The weather is steadily becoming colder and the days shorter. There are less and less things to do in the garden. If you are like most gardeners, you are not contented simply idling and not actively growing something. Keep your green thumb busy by growing indoors instead. There are herbs you can continue to grow indoors, ensuring warm and savory dishes in winter.
Aside from growing herbs and other plants indoors, you can also sprout seeds and beans. Sprouting is a really quick process (as little as 2 days) of germinating seeds and growing them on to produce their first root and shoot.
Sprouts are a very good and delicious alternative to fresh salad greens which are difficult to come by in the winter. Sprouts are also highly nutritious.
Benefits of Sprouting Seeds
– sprouts boost nutrition. They contain easily absorbed protein, higher amounts of calcium, iron, sodium, potassium, and vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, and C.
– sprouts can be grown all year round and they are especially handy during winter because they provide a lot of nutrients and are cheap
– witnessing seeds and beans sprouting is a wonderful experience, never gets old
– you can enjoy a variety of different beans and sprouts that may not be available in stores
– sprouts add great texture to salads and they make a great addition to so many meals
– by having dry seeds and beans on hand for sprouting, you are always prepared for any crisis that might limit the supply of food.
– sprouting seeds can be stored and they last a long time
– seeds for sprouting are inexpensive and can yield an unexpectedly great amount of sprouts
It’s So Easy to Sprout Seeds and Beans – And Cheap Too
So how do you sprout seeds? There are 3 ways: the old jar method, the sack method and with the use of a sprouting kit.
The jar method…
1. Soak the seeds overnight in a bowl of water. Start with 1 to 2 heaped tablespoons of seeds. The seeds will swell up to about 30x of their original size during the process.
2. The next day, drain the water and rinse seeds with fresh water at least once.
3. Place the seeds in a clean jam jar or similar; don’t add any water
4. Cover the jar with a free-draining cloth i.e. cheesecloth or muslin secured with a rubber band. The cloth cover will keep the seeds from drying out and will lower the risk of contamination from airborne molds.
5. Keep the seeds wet by rinsing them with fresh water every morning and night. Simply fill the jar with water, swirl a few times, replace the cloth cover and then tip upside down over the sink. The water will drain nicely, leaving the seeds adequately wet
6. As the seeds begin to sprout, they should be kept wet so repeat the process of rinsing them until they reach your desired length or age.
7. Sprouts are ready to eat once they have reached 1-5cm in length. You can improve the color and taste of sprouts by bringing them out into the light a day or two before eating them.
Sprouts are great served in salads, smoothies, juices, crackers or breads.
The sack method…
1. Burlap sacks are used for sprouting. You can also create your own drawstring version using any permeable material i.e. linen and cotton fabrics
2. Soak the seeds or beans for sprouting overnight and rinse them the next morning
3. Pop the seeds into the sack.
4. Rinse the seeds by simply dunking the sack into water for about 2 minutes twice a day.
5. To prevent the seeds from rooting into the fabric, move the seeds about by jiggling the sack while submerged in water.
6. Hang the sack and allow to drip-drain
7. The sprouts should be ready to eat when they reach your desired length.
Using a sprouting kit…
Sprouting kits are inexpensive and they make an already straightforward process even easier. Most kits have multiple trays and some even have dividers so you can sprout a variety of seeds and beans all at the same time. The trays also allow you to have different stages of growth so you can enjoy a steady supply of fresh sprouts.
Each tray has slots at the base for water to drain through. This makes rinsing the sprouts so easy; simply run the whole kit under a steady stream of water and then let the water drip through the trays down to the reservoir at the bottom which you can empty afterwards.
Keep the seeds in the dark to germinate. As with sprouting using a jar, bring the sprouts out into the light to improve their flavor before eating.
Sprouts are best eaten fresh to get the full benefit of their vitamin and mineral contents. Sprouts will keep for up to 1 week when kept in plastic bags and stored in the fridge.
You can sprout and eat adzuki bean, alfalfa, fenugreek, legumes such as the mung bean, lentils, peas and radish.