Sprouting

Sprouting is a fun way to "grow" your own food quickly and easily.  I much prefer posting techniques and quick recipes like this rather than full, elaborate meals.  As someone who teaches cooking to beginners or those afraid of complicated dishes, I think it's important to have lots of little ideas and recipes in your arsenal.  With all that knowledge you can easily draw upon them to create your own meal, without having to be intimidated by a pages-long recipe that takes hours to make. I mostly use alfalfa seeds for sprouting, but you could go wild and try different varieties; use broccoli or radish sprouts in your salads and mung bean or lentil sprouts in stir-frys.  A great resource for all things sprout-related is Sprout People.  Not only can you buy your seeds from them but their website is full of tips, recipes, and sprouting gadgets, like the mesh screen I use on my mason jars.

 

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Alfalfa Sprouts

Add 1 tablespoon of alfalfa seeds to a 2-cup glass jar.  This may not seem like a lot but I find it best to give the sprouts plenty of room to grow and avoid overcrowding.  Fill the jar with water and swish the seeds around, making sure they don't clump together.  Top the jar with either a specialized mesh sprouting top and the metal ring for the jar, or cheesecloth with a rubber band around the rim to hold it on tightly.  Let the seeds soak in the water overnight.

The next day, drain the water from the jar, shaking out as much as you can.  Let sit over night on your counter.  Sprouts can be kept wherever there is ample air movement and putting them in a cupboard that never gets opened could suffocate them.  Some people will put their jars upside down and on an angle to let all the water drain out, but I don't find this necessary and the sprouts grow into the screen or cheesecloth, making it difficult to clean.

The next day, you may already start to see some sprouting.  Fill the jar with water, swish it around a few times and drain well, again keeping it upside down if you wish.  Let sit another night.  Continue rinsing and draining for about 4-5 days until your sprouts are at their desired length.  Once you are ready to store them. make sure they are very dry and put them in a plastic bag (not wrapped tightly) or a plastic or glass container.  The drier they are the longer they will last.

 

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