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Discover How to Grow Your Own Source of Vitamins, Fiber, Proteins, and More
Sprouts not only taste good, but they are also a great source ofvitamins, fiber, protein, anti-oxidants, and enzymes. A sprout isproduced when a seed starts growing into a vegetable. Sprouts cangrow from the seeds of vegetables, from grains such as buckwheat,and from beans. While Mung beans are perhaps the most commonsource of sprouts, you can also obtain good results from lentils,soybeans and chickpeas just to name a few.
Sprouts can be grown almost anywhere and the best part is youonly need a few basic supplies to get started. By following a fewsimple steps, you can receive a continual supply of nutritioussprouts.
While there are several commercial products available tocultivate sprouts, here are three of the easiest methods to helpyou get started.
- Growing Sprouts in Flower Pots -
1. Start with a clean clay or plastic flower pot. Make surethere is a hole in the bottom of the pot to ensure good drainage.Then place a piece of cheesecloth or muslin in the bottom of thepot over the hole so that the seeds/beans cannot fall out.
2. Next, soak the seeds or beans overnight and then put them inthe pot. Remove any that are broken or damaged. Cover the plantpot with a dish.
3. Once a day, hold the pot under running water for a fewminutes. This is to soak the seeds/beans thoroughly.
4. Once the sprouts begin to show, remove the dish and cover thepot with a piece of clear plastic wrap to let in the light. Placethe sprouting pot near a window that allows daylight but is notin direct sunlight.
- Growing the Sprouts in Trays -
1. Soak the seeds or beans overnight. Remove any that are brokenor damaged before you begin the sprouting process.
2. Select a low, flat dish (like a pie plate) or tray. You canpurchase growing trays wherever planting supplies are sold.
3. Next, spread out a 2-inch layer of soil and then sprinkle thesoaked seeds or beans on top of the soil.
4. Cover the seeds/beans with four layers of damp newspaper.
5. Cover the top of the tray with clear plastic wrap.
6. When the sprouts start to lift the plastic cover, (usuallyabout three days) remove the newspaper.
7. Place the tray in a window so that the light can turn thesprouts green. You will need a space to place the sprouting traythat receives daylight but is not in direct sunlight.
8. Because the thin layer of soil dries out quickly, water twiceeach day.
9. After about 8-10 days, you will have sprouts tall enough toharvest.
- Growing Sprouts in a Jar -
1. Soak the seeds, grains, or beans in lukewarm water overnightin a wide-mouth glass jar. Remove any that are broken or damagedbefore you begin the sprouting process. (Sprouting increases theseed volume. 4-tablespoons will be sufficient for a quart sizecontainer.)
2. In the morning, pour off the water in the jar and rinse theseeds/beans thoroughly.
3. Place a piece of cheesecloth or muslin over the mouth of thejar. Use a rubber band to hold the material securely in place.This makes rinsing easier.
4. To keep the sprouts constantly damp, repeat the rinsing 2-3times a day. Remember to drain any excess water because thesprouts should not stand in water.
5. Keep the jar away from the light for the first few days.
6. When the seeds/beans begin to sprout, (usually about theforth day) move the jar into the light to activate thechlorophyll and turn the sprouts green.
- Harvesting and Storing the Sprouts -
Newly germinated grain, seed, and sprouts, increase in food valuein the very first period of growth. Grains should be harvestedand eaten from when they are six days old until they are 4-5inches tall. To harvest, just take your kitchen scissors and cutwhat you need.
Sprouts from beans, peas, etc., are ready earlier and can beeaten when they are 3-6 days old, depending on the type ofsprout. For spouts grown in no soil or in seed trays, you canharvest the green "grass" when it starts to grow. Sprouts, fromgrain sown in jars, are ready sooner and are edible even beforethey turn green. Seeds sown in soil take a little longer.
If necessary, wash the sprouts thoroughly to remove the seedcoat. Sprouts need to be stored in the refrigerator once they areready to eat. Put the sprouts in tight sealing bags, and theywill remain flavorful and crisp for one to two weeks. Rinsing thesprouts daily under cold water can extend their life.
Sprouts may be frozen by blanching them over steam for threeminutes and then cooling them in ice water. Drain them and packinto freezer containers.
- Some of the Kinds of Seeds/Beans You Can Sprout -
The following list gives some of the popularly sproutedseeds/beans. It is not all inclusive as you can sprout almost anykind of seed. Remember that seeds soak up 2-3 times their dryvolume in water and sprouts need at least six times the volumeoccupied by the seeds. So be sure that your container is largeenough, and start with a minimal amount of seed in a containerlike a jar, until you determine the correct quantity that willgrow to the sprout size you like, without being difficult toremove.
Your local garden shop or health food store will carry a line ofseeds for sprouting. When purchasing seeds for sprouting, becertain that the seeds are intended for food and not forplanting. This precaution is necessary because some seeds meantfor planting have been treated with fungicides or insecticides toprotect the young seedlings when planted in a field or garden.
Alfalfa - should be soaked for 6-12 hours. The seeds can beplanted in the pots or jars and also in the flats with soil.1-part seed gives 10-parts sprouts in approximately 5-6 days.Sprouts can be eaten after 3 days. When the root is 1-2 incheslong, it will begin to develop tiny green leaves. At this stage,it needs to be eaten immediately so the plant will not switch tophotosynthesis that exhausts the stored food in the seed.
Peas - when soaked in a glass jar, will grow sprouts in about 3days. When the roots are 2-inches long, they are ready to eat.1-part peas gives 2-parts sprouts.
Lentils - can be grown in either a glass jar or a plant pot andneed to be soaked for 12-hours. The sprouts are ready in 3-4days. Lentil sprouts are ready to be eaten when the root is1-inch long. 1-part lentils gives 6-parts sprouts.
Barley, Oats, and Rye - should be soaked for 12-hours and thencan either be grown as "grass" to harvest, or sprouts ready toeat after 3-4 days. The ideal length for eating is about1/2-inch. 1-part seed gives 2-parts sprouts.
Soybeans - can be grown in a glass jar or a pot. They need to besoaked for 12-hours and sprouts are usually ready after 3-5 days.They are ready to eat when the root is 2-inches long. 1-partbeans gives 4-parts sprouts.
Mung Beans - after soaking for 12-hours, these beans can be grownby any method. Mung beans are the most commonly grown sprouts andare usually ready to eat after 3-5 days. When the bright, whiteroot grows from 1-2 inches long, they are ready to eat. 1-partbeans gives 4-parts sprouts.
By growing your own sprouts, you will save yourself money becauseit is less expensive to buy sprout seeds and grow and harvest thesprouts yourself, than it is to buy the sprouts from a market.Sprouting at home takes only a few minutes a day, and can producea good part of your daily requirements of the nutrients you needfrom fresh produce. The hassles are minor, the costs are low, andthe freshness is wonderful.
The information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and is not intended to medically diagnose, treat or cure any disease. Consult a health care practitioner before beginning any health care program.
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