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Sprouting Seeds

By investing a few dollars in equipment and using a few minutes per day, you can produce the tastiest, most economical, crisp, fresh, vegetables imaginable. In addition, nutritional values increase during sprouting. Soybeans, for example, increase in Vitamin C content from a mere trace to 13 mg/100 grams (this is equivalent to the Vitamin C content in lettuce or tomatoes). Also in soybeans, the riboflavin content increases 370%, and the niacin increases 200%.

Nealy everyone is familliar with sprouts - the small inch-long thread-like crisp alfalfa sprouts that are popular at salad bars, the 3 inch long noodle-like sprouts in chop suey, or the malt flavor which is extracted from sprouting barley.

In many farm areas, "spring grass," or sprouted wheat is a valuable aid in animal husbandry. In this day of vegetables treated with a multitude of chemicals, picked before maturity, shipped thousands of miles, and stored for many days, it is refreshing to try a really crisp, fresh food. Sprouting is simple enough for a child of six or seven to accomplish, and the youngsters enjoy growing a crop that they can help eat in only four to five days. Follow the directions and suggestions listed below for best results.

Sprouting Directions

These directions for one a quart sprouting jar. If you are using a 1/2 gallon jar, double the amount of seeds.

  1. Obtain high quality untreated seeds, grains, or legumes which have been tested for germination. Remove split or damaged seeds and rinse the seeds in lukewarm water.
  2. Place two tablespoons seeds or 1/2 cup legumes or grains in a sprouting jar with three times as much water as seeds. Soak overnight. For many small seeds, five hours soaking is enough! Seeds with very hard coats, such as guar beans, require longer soaking - up to 36 hours.
  3. Cover the jar with a mesh wire screen, cheesecloth, or some other material that will hold the seeds in the jar but allow air and water to pass. Drain the water from the jar. Rinse seeds in fresh, lukewarm water and drain again. For well drained seeds/sprouts, lay your jar at an angle in a warm (70oF.) dark place.
  4. Rinse and drain seeds twice a day. In hot, dry weather, you may need to rinse them three times a day. Drain the seeds in a dish-rack over the sink. In very humid weather the sprouts should be kept in a dry place such as above a stove, or wrapped in a towel and by a sunny window. Take care to turn the jar over gently. Overturning the jar rapidly will cause rapid shifting in the sprouting seeds. This can break the tender shoots and kill the broken shoot. This breaking of the shoot causes the seed to spoil.
Sprouting Timetable
Seed
Starting Amount
Yield
Daily Rinses
Growing Time
Recommended Best Sprout Length
Alfalfa Seed (for salads)
2 tbsp.
1 qt.
2
5 days
1 - 2"
Alfalfa Seed (for baking)
1/4 cup
1 - 1/2 cups
2
24 hours
1/8"
Broccoli Seeds
1 tbsp.
2 cups
2
4 days
1"
Foenugreek Seeds
1/4 cup
4 cups
2
5 days
3"
Mung Beans
1 cup
4 cups
4
3 - 4 days
2 - 3"
Radish
1 tbsp.
2 cups
2
3 - 5 days
1/2 - 1"
Red Clover
3 tbsp.
1 qt.
2
4 days
when sprout is green
Sunflower Seeds
1 cup
3 cups
2
24 hours
1/2"
Wheat
1 cup
4 cups
3
3 days
1/2"

Suggestions

  1. A smaller mesh screen that covers the opening of the jar is best for draining the water from small seeds. Switch to a larger screen after the sprouts become larger for best draining.
  2. After a quick rinse, save the water you drain from your sprouts. It is nutritious and can be used in drinks, soups, sauces, or as a treat for your plants.
  3. On the fourth day of sprouting, place your alfalfa, radish, or clover sprouts in indirect sunlight to develop chlorophyll. The tiny leaves will turn green within a few hours.
  4. On the fourth day, rinse the hulls off your alfalfa sprouts to prevent premature spoilage of your sprouts. Hulls float easily through wide mesh screens. Alternatively, fill a sink with water and soak the sprouts. As the hulls float to the top, skim them off with a strainer or a piece of screen. Gentle shaking in water may be required for some hulls. Or before eating, the sprouts can be held in a closed fist and rinsed in running water.
  5. It is important to avoid excess moisture during the sprouting process; and when the indoor humidity is 70% or more, sprouting may be impossible. Extremely hot temperatures will also kill the sprouts. The ideal sprouting temperature is 70oF, however, as long as the temperature is below 80oF, there is usually no problem.

Cooking Sprouts

Use the sprout with the seed attached. The sprouts are chewy but crisp and should not be overcooked. Usual cooking time is only long enough to remove the raw flavor.

The sprouts may be sauteed and served as a plain vegetable. To saute, place a small amount of oil in a heated pan, add sprouts and a small amount of water, cover, and cook 10 to 15 minutes. Some persons prefer only 5 to 8 minutes cooking time. Minced onion browned in the oil gives a good flavor as does a small amount of soy sauce.

The sprouts may be steamed or cooked a few minutes in water and then browned in a small amount of oil.

Cooked sprouts can be added to any vegetable combination for casserole dishes, soups, and stews. They are excellent for chop suey dishes and they may also be added to salads.

You are free to copy, distribute, and alter this information as long as you allow everyone else to do the same.

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