Saturday, March 8, 2014


Around the time the veggie garden is done for the season is a good time to start sprouting seeds for fresh greens. The canning jar in the foreground above consists of a rounded tablespoon (T) of alfalfa seeds and about a teaspoon of radish seeds.  The one in the background consists of 1 1/2 T mung bean seeds.  Pour the seeds in the bottom of a widemouth Mason jar and cover with a couple inches of water. Soak for 10-20 hours.  (10-12 for small seeds such as alfalfa,radish, and mung beans;  18-20 for larger beans such as black beans.  The large beans will also need more water for soaking: pouring the larger beans into jar to a level of 2 inches will require adding water to a level of 3 inches above the beans.)  Screens for the top:  One option; purchase the widely available plastic tops that come in a set of three with different size holes.  The finest screen  of the three does not allow water to pour through easily though.  I finally gave up and cut a small hole in the top near the edge to pour water through, and then drain the water out the other side.  A second option is buying precut metal screening that fits into a widemouth lid.  A third option (the most cost effective) is to purchase a piece of stainless steel or brass window screen (one that doesn't rust) from your local hardware store, trace with a wide mouth lid and cut out as many as you need.  Place into a widemouth canning ring and you're set.  These work well for whatever you are sprouting, as the holes are small enough to contain seeds such as alfalfa seeds but water flows through easily.  On the jar in the foreground above is a plastic ring a friend gave me years ago which is especially nice because it will never get rusty as the metal rings will.  The only place I have seen a plastic ring for sale is at but have not purchased any from them.  After soaking for 10-20 hours, drain, cover  with water, let sit for 5-10 minutes, drain, and set on its side away from direct sunlight.  Do this 2-3 times a day until the sprouts are the size that taste the best to you, (approximately 3-7 days,)  At this point the jar can be set in a sunny window for a few hours to green up the sprouts and increase their nutrtional value.  Next cover with water again, drain well, replace screening with canning lid and store in the fridge for 3-4 days, rinsing and draining once a day.  (I have seen plastic widemouth caps for sale at Amazon which are nice for storing sprouts in the fridge.)
 Be sure to use seeds, grains, and beans specifically for sprouting.  (Ones purchased for food should sprout, as long as they are same season seeds, grains, and beans.  Older ones may not germinate as well.) Other seeds I have sprouted are: green lentils,broccoli seeds, and wheat.  Broccoli sprouts are especially nutritious, but I suggest trying a few at a time with other seeds, as they have a very strong flavor.  Some other options for sprouting:  rye berries, seame seeds, squash seeds, whole barley, buckwheat, celery, sunflower, chia, dill, fenugreek, pumpkin, onion, and lettuce seeds, quinoa, and any dry beans such as black beans, pinto beans, and chic peas.(all raw of course.)
Something to be aware of: in warm humid weather the risk of the sprouts molding is greater. (Being sure all components are cleaned in hot soapy water between uses will minimize this risk.) Fortunately by then there are other fresh greens available in the local farm markets or your own garden to take their place.
If you haven't grown sprouts before I encourage you to give it a try.  The nutritional boost to the diet, especially in the winter is well worth it.
Have a joyous and blessed day!

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