Monday, 20 February 2012

Growing Sprouts

Live foods are always considered to have more health benefits.  Foods with live cultures like yoghurt, kefir, sauerkraut and homemade ginger beer not only taste good but are good for you to eat as well.

Growing your own sprouts is another way to consume live foods.  The seeds have germinated and are actively growing when we eat them.

There are a lot of different seeds and different flavours that you can sprout and they are really easy, quick and very economical to grow and you can do it right on the bench in your kitchen.  You can pick up seeds for sprouting from your local health food store.

Ham Tomato Feta and Alfalfa sprouts sandwich

I am growing Alfalfa seeds in these photos as they are great in salads and salad sandwiches and wraps for lunches.  Other types of sprouting seeds you can try are fenugreek which has a slightly curry flavour, mung bean which are good in a stirfry, lentils, black eyed peas and other peas and many more.

All you need is a wide mouthed jar, some mesh like cheesecloth, muslin or clean stocking, water and your seeds.

Soaking in warm water for 6 - 8 hours

First you need to initiate germination by soaking the seeds in warm water for 6 to 8 hours.  I usually start them after dinner and leave them overnight.  I have about a teaspoon of seeds in this jar but it would fit at least twice that much.

In the morning you will notice the water is a little tarnished in colour, just tip that off, rinse the seeds and pour the water out through the cloth so you don't lose the seeds.  They should be moist but not sitting in puddles of water.

After initial soaking rinse and drain well - or suspend jar upside down
Each day rinse and drain the seeds a couple of times and after 5 or 6 days you should have lovely fresh Alfalfa ready to eat.

If you want a constant supply start another jar about 3 days after the first one and you will have a fresh batch every 3 or 4 days.

Sprouts after day 3 - Can be eaten now if you are impatient but they will grow a lot more
Different seeds take varying times and conditions to grow but usually a sprout is considered ready to eat when it produces its first two leaves at the top of the little stems.  It is a good idea to taste your sprouts after each rinse to see if the flavour is good for eating.  Some sprouts will turn bitter if left too long.  All sprouts need to be rinsed (watered) every 12 hours for optimum growing.

Sprouts after day 5 - Ready to eat
Here are some general guidelines for various seeds:

Alfalfa:
Soak for about 6 - 8 hours.  Ready to eat in 5 to 6 days.  1 tbspn will give you 1 - 11/2 cups of sprouts.

Mung beans:
Need to be grown in a dark area or definitely out of direct sunlight, or they will become bitter.  You could wrap your jar in a tea towel to create a mung bean friendly environment.  Soak for 8 - 12 hours first.  They can be eaten after just 2 or 3 days when the little roots emerge or leave them for 4 or 5 days for bigger sprouts to add to stirfry's and salads.  1 tablespoon of seed should give you about 1 - 1 1/2 cups of sprouts

Lentils:
Soak for 8 - 12 hours and rinse rinse rinse to get rid of all the starchy water or they won't sprout.
Growing time is approximately 3 or 4 days.  1 tbspn = 1 - 11/2 cups

Fenugreek:
Soak for 6 - 8 hours and rinse.  They are ready to eat after about 4 days.  1 tbspn = 11/2 cups



1 comment:

  1. This was an awesome post. I always enjoy looking at the pictures of growing sprouts. Thank you for sharing.

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