Have you ever wondered, while looking at a $5 box of alfalfa sprouts, why you don’t just grow your own sprouts at home?
It can’t be too hard, right?
For Pete’s sake, you make your own nut butters, sprouting seeds should be a piece of cake!
The catch is, you’re not sure how to begin.
Well look no further and put away that $5 bill.
Home sprouting is easy, affordable, and pretty much fool proof.
Not that I’m calling any of you a fool.
Let’s just get that out of the way, shall we?
Another perk, you most likely have the materials needed to sprout your own seeds just sitting around your house, waiting to be put to good use.
All you need:
- 1 large glass jar with a wide mouth
- a fine piece of cloth (cheese cloth, muslin, and even sheer netting work well)
Just be sure that the weaving is smaller than your seeds
- rubber band
- glass bowl for propping
- organic sprouting seeds or grains
That’s it! I told you’re already well equipped to begin!
The only thing you’ll probably need to buy are the seeds/ grains
All health food stores carry sprouting seeds as do some regular grocery stores.
In Germany, you can even pick up a bag in the food aisle of drug stores.
Be sure that you buy seeds and grains which are intended for sprouting.
You do not want to buy seeds which are intended for planting in the ground.
Sprouting seeds YES
Planting seeds NO
A bag of sprouting seeds will probably cost between $1-$4, depending on the variety.
For this demo, I’m using a prepared mixture of fenugreek, lentils, and Daikon radish seeds.
I like this mixture because the lentils taste sweet and nutty while the radish and fenugreek taste spicy.
Also, radish seeds, when combined with other seeds, block the growth of bacteria and milder. More on this later.
Each package of sprouting seeds will include general guidelines for growth.
There are three stages to sprouting seeds: germination, growth and harvest.
So, let’s begin shall we?
Germination simply describes the process of a seed changing from dormancy to life.
To reincarnate your seeds, they need to soak in water.
Depending on the seed variety, this can take from 6- 12 hours.
Step 1: Put 1-2 Tbsp of seeds in your jar and fill it up with water. Let the jar sit for the recommended amount of time, as stated on your seed package.
My seed mixture recommended 6-8 hours.
Step 2: After your seeds have soaked for the given amount of time, put the cloth over the mouth of the jar, seal it on with the rubber band, then drain the water away.
Step 3: Put the jar upside down in a clear container (aim for a 45 degree angle) and set in a sunny place.
For the next few days, your seeds will grow into sprouts. All you need to do is rinse the seeds 2-3 times daily to moisten and prevent bacterial growth.
Step 4: Simply fill the jar with water, gently swirl it around, then drain the water away.
Before you know it, your little seeds will begin to sprout!
Your seed package will tell you how many days to allow from germination to harvest. The recommendation takes into consideration when the sprouts are at their top flavor.
My seeds grew for 2 days before I harvested them.
2 Tbsp of seeds yielded 1.5 cups of sprouts.
Step 5: Give your fully-grown sprouts a final rinse then store them in a paper-towel lined container in the refrigerator.
Step 6: Your seeds can be stored for at least 10 days in the refrigerator. If you notice mold, a funny smell, or sliminess, throw the sprouts out.
Bacteria and Mold
You must be aware of the health of your sprouts when growing them at home.
Bacteria and mold can easily be avoided by keeping your seeds rinsed and well drained.
Standing water is a haven for both mold and bacteria so be sure that your jar is angled in a way that the water is free to drain. Also, make sure that the supporting container is free from standing water.
Many people new to sprouting mistaken developing root fibers for mold.
If you look closely at the photo below, you will notice the root fibers.
Small, fuzzy hairs growing out from the sprouts’ roots are normal.
Nutritional Benefits of Sprouts
Just to name a few of the health benefits, sprouts are:
- raw and living
- highly active antioxidants
- have shown to prevent some cancers
- easily digested
- per calorie, sprouts have a greater concentration of vitamins, minerals, proteins and enzymes compared to any other food
For more detailed descriptions of the health benefits of particular sprout varieties, visit this site.
You can also refer to this site for both the economical and nutritional benefits of home sprouting.
Uses for Sprouts
The uses for sprouts are really limited only by one’s imagination.
Sprouts can be cooked into veggie burgers and added to stir fry.
Top a salad or sandwich with sprouts.
Add them to your smoothies or fresh juice.
Incorporate the flavors into soups, vegetables and grains.
Use in place of dried seasonings.
Have fun growing your own healthy, versatile, tasty sprouts!
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