Grow your own sprouts
And once winter goes and spring, summer and autumn follow, you can keep using sprouts in salads, as another sandwich layer or loosely sprinkled over a hot (or cold) soup.
Sprouts: Buy or grow?
There is usually a big variety of lovely sprouts in almost all health food stores. Most likely you find them in the entrance area in a small refrigerated counter. From there they can find their way easily and straight to your plate at home.
“To shoot sprouts is not rocket science!”
But I would like to encourage you to grow your own sprouts. To shoot sprouts is not rocket science! You neither need a garden nor a lot of space at home or plenty of time. It takes two to five days for the first harvest to come in and when you follow some few rules you will have a great grocery always on hand all year long – and it comes with a high nutrient level.
Fresh to the max
The biggest advantage of growing your own sprouts is the incredible freshness of your produce. Freshly harvested, they are king of crisp and can easily become part of your meal within seconds. That is where all stores loose out.
On top of that, you save packaging, it is much cheaper and you can be sure that no fertilizer or chemical substances were used during the growth process.
A win, win, win situation I would say!
Requirements for growing your sprouts
Healthy seeds from controlled biological cultivation (best to get from an organic food store)
Rule of thumb is that 1-2 tablespoons of seeds are enough to start as the sprouts double, triple or quintuple their volume when they grow. Keeps this in mind to guarantee enough oxygen supply.
A light spot in a room, but without direct sunlight. Sprouts love indirect lighting, some even prefer it dark.
Water sprouts 2-4 times a day. Sprouts need sufficient moisture to shoot but should never be soaked in water.
The seeds need enough oxygen, so do not put them in a sealed glass container.
Should you use a glass, a bowl or something else to grow your sprouts?
You will find plenty of supply in retail stores to make your sprout growing easier. Good equipment will also help you to grow more types of sprouts at the same time.
Special growing devices are sold often in organic health stores or in a good retail stores.
I like my growing glasses von Eschfelder a lot. They look good, are easy to clean and the integrated strainer makes watering the sprouts walk of cake. Just put them in your dish rack, that way the water can flow out and your sprouts will be moist but not wet.
If you want to give it a try, you can use a marmalade glass, a water-permeable piece of cloth and a rubber band to build your own growing glass. Once you got the hang of growing sprouts, it is worth to invest in a bit more solid growing glasses
Growing sprouts step by step
First step: Water the seeds
Wash your seeds with running water and put them into a glass container. Cover them with sufficient water and let them soak for 4 to 12 hours. Some seeds gain a lot of volume during that time, so make sure that there is always enough water to keep them soaked. 1-2 tablespoons of seeds should be enough given the large increase in volume.
Second step: Pour the water and sort the badlings out
When soaking time is over, pour out the water in the container (use it to water your plants!) and sort out seedlings that did not shoot. Also, get rid of little seed shells. All that cannot shoot anymore needs to be removed from the container otherwise it starts to rot in the moist environment. Once you are done, clean the seeds again under running water and put them back into the container.
Put the container with the strainer lid closed in your dish rack, or use a strainer to drip-dry the seeds (in case you do not have a strainer lid) and put it in a light place without direct sun light.
Third step: Let the seeds grow and water them
Depending on the type of sprouts, you let them grow from two to five days. It is paramount, that you water them 2-4 times a day during that period and put them do drip-dry in the dish rack afterwards. Remember that they like moist but not wet. Keep them moist at all times, otherwise they will dry up. Don’t keep them too wet, or they will rot. Adequate care and sanitary work is key here.
Fourth step: Harvest time and eating pleasure
After 2-5 days (depending on the type) the sprouts are ready for consumption. The best thing is to eat them fresh but if needed you can keep them for up to three days in your fridge.
What is the matter when the seeds don’t shoot?
It can happen that the seeds do not shoot. A couple of things might be the reason for that:
Old seeds that have been stored inadequately will shoot less or not at all.
If the water hasn’t dripped out enough and the seeds start to smell moldy or start to rot, dispose them at once.
Lack of oxygen can also lead to rotting. Most of the times there are too many seeds in a container (remember the increase in volume!)
Direct sunlight also pushes rotting. The sprouts get weak and collapse. During hot temperatures in summer, water once or twice times more per day.
If your sprouts or seeds dry up you need to water and dry-drip them more often
Sprouts as raw food or blanched?
I like to eat my sprouts raw. But folks with a weakened immune system, toddlers, golden ager and pregnant women should – according to the “Deutsche Gesellschaft für Ernaehrung (DGE)” – not consume the sprouts raw but blanch/cook/roast them.