Sprouting 101

So. Along with my newly discovered love of sandwiches, I’ve also discovered a love of sprouts. Not the usual bean sprouts (they’re okay, but get gross really quickly), or alfalfa sprouts (ditto). Sunflower sprouts. Pea sprouts. Really, really expensive sprouts.

This whole business started with the root of all things delicious, the Fresh cookbook. You’re probably starting to think that they’re paying me to advertise for them, but no. The cookbook is just that good. Anyway, several of the recipes call for fresh sprouts, frequently of the pea or sunflower variety. We were eating these regularly, until one day Ross noticed the price on these. For a bag, which will normally last two meals, our local organic store wanted $6. Now, I’m not saying that they’re not worth it, but dear me! Since we eat a vegetarian diet at home, that represents a significant chunk of our weekly budget. Okay, not really, but still! Dude. That’s like five apples. Or two cocoa camino candy bars purchased through the ONFC. Or two blocks of tofu.

Anyway, being rather frugal, instead of buying the sprouts, I bought the seeds. One dollar. Can you imagine! However, I then realized that I didn’t have the slightest idea how to sprout things. But then again, when has that ever stopped me from doing something? (See my “It seemed like a good idea” tag for further examples.)

To the internet! I read a few posts, and voila! I think I’ve figured it out. Here’s what I did:

Measure out approximately 1 Tbsp of seeds. Soak the seeds overnight in a mason jar (lid off) in filtered water. Drain the seeds and rinse them well (always using filtered water). For the initial rinse, I recommend using a strainer over a bowl, catching the water and using it for your plants. Rinse the seeds well to get all the icky bits off.

After the initial rinse, the best way to rinse them is to put cheesecloth over the top of the mason jar, and screw the lip of the lid on (minus the top). This will keep the seeds in, but let the water out. You can pour the water right through the cheesecloth, swirl it around, rinse the seeds off well, and then drain it without disturbing the seeds / sprouts.

Rinse the seeds 2-3 times per day. I left them on a sunny windowsill, but I’m not sure that that makes a lick of difference. After about three days, you should have some pretty solid sprouts growing out of their shells. The ones in the photo above are about five days old. I’ll harvest them tomorrow to eat on one of the recipes from the cookbook which I won’t mention by name again because it’s starting to get a little bit embarrassing.

Oh yes: another good thing to do is tilt the jar so that the water can drain throughout the day. This helps prevent rotting (so I’ve read). You can use the water to come out on your plants – apparently it’s full of nutrients.

Do you sprout? How do you do it? What do you sprout? Tell me!

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2 thoughts on “Sprouting 101

  1. Yes I sprout! I’ve been doing it for a few years actually… you are likely unsurprised? I use two different size based seed mixes. The big mix has lentils, adzuki, maybe mung and barley? I forget exactly what went in there. The other mix has alfalfa, clovers etc. I also tried fenugreek but found that its consumption had certain undesirable effects (if you are curious ask me in person.)

    BTW… as I whipped up yet another batch of adzuki bean stew last night, I pondered how it could be such a favourite of mine and such a flop for you. Then I realized I don’t really follow the recipe that closely… For example, I use much less water but add lots of tomatoes – at least a couple bags of my frozen romas. My guests last night all seemed to enjoy it so clearly it’s not me, it’s you. 😉

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