Thursday, March 5, 2009

Grow Fresh Salads All Year

Sprouting is about the easiest way to get tasty, super nutritious, fresh salads all year. It takes very little time and effort, and is essentially foolproof gardening.

There are many companies online that offer sprouting seeds and materials. These lids, which fit half gallon canning jars found at your local grocery store, are from the Sprout People. But before I got these lids as a gift from Luke's mom, I just used a piece of cheesecloth secured with a rubber band. When I didn't have cheesecloth I placed a strainer over the mouth of the jar to drain it, then used a piece of cloth draped over the top to keep the dust out for the rest of the time.

I have always purchased my seeds from a health food store near us, as they are much cheaper than any I have seen online. I usually grow alfalfa and mung beans for salads, but I have sprouted broccoli, which is delicious, as well as lentils and wheat berries, which I already had in my pantry. These latter two I added to my bread dough to enhance the nutrition, flavor and texture of the bread. But beware! When you sprout wheat or other cereals, you must use them all when they are ready, because they will not stop growing when you refrigerate them like other sprouts and soon you'll have grass instead of sprouts.

Lentils and wheat take about two days, alfalfa and other beans take three or four. Sprouts will grow faster in warmer temperatures than in cold ones, too, some more than others.

It probably takes less time to do it, than to read this, so I'll stop rambling and get on with the simple instructions.

1. Place 1/4 cup seeds in a half gallon canning jar, or less in a quart sized jar. Cover with water to at least three times the depth of the seeds. Soak overnight.

2. In the morning, drain seeds, then rinse and drain again. Invert the jar at an angle for a couple hours to drain thoroughly. This helps air to circulate better.

3. Rinse and drain at least twice a day until they are ready. On the last day, put them in a window so they will produce chlorophyll. Then rinse, drain and eat. Store them in the refrigerator for three or four days if they don't get eaten before then.


Melanie said...

So good by the handful,or tucked into a sandwich! Is there anything healthier? I find that if I don't rinse them the final day of growing before refrigerating, they last longer as they won't get slimy. Also a salad spinner helps dry them before storing in the fridge. Thanks for sharing!

Sara said...

Good tip, Mom H. Thanks!

kellyn2girls1boy said...

I am going to do this, I love sprouts in salads and on tuna sandwiches. Thanks for the detailed information.

Jamie said...

Do you cover them with water again after step 2? On average, how many days does it take for them to be "ready?"

Sara said...

No, you just rinse them, they need air to grow. The alfalfa and mung beans take about 4 days.

Grace said...

I'm so glad you posted this! You told me a long time ago how to do it, but I really needed a visual. Now I feel confident enough to grow my own sprouts :)