Love to Garden: Sprouts

It’s really a joy to grow things yourself, harvest and enjoy eating them. Or to simply revel in the beauty of flowers you planted and grew on your own.

This spring, besides planting seedlings for my garden, I got the idea to try sprouting.

I forgot how much I love sprouts. I haven’t bought them from the store for a long time, after reading that they can be a source of bacteria due to the way they are grown. But at home, they are easy to grow and delicious to eat.

Mom reminded me that she used to grow sprouts when I was little. Maybe that’s where I got my taste for them.

My first experiment was to throw together some beans, peas and lentils and try sprouting them. It was a success, as they are so easy to grow. But since they were processed for cooking, not sprouting, I was hesitant to eat them.

So I purchased a starter set of sprouting seeds that has a variety of six packages, some of them mixes, so that I could try different sprouts. I think the starter set will last a while, as you don’t need many seeds to sprout a jar full that lasts a long time.

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I sprouted alfalfa seeds first. They sprouted quickly but I left them to grow them on the counter for six days, then dried them and stored them in the fridge. We used them on sandwiches and in salads. Sprouts are also great in a stir-fry or soups.

It’s really a simple process, and you don’t need special equipment – although you can purchase special kits if you want. I simply use a wide-mouthed mason jar, cheesecloth, and a rubber band to hold the cheesecloth over the jar. The seeds go in the jar, and the jar is covered with the cheesecloth so you can rinse and drain them regularly.

Sprouting seeds include instructions. You first rinse and soak the seeds for a certain length of time – usually up to 8 hours. Then you rinse the seeds several times a day, drain water our of the top of the cheesecloth-covered jar, and set the jar inverted in a bowl to allow any extra water to drip out. You don’t want water sitting in the sprouts.

It doesn’t take long before the sprouts arrive, and in less than a week you can do a final rinse, lay the sprouts out to dry, and start enjoying them. I wrap mine in a clean tea towel and store them in a sealed container in the fridge. They last up to a week.

Happy sprouting!

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