Though people have been ‘sprouting’ for centuries, recently it’s become quite a popular pastime for gardeners and nutrition enthusiasts. Sprouts can be grown at any time of year in even the smallest home, and on the smallest budget. What’s more they’re packed with vitamins and nutrients, good for your health and fighting off those pesky colds that abound in cities in winter. A huge variety of seeds can easily be grown to eat as sprouts including radish, pea, chick pea, mung beans, alfalfa, fenugreek, sunflower, lentil, and broccoli. Each has its own unique flavour and can be eaten on its own or used to add crunch and flavour to winter salads.
How to Sprout
Soak your seeds (beans and/or grains) in a wide mouth mason jar with fitted with either a spouting lid, a sprouting screen or a piece of cheesecloth big enough to cover the opening, held on with the jar’s metal ring or a rubber band. Cover the goods you are sprouting with at least 2 to 3 times as much filtered water. Allow to soak overnight on the counter or in your fridge.
Drain water out through the cheesecloth or sprouting lid, run fresh water through the lid and over the food, shake to rinse thoroughly. Drain again and repeat one more time. After draining, tip the jar upside down into a bowl, so all excess water drains out. Place your jar/bowl under a dishtowel (or at least out of direct sunlight).
Continue the rinsing and draining process every 8 hours or so, or at least twice a day, until the food is done sprouting.
Most foods will start sprouting on day 1 and will be fully sprouted in 1 to 4 days. The sprouts are ready when you can see little tails, 1/8-inch to 2-inches in length. For grains and legumes, they that are about the same length as the original food, pre-sprouting. Once the sprouts are ready, give them a final rinse and place the jar in a sun lit area for about an hour or so, to green them up a bit and make sure they are fully dry. Damp sprouts will spoil. Once dry, add the regular metal lid back to the jar and store in the fridge (can be stored in a plastic container as well). Sprouts will keep for 3-5 days.
PLEASE NOTE: Though many things can be sprouted, not everything can, so ensure you stick to packaged varieties available at your local garden centre.