Sprouting - Farm Girl Fresh



sprouting greensIn the depths of winter when we are craving fresh greens from the farm, one activity we enjoy as a family is growing sprouts.  Sprouts are very common in East Asian cuisine, especially mung bean and soy bean sprouts.  However, many seeds with different nutritional qualities can be sprouted and eaten at home such as alfalfa, radish, lentil, broccoli and others.  Sprouts are said to be rich in vitamins, minerals, amino acids, proteins, and phytochemicals.

What is sprouting?  Sprouting is a process of germinating seeds to be eaten raw or cooked.  For sprouting at home, seeds are soaked then left at room temperature in a sprouting container.  This part is typically done in a glass quart mason jar with a screen over the top.  You can find these screens from some food co-ops and several sources. The screens may be stainless steel or plastic.  The mason jar is tipped up on the bottom end to let water drain from the screen end.  Sprouts should be rinsed and drained three or four times per day. The ideal length of sprouting time depends on the seed grown and the growing conditions (temperature and moisture).  We generally sprout our seeds in a dark place and then place them in the sunlight for a short time to encourage chlorophyll formation or to “green up”.  Sprouts are most nutritious right away so plan to eat them in two or three days.

Sprouting Steps

  1. Soak the seed. Use 2-3 tablespoons of seed per batch. Length of soak depends on size of seed, typically 3-8 hours.  Only use fresh seed labeled for sprouting to ensure you do not have treated or otherwise unclean seed.  You may want to consider using organic seed for that reason.  Johnny’s Selected Seeds is one seed company that carries sprout seeds online.

  2. Rinse well, drain, and place seed in a very clean quart mason jar with a screen on top.

  3. Set jar tipped on its side in an angled position to drain in a dark location.

  4. Rinse seeds/sprouts well 3-4 times per day (about every 6-8 hours) and let drain in between. You should notice germination in a day or two.

  5. Allow sprouts to grow until the appropriate size, typically about 1 week depending on the seed.

  6. Rinse well and place in a brighter area to green up for a short time (you do not want the sprouts to  dry out or overheat).

  7. Rinse well one more time and store in the refrigerator. Eat sprouts within 2-3 days.

Sprouting is a really fun activity to do with kids as the results are immediate.  You can work on measuring, weighing, understanding life cycles, observational skills, and your kids are much more likely to eat the sprouts they grew than the ones that you buy from a store.

This post was contributed by Joan, of Prairie Drifter Farm, Litchfield, Minnesota (our CSA farmers).


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