How-To Guide to Sprout Your Own
As I mentioned in the post on Why Subvert Your Supper? (and How), sprouting seeds and grains on your kitchen counter is a wonderful way to nourish yourself and “grow your own" fresh food year round.
Sprouts are germinated seeds, beans, or grains that you can then eat. I could write an ode to sprouts. I LOVE sprouts, as my family could attest to. And there are many different kinds of seeds, beans and grains that you can sprout to eat! Such as; wheat, barley, rye, buckwheat, brown rice, alfalfa, clover, sunflower, radish, lentil, mung, chickpea, etc.
At the top of my list are Alfalfa sprouts and Red Clover sprouts. My wife and daughter favor Mung bean. And the chickens aren’t picky in the least.
Mung Beans are those thick, crunchy, refreshing sprouts that are often a part of Thai food dishes. Alfalfa and Red Clover are those wispy, slight sprouts you find in little pint size plastic containers in the produce section selling for about $4+.
To sprout your own you only need four items, a tiny space on the counter, and a few days patience.
The benefits of sprouting your own are; it will cost you like $0.50 a pint (versus that $4), you get to eat them when they are perfectly fresh, and you get to watch those little beauties grow.
WHAT YOU NEED
A quart sized mason jar
A mesh lid
You can do a quick google search and find plastic sprouting lids for purchasing, but that is not necessary. I have DIYed my own sprouting lids with perfect results in two ways.
Use a patch of cheese cloth. Wash in washing machine.
Cut a piece of an old mesh oil splatter screen to size. Wash in the dishwasher.
WHAT TO DO
To make enough sprouts to fill a quart sized jar I use ONE of the following;
3 tablespoons of Alfalfa seeds
3 tablespoons of red clover seeds
½ cup of green lentils
½ cup of mung beans
- Put in jar and thoroughly rinse your seeds/beans until the water runs clear.
- Fill jar with cool water, submerging seeds/beans.
- Cover and let sit for about 8 hours or overnight.
- Drain and set upside down in a bowl, leaning toward the side so it can drain excess liquid, but breathes.
- Rinse seeds/beans every 8 hours or so, then flip over in bowl to drain again. I do mine first thing in the morning, before making supper, and before bed.
- Make sure when you rinse to shake it up so that all the budding sprouts stay loose. They tend to clump up together and I find this results in less successful germination.
- Do this for three days for munch beans and lentils. Do this for 5 days for alfalfa and red clover. At that time you should have a jar full of sprouts!
- Transfer to a storing container to refrigerate.
I immediately start the next batch, if I haven’t already, because they don’t last long in this house!
If you are doing mung beans, store them in a dark cabinet rather than on the countertop, light can make them taste bitter.
And be certain of proper preparation by ensuring your jar is washed or sterilized and you follow proper hygiene and cleanliness protocol when handling the seeds to prevent any food borne bacteria issues.
WAYS TO EAT
Any way you want! I eat them on practically everything, but more discerning eaters may wish to keep them to; dressing up sandwiches or wraps, in vegetarian sushi, with Egg Salad (a favorite recipe linked here!), as a substitution for leafy greens, for making salads, steaming them up with seasonings, using them in stirfry, on omelets, in homemade veggie burgers.
NUTRITION OF SPROUTS
Much like their not-yet-sprouted-selves, sprouts contain a significant amount of vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber, and proteins. And the process of sprouting actually increases the nutritional profile of seeds, beans, nuts and grains and makes them easier to digest. In most cases, sprouts will have the highest concentration and bioavailability of nutrients about a week after germinating. Each food has its own unique nutritional profile, of course, but down below there is a link*** to an informative resource for more details, if you’re interested.