HOMEGROWN

Celebrate the culture of agriculture & share skills (Growing! Cooking! Eating!)

About a month ago I was tired of winter. The doldrums had me....well, feeling humdrum. I needed something green. Something needed to grow! Unfortunately nowhere around us sells seeds or sprouts so I hopped on the line and had some friends in Charleston, SC pick up some seeds at a local whole food-type market. Each packet was about $2.99 and we decided after some research to just use mason jars for the actual sprouting. We needed some fresh veggies and we weren"t about to let anything get in our way.

 

Sprouts are incredibly easy to grow and the result is quite tasty. I wasn't surprised to learn a day or two after "planting" that they are full of vitamins, fiber, protein, and anti-oxidants to an extreme degree! I have had them on both salads and sandwiches but now I could eat them...well, just 'cause! 

 

Indulge me for a second so I can talk just a little about the practical definition of sprouting. Sprouting is the practice of soaking, draining and then rinsing seeds at regular intervals until they germinate, or sprout. To sprout seeds, the seeds are moistened, then left at room temperature (between 13 °C (55.4 °F) and 21 °C (69.8 °F)) in a sprouting vessel (in my case, a jar). By staggering sowings, a constant supply of young sprouts can be ensured. Any vessel used for sprouting must allow water to drain from it, because sprouts that sit in water will rot quickly. The seeds will swell and begin germinating within a day or two.

 



As with most gardening topics, there are special vessels and even special lids designed for growing sprouts. And don't get me wrong. Both the Econo-Sprouter Topper and the Screen Lid by SproutPeople seem like excellent products. However, through some blog research I found out a nylon hosiery or even a piece of cheesecloth would do just fine when closed with a rubber band or with the standard jar lid. But enough of that. How do you actually grow sprouts in a jar?


What you'll need:
  • Mason jar
  • Sprout seeds
  • Cheesecloth, muslin, nylon, and a rubber band, a specially designed sprouting lid, or a mason jar lid
  • Water
  • Dark place
  • Sunlight
  • Air tight bag

I came up with these instructions for a sandwich mix of sprouts. It is pretty basic but you'll soon have the idea.

  1. Put 1-2 Tablespoons of your sprout seeds in a quart glass jar. 
  2. Cover the jar with a cut of nylon hose, and secure with the jar lid. If you are using a store bought sprouting lid, just put on the one with the smallest holes.
  3. Cover seeds with at least an inch of water. Place jar in a dark place and let the seeds soak for 12 hours.
  4. Rinse seeds two to three times a day. After rinsing, invert jar in a bowl at an angle to allow excess water to drain.
  5. After a few days, the seeds should begin to sprout. When they are sprouting, put them in a windowsill to ensure they get proper light!
  6. Remove hulls if needed. If you don't they can easily get moldy and ruin your sprouts or make them awfully bitter to the taste.
  7. Most sprouts should be ready well within a week. Taste them to see if they are still bitter. If they are, add another day. When ready, rinse sprouts and cut off just what you need. The rest can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge.

Views: 322

Comment by Shellie A. Gades on March 3, 2011 at 4:23pm
I love my sprouts!
Comment by Hank Will on March 4, 2011 at 4:26pm
Drew, I used a modified version of your technique to sprout a couple hundred pounds of alfalfa and raddish sprouts a week to sell to local groceries and eateries when I was in graduate school ... thanks for reminding me of how easy  and delightful it is.
Comment by Andrew Odom on March 4, 2011 at 5:53pm
@Hank Will - OMG! Please do tell me how you did that. I would love to sell sprouts at our community farmer's market.
Comment by Hank Will on March 4, 2011 at 6:21pm
I used trays ... like seeding flats in a rack over a bathtub surrounded with clear vinyl to keep humidity up. Went like this: Day one soak 1 cup of seed in 1 gallon pail covered w'cheesecloth (I just had a mess of that size pail). Day 2 dump water and rinse 2X morning and evening. Day 3 usually repeat day 2 depending on how far along thing were. Day 4 spread sproutlets out in trays spray gently (the k ind that drain) and cover with cheesecloth. Spray again in the evening Day 5 as the sprouts grow they make kind of a sod and you just rinse 2x per day until the right size and then rinse drain and package. Heat is an issue so in hot Chicago summer I ran a small airconditioner into that room -- which I bleached the heck out of and used for sprouts only. If they get hot at any stage, they will turn into the contents of a cow's rumen ... not pretty.

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