My dad has always gone on health jags–for a period of time in the 1960s he even followed a macrobiotic diet. He didn’t stick to that particular trend for too long, but he has retained his interest in healthy eating. He used to grow his own sprouts in the 1970s, and he taught me how to do it–not that it takes much “teaching”…it’s pretty basic. I have been thinking about growing sprouts for a while now because they seem like an easy way to add micronutrients to every meal–apparently, anything that’s sprouted increases its nutritional value by leaps and bounds. Plus, they make everything taste so fresh. In my reading last summer, someone (Michael Pollan?) indicated that the less time between picking and eating, the better. With sprouts, they’re still growing even as you pop them into your mouth–what could be better! My dream is to start growing wheatgrass, which is supposed to be amazingly good for you. Rebar Modern Food brings in fresh wheatgrass every few days for their most popular item: wheatgrass juice (I don’t really get the whole juicing thing–why not eat the whole article?–but à chacun son goût).
Anyway, when I was shopping in Edible Island a couple of weeks ago, I came across a whole range of seeds for sprouting. I picked up a package of alfalfa seeds (only because that was the sprout my dad and I grew forty years ago). I got two jars of sprouts going, and within just three or four days had two jars full of delicious alfalfa sprouts. I’m now on my third batch and have been putting the sprouts in my morning smoothie, my lunchtime sandwich, and our evening salads. So thrilled am I with the ease with which I’ve been able to grow more live food that I picked up a couple more packages yesterday when we were in town: a spicy lentil mix and a bean mix.
All you do is put a couple of tablespoons of seeds in the bottom of the jar, cover it with a cup of water for 2 – 4 hours, then drain. After that, you just rinse and drain the seeds twice a day, and they’ll sprout and be ready to eat in a few short days. This nine-minute video gives you the long version of how to grow sprouts:
I used mason jars. At first, I was using a square of muslin held in place with a wide elastic on top, but the muslin wasn’t porous enough, and the water took forever to drain (particularly with my two new mixtures). J had some leftover material for screens, however, so I tried that, and it worked like a charm.
Here are my seeds in their growing jars. The two on the right are alfalfa sprouts (my third “crop”!)–they are still in their initial soak. The two on the right have been going for about twenty-four hours, so I won’t see anything for a few days yet.
And here is the finished product: a bowl of delicious alfalfa sprouts: