It's Hip to Grow Sprouts
Haul out your lava lamp, put on your dirty red bandana, and let your freak flag fly! Grumpy's taking you back to the days of the Summer of Love, healthy eating, and living off the land – even if that last part really means living out of jar. Yep, we're going to grow some sprouts -- something that's a lot easier explaining to your kids than how you used to dress like Janis Joplin.
You're going to need four things for this heady project – a glass jar, something to cover the jar to keep out unwanted stuff (a ventilated jar top like this one on Amazon or cheesecloth and a rubber band), water, and seeds to sprout. Alfalfa sprouts and mung bean sprouts are the most popular, but you can also sprout seeds of broccoli, radish, fenugreek (a spice used in Indian food), beet, mustard, soybeans, and different grains. (John Scheepers Kitchen Garden Seeds is a good online source.) Depending on the seeds, the finished sprouts could be anywhere from 1/8-inch to two inches long. They're very nutritious, containing lots of protein, vitamins, amino acids, and minerals, as well as fiber. They also tasty and perfect for adding to salads, stir-fry, soups, and sandwiches. What's not to love?
Well, one thing. You've probably heard of people getting sick after eating sprouts contaminated with bacteria such as E. coli and salmonella. But that mostly happens with sprouts bought from a grocery or consumed in salad bars. Growing sprouts yourself avoids other people's germs. To avoid yours too, always wash your hands before handling the sprouts you grow.
To get started, measure out the seeds you want to sprout. Keep in mind that seeds vary greatly in size and every seed makes a sprout. So don't go nuts when using tiny seeds. A tablespoon or two of whatever seeds you're using is enough for the first time. Then adjust up or down.
Pour the seeds into the jar and add a couple of inches of water. Let them soak for 12 hours. Seeds that float on the water instead of sinking to the bottom aren't viable, so skim them off. Pour off the original water, rinse the seeds with cool water, and drain again. Affix the jar top or cheesecloth. Place the jar on a countertop out of bright light. Rinse the contents a couple of times a day until the sprouts are the size you want. Most sprouts will be ready in a week. Air dry them, wash your hands again, and place them inside a ziplock plastic bag in the fridge until you use them. Then make another batch to ensure a continuous supply.
I hope you've enjoyed tripping down Memory Lane – or Abbey Road, whatever the case may be. I gotta go now. I'm getting my ‘fro dyed rainbow.