar, mesh insert, seeds to get you started) — courtesy of The Soap Dispensary — by commenting on this blog!
Queen of Green