How do you feel about sprouts?
I looooove sprouts. LOVE them. Is that weird? They're teeny, yummy, and fun to eat! As a kid, I'd snack on them by the handful. I secretly still do. And you know what... Jeff and Evy aren't big veggie or salad eaters, but they will inexplicably gobble up sprouts in sandwiches, and quesadillas. Even Elliott's starting to eat them! It makes me happy to have them around and know that my picky eaters will get a tasty, nutrient-packed punch. Different varieties offer different benefits, but many are full of heart healthy compounds, anti-cancer isoflavones and sulforaphane, as well as protein, vitamins A, C, and D, calcium, and folate. Current studies even suggest that sprouts may prevent and reduce menopausal symptoms. All this goodness contained in those cute little greenies? Amazing!
While pregnant with Elliott I craaaaved sprouts. I harassed the guy at the Mt. Olive stand at Farmers Market every Thursday, and wiped out his sprout stock frequently. That is, until I started growing my own! It's so easy, WAY cheaper, and surprisingly fun too!
Here's my home-grown sprout DIY:
I like to start with a mix of Alfalfa, Mustard, Mung, radish and Broccoli seeds. Radish, mustard and broccoli sprouts seem to offer a mild peppery flavor. Not spicy, just more flavorful, really. I can feed this mixture to the baby. I buy my seeds in the bulk section at SLO Natural Foods Co-op. Did you know that you need not be a member? It's a great spot for picking up healthy basics downtown.
Next, you'll need a jar. Most health food stores carry sprouting jars. If you don't see them, ask. You can grow sprouts in any large, glass jar with cheesecloth and a rubber band. My jar has a wonderful wire mesh lid and I paid around $6. Excellent deal and very easy to use.
Add a spoonful of seeds to your jar.
Now, rinse them a bit, fill your jar 1/3 with fresh water, and leave your seeds overnight.
You'll notice the seeds beginning to expand and soften underwater.
Homework: The following morning, you'll want to completely drain the water from your jar and rinse the seeds several times. I rinse them twice in the morning, once in the afternoon, and one more time before I go to bed. The seeds should be kept in a shady (but not dark) spot in the kitchen, and kept moist, but never sit in water after the first night. After 2-3 days of rinsing, your seeds will be quite sprouted and ready for a few hours of indirect sunlight to soak up healthy chlorophyll and turn a darker shade of green.
VOILA! Your very own yummy, home-grown sprouts! I keep mine in a covered Tupperware container in the fridge, with a paper towel to soak up any remaining water. They'll last nearly a week, unless gobbled up. ♥
My mother has asked that I stress the importance of the RINSING in growing sprouts. To quote her: "If not properly rinsed and stored sprouts can become a bacterial garden in a jar." Very true, mom. Good advice. This project is all about the RINSE, RINSE, RINSE. And then rinse one more time. ;)